The Lowdown On The Vastly '08 Improved Corvette
The vast improvements for the new '08 Corvette include an all-new, larger, and more powerful V-8 engine to refinements in driving characteristics that solidify the Corvette's position as the preeminent American sports car, and further the argument that it is one of the world's best. There are also a host of exterior and interior refinements that raise the Corvette's luxury status and enhance the feeling of craftsmanship.
"Corvette is an uncompromising sports car that rewards its owners with impeccable performance and great comfort," says Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "The changes and enhancements to the '08 Corvette reflect continual improvements that speak to Chevrolet's unflagging commitment to building the best sports car, and with nearly 55 years of experience, the Corvette just keeps getting better and better."
Back again for 2008 is the 505hp Corvette Z06, an American supercar that has won over enthusiasts, journalists, and racers around the world for its balance of racetrack-bred performance, daily-driving civility, and value.
Here's a look at the new and enhanced features for the '08 Corvette models.
All-New LS3 6.2L V-8 Engine For Coupe And Convertible
A new, 6.2L LS3 small-block V-8 is the standard engine in coupe and convertible models. It is rated at 430 hp (321 kW) and 424 lb-ft of torque (586 Nm) with the standard exhaust system; with the new, optional, two-mode exhaust system, power ratings increase to 436 horses (325 kW) and 428 lb-ft (592 Nm). As a result, the standard Corvette is a true supercar, capable of 190 mph. The LS3 with the six-speed, paddle-shift automatic is the fastest automatic-equipped Corvette ever, with 0-60 mph capability of 4.3 seconds.
This new iteration of the storied small-block family features a revised, larger-bore cylinder block-4.06-inch/103.25mm versus the previous 6.0L's 4.00-inch/101.62mm bores-high-flow, LS7/L92-style cylinder heads; larger-diameter pistons; revised camshaft and camshaft timing; revised valvetrain with offset intake rocker arms; high-flow intake manifold; high-flow fuel injectors from the Z06's LS7 engine; and a new engine beauty cover.
Larger-Bore Block With Structural Enhancements
The LS3 features an aluminum cylinder block with cast-iron cylinder liners. In addition to its larger bores, which help create a 376ci displacement, the block casting also features revisions and machining in the bulkheads that enhance its strength and improved bay-to-bay breathing. But while the bore of the 6.2L engine is increased when compared with the previous 6.0L engine, the engine's stroke remains at 3.62 inches (92 mm). The pistons for the larger 6.2L engine also are new and are designed for its high-rpm performance capability.
High-Flow Cylinder Heads
Breathing for the new 6.2L engine is accomplished via new, high-flow cylinder heads. They're based on the large-port/large-valve design found on the LS7 engine and other GM L92 engines, with larger-capacity, straighter intake ports. The design optimizes intake flow to the combustion chamber; the exhaust ports are also designed for better flow.
Enhanced Valvetrain
Complementing the larger-port design of the heads are commensurately sized valves. The intake valve size alone increases from 2.00 inches (50.8 mm) to 2.16 inches (55 mm)-an increase of nearly 9 percent. The intake valves feature lightweight hollow stems, which enable the engine's 6,600-rpm capability. The exhaust valves also are large, measuring 1.60 inches (40.4 mm) in diameter.
To accommodate the engine's large valves and enable more direct intake-port flow, the intake-side rocker arms are offset 6 mm between the valve tip and the pushrod. Actuating the valves is a new camshaft, with intake-side lobes providing more than a 5-percent increase in lift, from 0.521 inch to 0.551 inch (13.25 mm to 14 mm). Exhaust-valve lift remains unchanged from the LS2. The camshaft timing was revised to optimize performance with the higher-lift intake cam profile.
High-Flow Intake Manifold
Ensuring the cylinder heads receive all the air they can handle falls to a new, acoustically tuned intake manifold. The composite design is manufactured with a "lost core" process that improves runner-to-runner variation and reduces airflow losses. An acoustic foam material is used to reduce radiated engine noise; it is sandwiched between the outer top of the manifold and an additional "skull cap" acoustic shell. new beauty covers atop the engine shield the rocker covers and also feature a noise-reducing, acoustically tuned insert to provide a more refined engine sound.
New Optional Dual-Mode Exhaust System
Optional on '08 coupe and convertible models is a new, two-mode performance exhaust system. Similar in design and function to the system used on the Z06, the dual-mode exhaust uses vacuum-actuated outlet valves, which control engine noise during low-load operation, but open for maximum performance during high-load operation. It is not identical to the Z06 system; the coupe/convertible uses a 2.5-inch-diameter exhaust, while the Z06 uses a 3-inch system.
With the new, dual-mode performance exhaust, power output for the coupe and convertible rises from 430 hp (321 kW) and 424 lb-ft of torque (575 Nm) to 436 horses (325 kW) and 428 lb-ft (580 Nm). This system gives the Corvette a more aggressive exhaust sound character that will appeal to performance enthusiasts.
