How Fast Is A Corvette?
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Let's face it, the maximum speed of any car – be it a Corvette or not – really only matters if you have easy access to the speed-limitless Autobahn. But chances are you, along with the majority of billions of other drivers around the world, do not.
On American roads, where the highest legal speed limit is 85 mph – on Texas Highway 130, to be exact – what really matters is the car's kickoff speed, specifically how fast it goes from zero to 60 mph.
And that's a Corvette legacy that's now nearly 70 years in the making.
How fast does a Corvette go from zero to 60 mph?
On average, depending on the model, Corvettes these days are capable of reaching 60 mph in less than three seconds seconds. But that hasn't always been the case.
The Corvette has come a long way since its 1953 debut, which was a limited-production model with 150 horsepower that would take an entire 11 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. The addition of a V-8 engine to the 1955 model shaved more than two seconds off that time to 8.7 seconds.
Over the following years, for the most part Chevrolet managed to nip off an additional second with each new model until actually reaching 5.3 seconds with the 1970 427 model. Then came a few sluggish years in the late-1970s and early-to-mid-1980s that topped out with 7.8 seconds on – coincidentally – 1978's model.
Chevy may have redeemed itself among Vette lovers with the 1990 edition and its then-impressive 4.5 seconds, but the company literally wowed the world in 2006 by producing for the first time ever a factory Z06 model that could land 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. The car's fastest times hovered between three and four seconds for the rest of the '00s and '10s until the arrival of the 2020 mid-engine Stingray Z51, which gets to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds.
That's right. The Z51 soars to 60 in less time than it takes you to say, “One apple, two apple, three apple.”
How fast does a Corvette C5 go from zero to 60 mph?
The fifth generation of the Chevy supercar, these Corvette models were manufactured between 1997 and 2004. The C5 comes with two engine options, the 5.7-liter V-8 LS1 and the 5.7-liter V-8 LS6, the latter of which is found only in 2001-2004 models and essentially deserves all the credit for allowing the Corvette to drop its 0-60 mph time to a new record.
The 1997 debut C5 model set the starting point for 0-60 mph at 5 seconds flat, and the car got quicker each consecutive year after that: 4.9 seconds for 1998 models, 4.8 seconds for 1999 models, 4.3 seconds for 2001 models and an impressive 4.0 seconds for 2002 models.
How fast does a C5 Z06 go from zero to 60 mph?
Fifth-generation Z06 Corvettes – those manufactured between 1997 and 2004 – come with a six-speed manual transmission powered by a Chevy's LS6 V-8 engine. It's essentially a revved-up take on the LS1 that comes standard in other C5 models that, with the help of other weight-reducing moves like a titanium exhaust system and thinner glass, makes for a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette 1LT (from $57,950)
How fast does a Corvette C6 Z06 go from zero to 60 mph?
Produced between 2005 and 2013 and weighing in at just slightly more than 3,000 pounds, the sixth-generation C6 Z06 reigns as the lightest of all Corvette models, a feat that in 2006 won it the title of official pace car for both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500. Keeping weight in mind, Chevy opted for an aluminum frame rather than steel and utilized a composite of carbon fiber and wood for the flooring, allowing the car to zip to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds.
2008 Chevrolet Corvette (from $30,500)
How fast does a Corvette C7 go from zero to 60 mph?
Produced between 2014 and 2019, seventh-generation Corvettes were the first to see the return of the iconic Stingray branding from the 1970s. C7s also received a reworked exterior body and an upgraded V-8 engine under the hood that sends 2014 models from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, 2015 models in 3.1 seconds and 2019 ZR1 models in three seconds flat. The 2017 edition's getup is slightly more sluggish, at 3.9 seconds.
2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport 1LT (from $64,300)
What is the fastest Corvette?
Late-model Corvettes can unleash maximum top speeds that fall just shy of 200 mph, with road and weather conditions permitting, and pack the power to go from zero to 60 mph between three and four seconds. The 2020 Stingray, outfitted with the Z51 performance package, breaks the Vette's all-time record, flying to 60 mph in a quick 2.9 seconds.
One of the fastest Corvettes on the road these days is surprising not to one of the legendary speed demon's many decked-out trims but rather a base model, specifically that of the Corvette Stingray C8. The 2020 edition, according to Chevrolet, in the right conditions is capable of landing a top speed of 194 mph, which, unlike every model to be released since its debut in 1953, packs a newly relocated mid-engine.
Moving the power source from under the hood to the car's center, along with the lack of the optional (and more costly) rear-deck spoiler – which actually creates more drag – means these days Corvette buyers get more bang for their buck.
2016 Chevrolet Corvette 1LT (from $46,950)
What is the fastest Corvette in the world?
The title of “fastest Corvette in the world” sounds like a fairly simple trophy to hand out, but that's not necessarily the case. It depends on whether we're talking maximum top speed or if we're after whichever model makes it to 60 mph the faster than all the others. Most experts and enthusiasts tend to look at the latter, because chances are likely that a Corvette will never have the opportunity to actually make it to the far end of the speedometer. Because, you know, speed limits and all.
Going by maximum top speed, Chevrolet has deemed the 2020 C8 base model – with a top speed of 194 mph – to be the fastest Corvette to date. Nevertheless, it's not the quickest to make it to 60 mph. That would be the 2020 C8 Z60, which gets to 60 in 2.9 seconds but the speedometer needle peaks at 184 mph.
What is the fastest stock Corvette?
The fastest stock model Corvette on the market these days is the 2020 Stingray C8, which Chevrolet claims can bank a grand total of 194 mph. Not only is it hands down the car's fastest top speed in its nearly 70-year run, it's a piece of American muscle car history that goes for less than $60,000.
The Z51 variant tops out slightly lower at 184 mph, trading 10 mph of maximum speed for better performance and more precise handling all around. But that's not necessarily to say that it's slower than the base model. The Z51 can actually launch itself from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds, while the base C8 model takes more than 3 seconds to get there.
And given that there's not a single speed limitless stretch of road on the entire North American continent, it's not like those 10 extra mph really matter much anyway, do they?
Buying a used Corvette
Corvettes tend to maintain a high retail value, which makes them a perfect candidate if you’re in the market for a used car. That’s because their original owners often decide to sell or swap them for newer, faster editions as they hit the sales floor. And these days, that seems to be an annual occurrence because Corvettes are getting speedier and speedier with each passing year.
Buying a used Corvette rather than a new one also saves you a significant amount of money, $10,000 or more on average. Shift makes the whole process of shopping for a certified-used car as seamless and stress-free as possible, thanks to a top-notch inventory that’s already passed a 150-point inspection plan at the hands of ACE-certified mechanics before pulling into Shift’s virtual showroom. That translates to extra cash that you can use to take yourself on plenty of roadtrips in your good-as-new ride as soon as they deliver it to your door.
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April 15, 2022
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