For Release: Jan. 1, 2004, 12:01 a.m.
2005 Corvette Design: Leaner and More Passionate
The exterior of the 2005 sixth
generation Corvette is a modern blend of form, function, and emotion.
Corvette combines performance technology with expressive style –
attributes central to Corvettes well-established mission.
The C6 propels that foundation
into the future with an all-new expression of style that is completely
fresh, yet unmistakably Corvette. In terms of function,
Corvette also pushes forward with a body that incorporates state-of-the-art
performance technology and sophisticated quality.
Corvette design reflects its serious
performance. From the very beginning engineers envisioned that that
next Corvette would take a logical step up in performance. That
meant a more powerful car that was also more agile, more placeable
and tossable on the race track, while also more comfortable
in daily driving and at home in any environment. Distilling the
dimensions of C6 into a smaller package would emphasize its potency
and the musculature that flexed beneath its tauter surfaces.
An overall length of 174.6 inches
(4435 mm) and an overall width of 72.6 inches (1844 mm) were established
as the target dimensions. Even though C6 is now 5.1 inches shorter
and 1.1 inches narrower than C5, efficient packaging and a wheelbase
that is 1.1 inches longer allow C6 to maintain current levels of
interior room and class-leading cargo space. And, yes, there is
still room for two golf bags.
Reducing two areas of the C6 front-end
architecture enabled the overall shortening of the car:
The front sections
of the hydroformed rails were shortened by 2.4 inches (60 mm).
The fore/aft dimension
of the front bumper beam was shortened by .63-inch (16 mm).
The previous beam was roll-formed; the new beam is made from
two C-channels of high-strength, 180 ksi steel that are seam-welded
In the rear, the length
was reduced by more effective positioning of energy-absorbing
foam and by shortening the rear fascia and bumper structure.
C6s overall dimensions are
similar to those of the Porsche 911, another respected performer
on the road and track.
A Corvette at 100 yards
The tighter, more athletic dimensions of the car were not only engineering calculations; in the design studio, the concept for a leaner, more passionate Corvette was gaining momentum. In addition, Tom Peters, chief designer of the C6, charged his team with designing a 21st century performance car that would propel Corvette forward, not merely reflect on the cars rich heritage.
Designing the next Corvette
is both every designers dream and a tremendous challenge,
said Peters. Everybody has their personal vision of what a
Corvette should look like. Part of what makes Corvette so successful
is its sense of history and heritage. But, in our view Corvette
should look forward.
The driving factor behind the
exterior design was to keep it as fresh and new as possible, yet
distill the passion of Corvette design best exemplified by the classic
mid-year Corvettes of 1963 through 1967.
The flair and personality
of those older Corvettes have stood the test of time, said
Peters. There are some basic aesthetic attributes that form
the foundation of Corvette design which are powerful, pure, and
The following features were identified
as essential to Corvette design and were incorporated into C6:
- An expressive front-end face
- A tense, flexed look
- Powerful, dramatic arching fender forms
- Side extractors
- Round taillamps and their relationship to the license plate
- Performance-oriented exhaust tips.
We wanted the
C6 to say Corvette at 100 yards, said Dave
Hill, chief engineer of the Corvette and vehicle line executive
for GM Performance Cars. But, it achieves this in a way
that is unmistakably fresh, new and compelling. This is a design
in which the more you look, the more you see.
Egg crate grille heritage. An expressive face has always been a part of Corvettes image, and C6s new, center-mounted grille continues that tradition, said Peters.
The grille also is necessary as C6 switches from the 100 percent bottom breathing air intake of C5 to a hybrid air intake of 60-percent front/40-percent bottom. Its egg crate grille design is reminiscent of Corvettes from both the 50s as well as the mid-year cars – a subtle tribute to Corvettes heritage.
