27 June 2008

Chip off the old block

Meet the 'small-block' Corvette C6. That's small like Little John was little

Corvette C6

We get it. Things are bigger in America. Bigger mountains, bigger meals, bigger people. But we have to confess that we wince a bit when Chevrolet describes the 6.2-litre V8 out of its revised Corvette C6 as 'small-block'.

Yes, we know the venerable history of Chevy V8s, and that back in the 1950s a six-litre engine was considered pretty dinky. But you can't escape the fact that, in today's carbon-conscious climate, six-and-a-bit litres of engine is in no way small. It is, in fact, rather large.

Large and quick. The 6.2-litre V8 - which replaces the unnecessarily modest 6.0-litre unit in the current C6 - develops 431bhp and 424lb ft of torque, enough to see the C6 to 62mph in 4.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 186mph.

Impressive figures, but just remember that the Caterham RS we saw yesterday manages more than 500bhp from its 2.4-litre supercharged V8.

The C6 is, however, a fair bit cheaper than the Caterham: prices start at a small-block £45,995 - not bad for the sort of road presence normally only enjoyed by Italian supercars or escaped rhinos.

Away from the yet-bigger engine, it's a familiar Corvette-ish story from the revised C6: 1980s styling, leaf spring suspension, steering wheel staying resolutely on the left-hand side.

Actually, there are a couple of surprising tech touches: you can now opt for Ferrari 599-style magnetorheological shock absorbers and a paddle-shift auto gearbox, if the mood so takes you.

But if, even in bigger-engined form, the C6 sounds just a little too modest for you, you could always go for the Z06, with its seven-litre V8 and 505bhp. Or the truly loony ZR1. Yes, we'll have one of those, please.

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