The fifth generation C5 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the very best American sports cars ever designed and manufactured in the United States. Its timeless design, amazing performance, and being hailed as one of the most reliable Corvettes built to date. The C5 Corvette is a solid car that can be found for a relatively affordable price today.
Produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors from 1997 through to 2004, the C5 came in a handful of different configurations, the base model came packing a 5.7L LS1 V8 under the hood doing 345 horsepower. But the true holy grail C5 Corvette is found in the Z06 performance package. What sets the Z06 apart from the base model is the 5.7L LS6 V8 producing 405 horsepower all while shedding some extra pounds as well as having better transmission gear ratios.
But, as with every sports car on the face of the Earth, the sound of that powerplant can always be improved by changing out that restrictive factory exhaust, with an aftermarket Corvette exhaust. An exhaust upgrade is number one on the list of priorities for countless Corvette and other performance car owners, but one common question that we found on Corvette forums was “what is the best C5 Corvette exhaust”
To answer the question, we’ve scoured the market and found three of the very best C5 Corvette exhausts for you to sift through, ultimately making that critical decision of where to place your hard-earned cash.
Borla S-Type II Cat-Back
First, up on the list, it’s exhaust giant Borla and the S-Type II Cat-Back exhaust system bespoke to the C5 Corvette.
Featuring patented straight-through and multi-core technology, the Borla exhaust system functions perfectly to unleash horsepower with a new set of lungs for the C5. Each system is crafted from premium T-304 austenitic stainless steel with 2.5” piping giving unrivaled quality for both incredible performance and a sound that cannot be matched.
No matter where you reside in the country, you’ll find no issues with the legality of your new exhaust thanks to full 50-state legality, including California. That’s always good to know when cruising away from a car meet/show with a larger than usual police presence.
To top things off, the system comes with the Borla Million-Mile Warranty, keeping you safe in the knowledge that you’ll be looked after as you expect if something does happen to go wrong.
Corsa Performance Cat-Back
Each exhaust system created by the CORSA team comes with a focus on increasing performance along with an aggressive sound under acceleration to match. Additionally, CORSAs patented technology, the “Reflective Sound Cancellation(R) (RSC)” allows for acoustic engineers to create a great sounding, drone free exhaust that’s matched to the personality of your vehicle.
When Corsa Performance was designing this exhaust, they were able to increase the flow by 85% over the stock exhaust system. This results in an increase of 12 horsepower and 14 lb-ft of torque and a slight weight reduction of 5 pounds. The exhaust is comprised of 2.5″ piping with 3.5″ exhaust tips that are available in either black or polished stainless steel.
CORSA Performance exhaust is one of the very best on the market for those that love a tailored-to-them experience. Oh, and did we mention that the exhaust sound will never compromise the performance – that’s something we can get behind.
If a full Catback system isn’t really what you’re after, the Corsa Performance exhaust is also available as a simple axle-back modification. Although power upgrades will be marginally smaller with the axle-back alternative, the sound will be just as high quality with a drone-free experience and aggressive exhaust note when required.
B&B Exhaust C5 Fusion Exhaust
From B&B we have the C5 corvette Exhaust System with Quad Oval Tips, an exhaust offering unparalleled performance, sound, and style.
The exhaust system is available in both 4.5” exhaust tips and of course, the smaller and slightly more conservative 4” tips. This gives the C5 Corvette uninterrupted exhaust flow thanks to a combination of 2.5” and 3” CNC mandrel bent tubing. The smooth flow is vital for the increase in both horsepower and torque, giving the vehicle that performance boost that it’s crying out for.
Hand-crafted from T304 stainless steel, the exhaust functions at the highest of levels with a simplistic, direct bolt-on approach. Thanks to the factory mounting points, there’s no need for any cutting, welding, or modifications. Although some vacuum lines and wiring is required. Fortunately, with all hardware supplied, it’s incredibly easy for self-completion.
What sets this system apart from its rivals is the bi-modal design, allowing for two passages (or modes) that the exhaust can travel through in the mufflers. With a butterfly value acting as the flow director, the exhaust can be modified to suit situations with quiet and loud options available.
The valves are controlled with a remote key fob, modifying the feeling of the car with the simple touch of a button. When the valves are closed, the exhaust produces a mellow exhaust note with zero resonance making its way into the interior. When the valves are opened, the exhaust transforms, creating a deep, robust race-ready exhaust note giving NASCAR boom tubes a run for their money.
As with the Borla exhaust, this example from B&B comes with a lifetime warranty, and, with 50-state legality, there’s nothing to worry about if you happen to find yourself pulled over by the cops with the B&B c5 corvette cat back.