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The Chevrolet Beretta is a front-wheel-drive coupé produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1988–1996 model years. The Beretta was designed in the same design studio as the Camaro and the Corvette, Chevrolet Exterior Studio 3, and was built at the Wilmington, Delaware and Linden, New Jersey assembly plants with other GM L platform models, the Chevrolet Corsica and the Canada-only Pontiac Tempest four-door sedans. The Beretta was produced in base, CL, GT, GTU, Indy, GTZ and Z26 models. A convertible was the pace car for the 1990 Indianapolis 500, and GM initially announced a production convertible replica, but a coupe version was offered instead.

Models and changes

The GT included a 125 to 135 hp 2.8-liter V6 and the Z51 suspension package with 15-inch styled steel wheels and Goodyear Eagle GT tires. Also included was a sport cloth interior and sport steering wheel. The GTU was available 1988–1990. Beretta GTUs (w/ FE7 suspension package) were shipped to Cars and Concepts where they were equipped with 16x7-inch aluminum alloy wheels, custom ground effects, rear spoiler, mirrors, custom trim, and decals. With the FE7 suspension the GTU was capable of 0.92 G on the skidpad, well above most cars in its class. GTUs were only available in black, red and white.

The GTZ, which replaced the GTU, was the high-performance version of the Beretta. It was produced from 1990 to 1993. It came standard with Oldsmobile's 2.3 L High Output Quad 4 I4, which produced 180 hp (134 kW) and 160 lb·ft (217 N·m) of torque. Also standard was a Getrag 5-speed manual transmission and GM's FE7 performance suspension.

The car posted a 0-to-60 mph time of 7.6 seconds and one of the fastest slalom speeds of any front wheel drive car tested. Motor Trend's only complaint was the Quad 4's NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) and noted it was one of the most raucous engines of its time. Beginning in 1991 the 3.1 L V6 could be had as an option on the GTZ, but it was only available with a 3-speed automatic transmission that increased the 0-to-60 mph time to around 9.0 seconds. The 3.1 L V6 was standard on 1990–1992 GT models and optional for all base models and GTs in 1992. Starting in the 1994 model year the 3.1 L V6 could only be ordered with an automatic transmission.

The 1991 model year saw major interior updates, including a new dashboard/center console and the addition of a driver's side airbag.

In 1994, the GT and GTZ were replaced by the Beretta Z26, which put it squarely between the Cavalier Z24 and Camaro Z28 in Chevrolet's lineup. The 3.1 L V6 was redesigned and became the 3100 V6 and gained 20 hp at 160. The new 3100 V6 was only available with a new 4-speed automatic transmission. The Quad 4 HO lost a total 10 hp (7 kW) in 1994, its last year of production. The 2.3 L Quad 4 was only available with a 5-speed manual transmission. In 1995 the 3100 V6 lost 5 hp at 155, which also carried on to the 1996 model.

Beretta's sales steadily declined every year of production as the market turned away from two-door models. In 1996, Chevrolet ended production of both the Beretta and Corsica after 10 model years. The Corsica was replaced by the Chevrolet Malibu in 1997. The last Beretta rolled off the assembly line on July 30, 1996.

Models

  • 1987–1996 base/CL
  • 1988–1993 GT
  • 1988–1989 GTU
  • 1990 Indy
  • 1990–1993 GTZ had a 0–60 time of 7.6 seconds
  • 1994–1996 Z26 had a 0–60 time of 8.3 seconds

Trademark issue

General Motors was sued by Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta for trademark infringement involving their use of the Beretta name for a car. The suit was settled out of court in 1989; GM and Beretta exchanged symbolic gifts: a Beretta GTU coupe and a pair of Beretta shotguns. GM donated US$ 500,000 to a Beretta-sponsored charity which was also affiliated with the GM Cancer Research Foundation.

Motorsport

The Beretta, using an aftermarket V8 engine, won the Trans Am Series championship in 1990.