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Without a doubt, the best bang-for-your-buck sports car ever made, especially for 2001 and beyond (nonwithstanding the existence of muscle cars such as the Ford Mustang, which, though they keep getting meaner and meaner, are still more along the lines of "muscle cars" or "touring cars" than true "sports cars")... The 2001 Z06 hardtop featured a 385 horsepower engine that still manages to be as fuel efficient as many mid-sized sedans. The latest 2002 and 2003 Z06 sports a 405 hp engine, up 20 hp over the last year. Though the DOHC 32-valve Corvette ZR1 that dominated in the 90's (for a ridiculous sticker price almost double that of a standard 'vette) until the introduction of the Viper once sported similar numbers, it couldn't hold a candle even to the 385 hp 2001 model Z06, thanks to the latest modern design enhancements, which include a lower curb weight and improved traction. It handles better than any other American sports car (don't even ask "what about the Viper?"), pulling over 1.0g of lateral acceleration on some skidpad tests. In terms of positive forward acceleration, it is nearly as fast as the $150,000+ Ferrari 360 Modena and the $100,000+ Porsche 911 Turbo (Chevy claims 0-60 in 4.0 seconds, but most road tests pull off 4.4 to 4.6). While some call it primitive due to its muscle-car heritage (including the same old 350ci pushrod V8 engine concept), it sports many modern engineering enhancements like stability control and traction control. The engine is all-aluminum and the brakes are better than just about any other production car's, with a few exceptions. The new engine run is designated as LS6, and enhancements include improvements on the cam shaft and exhaust system. The new 'vette is the only American car with a titanium exhaust system stock. I believe the only other car with such an exhaust is the MacLaren F1.

It is relatively lightweight (especially the latest Z06), sports huge tires, and although some dislike the C5 styling, it is definitely an intimidating yet understated car. For around $45,000-50,000, you can own a car that will outrun just about 99.9% of the cars you'll ever see on the road. Drop another $20,000-40,000 on an engine rebuild courtesy of Lingenfelter Performance Engineering with twin-turbo chargers, and you'll be able to annihilate Dodge Vipers, Ferraris, and Porsches with ease. The Z06 Corvette is the fastest production Corvette ever made, beating out the ZR1 (as mentioned above), Stingray, Mako, etc, etc thanks to its prodigious power and traction.

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