Improved Manual Transmission Shift Effort
The shifting efforts for both the six-speed manual transmission and paddle-shift, six-speed automatic transmission have been improved in the '08 Corvette models. The manual transmission shifting improvements include a more positive and direct feel during gear changes, with better gate-to-gate location.
Quicker Shift Times On Paddle-Shift Six-Speed Automatic
The six-speed, paddle-shift automatic transmission on the coupe and the convertible is improved with new hardware and a new controller calibration that delivers quicker shifts. This change bolsters the feeling of performance and driver control when using the shifting paddles.
Also new for '08 models is the availability of the 2.73 performance axle ratio with the automatic transmission. It is included with the Z51 package.
Improved Steering Feel
The Corvette's precise rack-and-pinion steering system has been revised to provide improved feel at all speeds. The revisions are due to a new, premium machining process of the system's internal components, a new, stiffer intermediate shaft, and controller calibration changes.
Standard, Split-Spoke, Cast-Aluminum Wheel Design (Competition Gray Finish Optional) Polished, Forged-Aluminum Wheel Design
Corvette coupe and convertible models come with a new split-spoke wheel design for 2008. The design was introduced on the limited-edition '07 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car replicas with a Sterling Silver finish. The standard 18-inch front wheels and 19-inch rear wheels feature a Sparkle Silver finish, with a Competition Gray version optional. Also new is a distinctive, performance-oriented, forged-aluminum wheel for the coupe and convertible in a polished finish.
Custom Leather-Wrapped Interior Package Available For All Models In Exclusive, New Linen And Sienna Colors
Available on the coupe, convertible, and Z06 models, the new Custom Leather-Wrapped Interior Package offers a stylish, two-tone, leather-appointed cabin with details that enhance the feeling of Corvette's craftsmanship. Details include:
>>> Two-tone, leather-wrapped upper and lower instrument panel, door pads, and seats
>>> Choice of new, exclusive colors: Linen or Sienna, with unique color breakup
>>> Padded door panel armrests
>>> "Corvette" embroidered on the passenger-side dashpad
>>> Embroidered crossed-flags logo on headrests
>>> Unique center trim plate with bias pattern
All models feature a new, wrapped instrument-panel center trim plate with bright surrounds for the shifter and cupholder. There are also new, metal-finish, door-sill plates that greet passengers as they step into the vehicle, as well as a new, lighted-control knob for the available Magnetic Selective Ride Control.
Feature Changes And Enhancements
All Corvette models now come standard with features that were previously optional or part of equipment packages. They include:
>>> On Star with available turn-by-turn navigation
>>> XM Satellite Radio
>>> Auto-dimming rearview mirrors (with compass)
>>> Audio input jack on all radio systems except navigation; Personal Audio Link is available as a dealer-installed item with the navigation system
>>> New Keyless Access remote key fob with integrated key
Exterior Colors
There are two new premium exterior colors available with the '08 Corvette models: Jetstream Blue Metallic Tintcoat and Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat. they replace Le Mans Blue Metallic and Monterey Red Metallic tintcoat.
The '08 Corvette convertible features a power-operated soft top with the 3LT package; 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/XM radio with CD player and audio input jack is standard. An optional Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc changer adds to the choices available to the audiophile owner. Steering-wheel-mounted audio controls-introduced in 2007-are included with the Bose premium system.
A full-function OnStar system is standard and an onboard navigation system with voice recognition 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.
Driving Dynamics
The Corvette coupe and convertible has 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. Cross-drilled brake rotors are included when this feature is selected, allowing customers to combine the larger brakes from the Z51 performance package with the comfort of Magnetic Selective Ride Control.
The Z51 Performance Package brings coupe and convertible performance very close to the widely admired previous generation 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 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.
Corvette Z06 Details
As the fastest, most powerful, and most technologically advanced production model in Corvette's history, the Corvette Z06 offers an unprecedented level of capability and technology, making it one of the best performance values on the market.
The Z06 has an unmistakable and aggressive appearance, with design cues that include:
>>> A wide front fascia with a large, forward-facing grille opening, a splitter along the bottom, and wheel opening extensions along the sides to provide aerodynamic downforce
>>> A cold-air scoop in front of the hood that integrates an air-inlet system for the engine
>>> The trailing edge of the front wheel opening is radiused to achieve improved drag, but protects the body finish with a tough molding; a large air extractor is located behind the wheel
>>> A fixed-roof body style optimizes body rigidity and mass
>>> Wider rear fenders with flares cover the massive rear tires and a brake cooling scoop in front of the wheels visually balances the fender extractor. A tall rear spoiler houses the CHMSL on the top of the rear fascia
>>> 10-spoke wheels (18-inch, front; 19-inch, rear)
>>> Four, large, stainless-steel exhaust outlets
>>> Z06 badging on the carbon-fiber front fenders
For all its race-inspired functionality, the Z06 is designed to be a daily-drivable, high-performance vehicle. To that end, comfort and convenience are held to a very high standard. High-intensity discharge lighting, fog lamps, leather seating, dual-zone air conditioning, cabin air filtration, and a head-up display (HUD) with track mode and g-meter are standard.
