With the introduction of the C4 Corvette in 1984, the Corvette became the best sports car for the price. With the introduction of the C5 in 1997, the Corvette became the best sports car available at any price.
The C5 was a major change from the C4. Designed as a sturdy convertible, as opposed to a coupe that was weakened by the removal of the roof structure, the car now had a hydro-formed box frame. An integrated, rear-mounted transaxle assembly was used. This arrangement, long employed in European sports cars, gave the C5 an equal weight distribution. The alloy LS1 engine initially produced 345 horsepower, but was increased slightly in 2001 to 350 horsepower. The automatic transmission carried on from previous models, but the stick was replaced by aBorg Warner 6 Speed giving the C5 a top speed of 175 mph.
The styling of the C5 was also dramatically different than the C4, with more rounded and graceful lines, a double-bubble top and a very low drag coefficient. The C5 paced the Indy 500 three times during its seven-year production run. Most collectible are three special editions: the ʼ98 Pace Car Replica, the ʼ03 Fifth Anniversary Edition and the ’04 ZO6 Le Mans Commemorative Edition, built to honor the half-class victories at the 24 hours of Le Mans. This car is basically a street-legal race car producing 420 horsepower, with a 0-60 time less than four seconds.
A few reasons why I believe this is the best sports car made have more to do with usability than anything else. First, it gets up to 28 mpg. Second, it’s a Chevy, so parts are cheap and readily available. Third, it will do anything any other sports car will do, as well or better.