Fifty grand isn't exactly pocket change, but the Chevrolet Corvette is one of the best performance values on the market today. This fifth-generation Corvette, called the C5, delivers a combination of acceleration and handling performance matched only by the Dodge Viper, Porsche 911 Carrera and various exotics, all of which are far more expensive. Sports cars in the C5 price range, such as the Mercedes-Benz SLK, BMW Z3 and Porsche Boxster offer an entirely different driving experience and performance characteristics. More power is on tap for the entire Corvette lineup this year. Most of this power comes in the form of more torque at lower rpm; and torque is what makes the Corvette go like stink. Even bigger news for 2001 is the introduction of the Z06, a powerful new model based on last year's hardtop.