An expressive face has always
been a part of Corvettes image
Exposed, HID headlamps
C6 has exposed headlamps for the first time on a Corvette since 1962, and believe me, there was a lot of emotional discussion around that, said Peters. We finally settled on exposed headlamps because they fit the theme for the new Corvette – lean, purposeful, performance oriented.
Exposed, HID headlamps
Additionally, fixed headlights offer the advantages of lower weight, less complexity, and superior lighting performance. The C6 utilizes a HID Xenon low-beam projector-beam lens and a tungsten-halogen high-beam projector lens.
The projectors are housed within
a polycarbonate enclosure, which also contains the parking lights,
side-turn markers, and daytime running lights (DRL) for an integrated
appearance. Both lenses are encircled by chrome rings that add a
tasteful touch of brightwork, while the bottom of the headlamp assembly,
or bezel, is body-colored from the factory, and gives C6 an integrated,
In addition to superior lighting
performance, the C6 driver gets improved nighttime aerodynamics,
appearance and flash-to-pass capability.
Bulged hood section
C6 is packing 400 horsepower under the hood, and we wanted
the hood design to reflect that power, said Peters.
The hoods center bulge implies
muscle power and radiates outward into the front fenders.
The cutline for C6s hood opening falls in the valley where
the fender meets the hood, Peters pointed out.
Thats a classic sports car styling cue, he said.
Sharp front fenders
Walking around the front to the side of C6 allows us to appreciate C6s handsome profile, said Peters. The front fenders are both more rounded and more sharply defined. Theyre higher by about 10 millimeters and they also feature a beltline crease.
The fenders carry down tight against the wheels and retain more definition as they traverse into the central fuselage. Combined with the shortened front overhang, the fenders contribute to a more taut, purposeful front-end design.
C6 now offers wheels that are 1 inch larger in diameter than C5
as standard: 18.0 x 8.5 inches at the front and 19.0 x 10.0 inches
at the rear. The rear wheels are also 0.5 inches wider than C5s.
C6 five-spoke flangeless wheels are painted silver as standard;
polished aluminum is optional.
Jet fighter profile
C6 continues the Corvette side-profile tradition of a jet-fighter
canopy on a fuselage. Viewed from above, the cockpit style of the
car has been extended to the roof, with more defined dual blisters.
We looked to inspiration
from modern jet fighters, said Peters. The side profile
brings to mind the silhouette of an F22 Raptor – angular and aggressive,
but with just the right amount of curves.
Corvettes new Keyless Access
system allows the doors and hatch to operate electronically without
exposed handles and key cylinders, allowing the exterior to be free
of any visual distraction aside from its own sharply sculpted lines.
Bold rear view
We paid a lot of attention to designing the rear view of C6,
said Peters. After all, its the view that most other
drivers will see.
The appearance of the rear end
was kept bold, simple, and emphasizes the shortened rear overhang.
Round rear lamps
Four round taillamps continue as a Corvette rear styling trademark, a tradition that dates back to 1961 – with variations along the way, such as rounded squares or oval-shaped lights. As one of the key characteristics of Corvette identified early on, round taillamps and their relationship to the license plate were an important styling cue for C6. Reflector optics give the illuminated taillamps a glow reminiscent of jet afterburners.
Round rear lamps
Accommodating license plate
The plate holder enables a more integrated rear-end appearance for
C6 when it travels abroad and projects an image of being at home
wherever it might be. The holder readily accommodates three different
plate sizes: the long, narrow rectangular license plates of the
United Kingdom and Europe; the taller, wider license plates of Japan;
and the short, rectangular license plates of North America.
Crisp roof and decklid
On the coupe the fender shapes emphasize crisper transitions
and creases that run all the way to the back of the decklid and
draw the eye to the taut body form, said Peters.
A center high-mounted stoplight
(CHMSL) is integrated into the molded black spoiler located on the
rear decklid. The CHMSL is lit using light emitting diodes (LED),
as was the lamp on the C5.
