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The cheapest exotic car in the world

The Chevrolet Corvette is the best high-performance value in America. The Corvette delivers supercar performance for the price of a midsize luxury sedan.

And for all its performance, the Corvette does not exact a painful toll on its driver or passenger. Chevrolet has eliminated nearly all the cruder, less desirable traits that characterized Corvettes of yore. The 2006 Corvette could be a reasonably comfortable daily driver in most locales, for at least three of the four seasons.

Known to sports car enthusiasts as the C6 (for sixth generation), the current-generation Corvette was all-new for model year 2005. It's much better than the C5 it replaced, which was a solid sports car in its own right. What makes the C6 better is everything: performance, refinement, ease of operation. It's more comfortable and easier to drive, not only on the road, but also on a race track. It quickly infuses the driver with confidence. It feels like it has more grip than the C5, and it does. It's more agile than before yet more stable. Its new brakes are excellent and, yes, it's faster. If you believe the best time to buy a car is in its second year of production, then the 2006 Corvette is the one to buy.

The standard Corvette coupe and convertible are powered by Chevy's 6.0-liter LS2 V8. This engine sounds great and intoxicates with its acceleration. New for 2006 is an optional six-speed Paddle Shift automatic transmission. With either the manual or automatic, the coupe is awesome, and the convertible is really wonderful. Drop the top on a nice day, turn on the stereo and you'll likely have what psychologists call a peak experience. It's a wonderful feeling and at those moments the Corvette more than justifies its price.

The headline for the 2006 model year is a new, ultra-high performance Z06 model. The Corvette Z06 is a true supercar for a price that's merely expensive, as opposed to insanely expensive. This ultra-high-performance coupe features a new 7.0-liter LS7 V8, high-tech, weight trimming chassis features and upgraded brakes. If any $66,000 car can be called a bargain, this is the one. The Z06 Corvette accelerates faster, grips better and stops shorter than European sports cars that cost twice as much.

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