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Chevrolet Beretta
General Motors
Production 1988-1996
Class Compact
Body Style 2-Door Coupe
Length 187.3"
Width 67.9"
Height 53"
Wheelbase 103.4"
Weight 2600-2800 lbs
Transmission 3-Speed Automatic, FWD
4-Speed Automatic, FWD
5-Speed Manual, FWD
Engine 2.0L (122 cid) I4 (1988-1989)
2.2L (133 cid) I4 (1990-1996)
2.3L (138 cid) I4 (1990-1994)
2.8L (173 cid) V6 (1988-1989)
3.1L (191 cid) V6 (1990-1996)
Power 90-180 hp
Similar Chevrolet Corsica
Platform L

The Chevrolet Beretta was a 2-door coupe version of the Chevrolet Corsica sedan, and they were both introduced to the public in February, 1987 as early 1988 models (they were actually available as far back as November, 1986 as fleet models only). The Beretta rode the same 104.3" wheelbase as the Corsica, and shared most of its drivetrain options. It turned out that the Beretta gun manufacturing company was none-too-amused at General Motors's choice of using the Beretta name, it initially attempted to sue GM for rights to the name, but eventually an "out of court" settlement was reached. Car and Driver magazine attempted to capitalize on the absurdity of the lawsuit in 1989, when its testers staged a tongue-in-cheek "comparison test" between a Beretta handgun and a Chevrolet Beretta. Naturally the handgun "shot" from 0-60 alot faster than the car could - .00096 seconds vs. about 9.5 seconds for the car. The gun also proved lighter and easier to handle (gee, who would have thought?).

Here's a quick year-to-year rundown:


Mock handgun comparisons aside, the Chevrolet Beretta was initially available in base and GT models. Base models had the 90 hp 2.0L I4, while the GTs had the 130 hp 2.8L V6. Both models could have a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic with either engine. The Beretta was one of the first GM models to have GM's new pull-down "beer-tap" exterior door handles. Although the Beretta and Corsica were identical underneath, they shared no exterior body panels. 1988 saw another model debut, the GTU, which had the 2.8 V6, the usual GT equipment plus special decals and 16" rims. There was rumored to be a convertible version of the GTU, but the decision was scrapped and the convertible model went to the Cavalier instead. There were some prototypes produced, but it is believed that none were sold to the general public. 1989s had virtually no change.

1990 models also remained visually unchanged, save for some new rims and colors. The exception was the new GTZ, which replaced the GTU model. GTZs were available only in red, white or black, had a blanked-off body-colored grille and 16" rims (which were also body-colored). A new engine became available too, one not shared with the Corsica: the 180 hp 2.3L DOHC "Quad 4" engine. This, like the other engines, would be available with either the 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic. Lesser base and GT models continued as before, but even they got all-new engine choices; an all-new 95 hp 2.2 I4 was now standard in the base models, and a 140 hp 3.1L V6 was optional and standard in the GT models (and available in the GTZ as a credit option). 1991 models gained a driver's side airbag and a revised dashboard. In 1992, anti-lock brakes became standard, and the base I4 gained 15 hp for a total of 110. The Quad 4 engine dropped 5 hp in 1993 due to heightened emission controls to 175. Also, automatic transmission models got a brake-shift interlock that prevented being shifted out of PARK without the brake pedal depressed.

In 1994, the GT and GTZ models were discontinued, to be replaced by the Z26, which effectively split the difference between the GT and GTZ, and was available with either the Quad 4 or the V6. An all-new rim design debuted, and the V6 gained 20 hp to 160 (the base I4 got a 10 hp gain to 120), but the Quad 4 dropped another 5 hp this year to 170. The V6 was now available only with the 4-speed automatic transmission, and all models now had door-mounted seat belts. 1995 models gained daytime running lights, the first Chevrolet model (along with the Corsica) to debut this item. The Quad 4 engine was dropped, the V6 was now the top engine option for the base and Z26. Also they got platinum-tipped spark plugs with 100,000 mile change intervals. There were no changes to the Beretta in 1996.

The Beretta, like its Corsica mate, changed very little in the 9 seasons it was on sale, and had gotten a little stale, so to speak. The Corsica was effectively replaced by Malibu, but there would be no direct successor to the Beretta.