How does it feel to drive a Corvette C5 to 180mph?

Coventry Telegraph
by Doug Knox


Promises made by advertising are all well and good. But should you really believe the hype? Back in 2001, Autocar’s senior road tester Ben Whitworth didn’t think so. Which is why he took Chevrolet’s Corvette C5 to task in Germany – the nearest place with a public highway that would let him hit the kind of speed he was after.

Whitworth reported how a General Motor’s advert presented “a shot of a ’Vette convertible that says ‘American Beauty £37,999’.” But what really caught his eye, among various other statistics, was this: “Awesome maximum of 176mph, where permitted”.

Soon enough, he was picking up photographer at the crack of a Saturday dawn and barrelling towards the Channel Tunnel in that very same Corvette. He was evidently taken: “As we leave Calais and head for Belgium, I give the 339bhp, 5.7-litre V8 a prod. Bit like poking a hornets’ nest, really. The car flies, squatting back on its rear tyres and catapulting down the road with venom.

“The chugga-chugga low-rev soundtrack is replaced by a serrated crackle from the small-block eight that makes you dive for the redline at every opportunity. Dig into three-figure speeds and the ’Vette rockets along.”

He was less taken with other aspects of the US muscle car. Whitworth reported switching on the cruise control and surveying the cabin. “Not good. If God is in the details, then the Corvette is Satan in a shiny red suit.”

He wasn’t enamoured of the ride quality, either, particularly on some rough surfaces through Belgium. “The suspension on the big American seems incapable of sponging away intrusions,” he complained.

Full Story: How does it feel to drive a Corvette C5 to 180mph?