Diffused rear fascia
We wanted to enhance the effect of the skin of the car being drawn down more tightly to the body and also reduce the visual weight of the rear end, said Peters. So we added a diffuser to the bottom of the rear fascia to enhance air flow and to add visual interest to the rear of C6.
Diffused rear fascia
Four circular exhaust tips are
integrated into the rear diffuser. The tips exit from the center
of the diffuser and pick up the circular theme established by the
four round taillamps. Framing the rear fascia with the black CHMSL,
functional spoiler at the top and the black diffuser at the bottom
produces a narrower cross section. In this way, the rear of C6 is
reduced both dimensionally and visually.
Expressive exterior colors
The 2005 C6 will be offered in eight exterior colors:
- Precision Red (new)
- Daytona Sunset Orange (new)
- Le Mans Blue
- Millennium Yellow
- Magnetic Red
- Machine Silver
- Arctic White
All of the major user interfaces – the hood, the doors, and the
hatch – have been improved for ease of operation. Doing so improves
perceived quality and sets the stage for more favorable impressions
behind the wheel.
Easier operating hood
The hood is still forward-hinged, but is 15 percent smaller, 35
percent lighter, and 40 percent stiffer. Closing efforts were reduced
while closing energy increases by 50 percent. The result? A hood
that latches securely from a single position – the driver no longer
needs to run to the opposite side in order to check or secure the
Reduced effort hatch
Hatch-closing efforts were reduced thanks to the optimization of
locations for hinges, gas struts, and bumper stops. A power-operated
single-cinching latch makes sure the hatch seals securely every
time it is closed. To make closing more convenient, a hand-hold
is designed into the hatchs inside bottom edge. Protected
from the elements, the hand-hold stays clean and, to the relief
of fastidious Corvette owners everywhere, and prevents fingerprints
from collecting on the edge of the hatch.
Doors - Keyless Access with
Push Button Start
There are no traditional door handles on the 2005 Corvette. Instead,
it features the Keyless Access with Push Button Start system, which
replaces traditional door and hatch mechanics with solenoids and
electronic actuators. External handles and key tumblers are replaced
by membrane-activated switches tucked into a pocket behind each
door. The door edge is protected by a small black molding, keeping
the finish fingerprint- and scratch-free.
By detecting the proximity of
the key fob, the system both unlocks the car doors and allows it
to be started. With the key fob in a pocket or purse, one can simply
approach the car and touch the pad located on each door and the
door unlocks and unlatches. The ignition is operated via a rocker
switch located on the instrument panel. As long as the fob is somewhere
inside the cockpit and the brake or clutch is depressed, the engine
starts at the touch of the button.
The removable-roof panel is 15 percent larger, yet offers the same
structural stiffness as C5s and weighs just 1 pound more.
The roof panel is available painted body-color as standard, optional
tinted clear, or with a dual-roof package. With new indexing side-window
glass and redesigned seals, the roof panel system also contributes
to a quieter interior. The simple three-lever release system makes
the panel easier to remove, and the snap-in storage system makes
it easier to stow. Small items, bags or briefcases can now be stored
underneath the panel when it is stowed.
The opening to the air is larger and Corvette now moves through
the air more easily, too. Thanks to more than 400 hours in the wind
tunnel, the shape of the exterior has been optimized for a drag
coefficient of .28. Its an impressively low number, and even
more so when you consider the C6 has a larger engine with greater
cooling needs; shorter front and rear overhangs; an overall length
that is 5.1 inches shorter; and has wider rear tires, all of which
conspire to make reducing drag difficult.
With a targeted top speed of 180
mph, reducing lift and increasing stability was a critical job in
the cars development. Thats where the aero experience
gained from Corvette Racings C5-R championship-winning efforts
paid huge dividends. With C5-R basically an extension of the street
car, its race and product development teams communicate constantly,
and knowledge gained in one program often crosses over into the
other. Aero work, thermal analysis, and tire development are among
the most fertile areas of transfer between these two worlds