The Z06 gauge cluster displays the Z06 logo on the 7000-redline tachometer and has a readout on the oil-pressure gauge to reflect the higher standard pressure of the dry-sump oiling system. The seats feature two-tone leather surfaces, with Z06-logo embroidery and contrasting stitching.
Z06 options include a Bose audio system with an in-dash, six-CD changer, polished, Competition Gray or chrome wheels, a telescoping steering wheel, heated seats, side-impact air bags, a navigation system with GPS and universal home remote.
LS7 Engine
The Z06's LS7 7.0L engine delivers 505 hp (377 kW) in a 3,132-pound (1,421 kg) package-a combination that delivers 0-60 performance of 3.7 seconds in first gear, quarter-mile times of 11.7 seconds at 125 mph, and a top speed of 198 mph (as recorded on Germany's Autobahn). It also provides maximum lateral acceleration of 1.04 g and 60-0 braking
Internally, the LS7's reciprocating components make use of racing-derived lightweight technology, including titanium connecting rods and intake valves, to help boost horsepower and rpm capability. The rpm fuel shut-off limit is 7,100 rpm. The LS7's details include:
>>> Dry-sump oiling system
>>> Unique cylinder block casting with large, 104.8mm bores and pressed-in cylinder liners
>>> Forged-steel main bearing caps
>>> Forged-steel crankshaft
>>> Titanium connecting rods with 101.6mm stroke
>>> Cast-aluminum, flat-top pistons
>>> 11.0:1 compression
>>> High-lift camshaft
>>> Racing-derived, CNC-ported, aluminum cylinder heads with titanium intake valves and sodium-filled exhaust valves
>>> Low-restriction air-intake system
>>> Hydroformed exhaust headers with unique "quad flow" collector flanges.
The Corvette Z06's powertrain and drivetrain systems are matched to the LS7's performance capability. The light, four-into-one headers discharge into close-coupled catalytic converters and through two-mode mufflers. The mufflers each feature a vacuum-actuated outlet valve, which controls exhaust noise during low-load operation but opens for maximum power.
At the rear of the LS7 engine, a single-mass flywheel and lightweight, high-capacity clutch channel torque to the rear transaxle. The six-speed manual transmission has been strengthened to handle the LS7's increased torque load. The transmission includes a pump that sends transmission fluid to the front radiator for cooling. Upon its return, the fluid removes additional heat from the differential lube before returning to the transmission. The six-speed transmission connects to a limited-slip differential, with enlarged ring-and-pinion gears. Stronger axle half-shafts with tougher universal joints transmit power to the rear wheels.
The Z06 has a unique aluminum body structure for optimum stiffness and lightweight for the fixed-roof body style. Perimeter rails are one-piece, hydroformed aluminum members featuring cast suspension nodes, which replace many welded steel components on other Corvette models. Other castings, stampings, and extrusions are combined into the innovative structure with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies.
Advanced structural composites featuring carbon fiber are bonded to the aluminum structure. The wider front wheelhouses, for example, are carbon composites, and the passenger compartment floors combine carbon-fiber skins with an ultra-lightweight balsa wood core.
The Z06 has a new magnesium cradle that serves as the attachment point for the engine and some front suspension components. Magnesium is lighter than aluminum yet incredibly strong. The magnesium cradle helps improve the front-to-rear weight distribution, as do the carbon-fiber front fenders and wheelhouses. As in 2007, the battery in the Z06 has moved from the underhood to a position in the rear cargo area, behind one of the rear wheels.
Suspension and brakes
The Z06 retains the 105.7-inch (2686mm) wheelbase of other Corvette models, as well as the short-long arm suspension and transverse leafspring design, but it rides on all-new wheels, tires, brakes, as well as its own rear spring and roll stabilizer.
The firmer suspension works harmoniously with large 18x9.5-inch, cast-spun aluminum wheels and 275/35ZR18 tires in the front, and 19x12-inch, cast-spun aluminum wheels with 325/30ZR19 tires in the rear-the largest wheel-and-tire combination ever offered on a Corvette. The tires use the latest extended-mobility technology from Goodyear to provide a satisfactory ride, but still allow the vehicle to achieve lateral acceleration of more than
1 g. The extended-mobility tires eliminate the need-and weight-for a spare tire and jack or inflator kit, while also reducing the chance of a sudden loss of handling capability.
Complementing the suspension system and large rolling stock is an equally capable four-wheel, disc-brake system, consisting of 14-inch (355mm) vented and cross-drilled front rotors and 13.4-inch (340mm) vented and cross-drilled rear rotors. A Delphi four-channel ABS system is standard, as is a competent active handling system, complete with a Competitive Driving mode.

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