Model year 2006 will always be known as the year the 505-horsepower* Z06 was let loose on the sports car world. With its 505-horsepower (377 kw) LS7 7.0L engine, racing-bred suspension, hydroformed aluminum frame and unique bodywork, the Z06 is the fastest, most technologically advanced production model in Corvette’s 53-year history.
Performance enhancements also are found on ’06 Coupe and Convertible models, with the availability of a new electronically controlled 6-Speed Paddle Shift transmission with automatic modes. The transmission has three driving modes – Drive, Sport and Paddle Shift – and a wide, 6.04:1 overall ratio that enables a balance of stirring acceleration and excellent fuel economy.
Other changes for 2006 Corvettes include a new three-spoke, 370-mm-diameter (9.4 inches) steering wheel. The wheel is smaller in diameter than the previous steering wheel, allowing the driver to maintain a “tighter” feel on the wheel and help improve turn-in response. The three-spoke design is characteristic of a sporty design that is being implemented in other performance-oriented Chevrolet vehicles.
Here’s a look at the rest of Corvette’s changes for ’06:
GM Passenger Sensing System – Replacing the previous manually controlled air bag switch, all ’06 Corvettes come with advanced dual-stage frontal air bags with GM’s Passenger Sensing System (PSS). PSS uses the latest sensing technology to turn the front passenger air bag on or off. If the sensor system detects an unoccupied front passenger seat or the presence of a smaller occupant, the front passenger air bag is designed to automatically turn off so it would not deploy in the event of a frontal collision. A status indicator on the inside rearview mirror alerts occupants that the passenger air bag is on or off.
XM Satellite Radio combined with Bose audio – For vehicles sold in the 48 contiguous states, XM Satellite Radio is included with the uplevel Bose audio system. The XM radio antenna is “hidden,” allowing for a smoother exterior appearance.
New exterior colors – Velocity Yellow Tintcoat and Monterey Red Metallic Tintcoat join the Corvette’s color palette, replacing Millennium Yellow and Magnetic Red Metallic. (Monterey Red Metallic Tintcoat is not available on Z06.) The color changes were implemented on late-2005 models.
New interior color – Titanium Grey replaces Steel Grey as one of Corvette’s interior color choices.
New convertible top color – Storm Grey replaces Grey as a color choice for convertible tops.
6-Speed Paddle Shift automatic details
The new electronically controlled 6-Speed Paddle Shift automatic transmission is one of the most technologically advanced transmissions in the industry, featuring clutch to clutch operation, manual control shift operation and an integrated 32-bit electronic controller. A wide, 6.04:1 overall ratio helps deliver exciting acceleration performance along with excellent fuel economy.
The six forward gears have smaller “steps” between them, which enhances the feeling of performance and smoothness. The smaller steps also enable a steep, 4.02:1 first gear, which provides an improved-performance launch feel when compared with the previous four-speed automatic’s 3.06:1 first gear. There are two overdrive gears: a 0.85:1 ratio in fifth gear and a 0.67:1 ratio in sixth. The final drive ratio of Corvette models equipped with the new transmission is 2.56:1.
Technological sophistication is exemplified by two electronically controlled automatic modes, Drive and Sport; plus manual Paddle Shift. The Drive mode follows a specific shift schedule of predetermined shift points, while the Sport mode enables Performance Algorithm Shifting (PAS). PAS modifies shift patterns when performance driving is recognized by the controller. The Drive mode optimizes shifts for smoothness, while the Sport mode enables firmer shifts for better performance. With the Paddle Shift mode, gear changes are made with manual control paddles located on the steering wheel.
The performance and functions of the six-speed paddle shift transmission with automatic modes are guided by an integrated controller. The controller is located inside the transmission, reducing complexity. A new 300-mm torque converter, new rear bell housing, new driveline support and revised-length driveshaft also support the transmission’s integration into the Corvette.
Coupe and convertible details
The 2006 Corvette’s new features and refinements enhance a groundbreaking sports car that was all-new in 2005. It is a performance car that is home in virtually any environment, whether daily commuting or weekend racing. Coupe and Convertible models come with the LS2 6.0L V-8 engine that produces 400 horsepower (298 kw) and 400 lb.-ft. of torque (542 Nm). It is matched to a rear transaxle that helps improve vehicle weight balance – a six-speed manual is standard and the new six-speed paddle shift transmission with automatic modes is available. The front and rear short/long arm suspensions reflect the most competition-influenced suspension tuning in the Corvette’s history.
Dramatic fender forms and exposed headlamps combine with the grille to create a strong visual identity for the Corvette, while the tapered rear deck and fascia improve high-speed performance. The lean rear design sports round taillamps and center-exit exhaust. The fixed Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps provide superior lighting performance. With a 0.286 coefficient of drag, the Coupe models are the most aerodynamic Corvettes ever.
The 2006 Corvette Convertible features an optional power-operated soft top; an easy-to-operate manual top is standard. Both configurations use a five-layer fabric that conceals the underlying structure for a good top-up appearance, plus it helps preserve the car’s excellent aerodynamics and reduces road noise.
Corvette’s interior is inspired by the car’s dual-cockpit heritage. High-quality materials, craftsmanship and functionality help deliver premium quality meant to enhance performance driving. The instrument panel and doors are covered with cast-skin foam-in-place trim that looks like a leather-wrapped, padded panel. It is warm and inviting and has double the life of conventional trim materials.
An AM/FM radio with CD player and MP3 capability is standard. New technology enhances conventional radio reception. An improved optional Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc changer and XM Satellite Radio (continental U.S. only) add to the choices available to the audiophile owner.
A full-function OnStar system is available and an onboard navigation system is available. Using a 6.5-inch (165 mm) color touch-screen display, the DVD-based system contains all the map data for the 48 contiguous states and most of Canada on one disc.
OnStar-equipped Corvette models feature OnStar dual-mode (analog-digital) equipment. OnStar’s digital equipment also includes enhanced hands-free voice recognition capabilities including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada . Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar features core safety services and OnStar Hands-Free Calling that allows drivers to make and receive voice-activated phone calls using an externally mounted antenna for greater reception.
Corvette Coupe and Convertible have a hydroformed steel rail backbone structure, which features cored composite floors, an enclosed center tunnel, rear-mounted transmission and aluminum cockpit structure. Suspension cradles, control arms, knuckles, springs, dampers, bushings, stabilizer bars and steering gear have all been redesigned. New Goodyear Extended Mobility Tires (EMT) take advantage of the latest sidewall design and compound technology for run-flat capabilities.
Three suspension choices allow drivers to choose the setup that best suits their driving style. The standard suspension is tuned for a balance of ride comfort and precise handling. Corvette is now more poised at even higher handling levels, yet easier to drive.
The optional Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension features magneto-rheological dampers able to detect road surfaces and adjust the damping rates to those surfaces almost instantly for optimal ride control. The system has been improved to deliver more differentiation between the system’s “Tour” and “Sport” settings.
The Z51 Performance Package brings Coupe and Covertible performance very close to the widely admired C5 Z06. The Z51 offers more aggressive dampers and springs, larger stabilizer bars, Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar EMT tires, enhanced cooling and larger cross-drilled brake rotors (13.4 inches/340 mm in front and 13 inches/330 mm in rear) for optimum track performance while still providing a comfortable ride.
With each suspension, three standard dynamic chassis control systems – anti-lock braking, traction control, and Active Handling – operate in concert. In all, the new dynamic chassis control systems are smarter, less intrusive and more adept at making the total driving experience precisely what drivers have come to expect from their Corvette.
Keep checking our C6 Corvette home page for more Z06 updates. Daily Corvette updates below: