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Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray include 6.2L V-8 455hp engine, 7-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 18" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, Active Handling electronic stability, 8 way power driver seat.
Starting at: $55,450
We’re not the first to say that the Z06 would still be a benchmark at twice the price. But any Corvette is an incredible performance bargain, whether it’s the Z06, a Stingray with the Z51 package, or the Grand Sport with Z07 handling and braking upgrades.
The Corvette is an amazing bundle of power and grip. The Z06 and Z51 cars use an electronic differential to gain grip. The C7 can be harder to control with the aids off, though it still shows special poise and balance. It can run with cars that cost twice the price.
The LT1 in the Stingray makes all the right noises, along with its 455 horsepower, as it runs to the end of the dragstrip in 12 seconds flat. Its 7-speed manual gearbox shifts nearly as slick as its 8-speed automatic.
The Grand Sport’s wider rear fenders have room for its wider tires, and the aero mods attract more attention. It’ll do the quarter in 11.8 seconds at 118 mph, and comes to a stop afterward on its big Brembo brakes. Spend another eight grand for the Z07 package, including Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires, carbon-ceramic brakes, Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers, and a more aggressive aero package.
The Z06 stomps on Grand Sport with its supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 making 650 hp and 650 lb-ft. With the manual gearbox it can do zero to sixty in 3.2-seconds while the automatic clocks an amazing 2.95 seconds.
The paddle-shifting 8-speed automatic is remarkable. GM says it shifts 80 milliseconds faster than the Porsche twin-clutch PDK. Even in automatic mode, it’s remarkable.
The chassis and suspension use a lot of aluminum, which aids handling along with the adjustable dampers and Performance Traction Management system, especially in its Track mode. Flat cornering, over 1g of lateral grip, and accurate electric power steering deliver a control that can be addictive, especially on the track. The handling is astonishingly better than the C6. Driving the C7 is a special and rewarding experience.
The Convertible doesn’t lose any structural integrity, because the Corvette was designed from the ground up as a roadster; the Convertible isn’t a coupe with the top chopped off afterward.
The Corvette C7 is wide, low, and looks fast. The long hood, swept windshield, and bluff rear end define the proportions. It’s also never met a slit, scoop, or duct it doesn’t like. The busy curves and creases intersect and warp. The sharp lines, angles, and vents give it the air of a supercar, but they tire your eyes.
At least the extreme number of lines and surfaces announce what the Corvette is all about. Especially the Z06, with even wider fenders and an array of aero additions.
The Corvette’s cabin needs pricey optional trim, like aluminum or carbon-fiber, to move beyond the look of basic. The Corvette could learn some things from the Porsche 718, for its tight, low-key interior.
That’s not to say the ‘Vette isn’t sharp and modern. Everywhere the materials are good, with a lot of soft-touch surfaces. Touches like the passenger climate controls integrated into the outboard vent make this sports car feel like a grand touring car. The Porsche 911 and Mercedes AMG GT have a higher grade of trim, but they cost twice as much.
The instrument panel is simple and driver-focused. The optional carbon fiber makes the Corvette feel like a six-figure supercar; so do the optional suede and rich leather, in deep designer colors.
The standard front seats are great, supportive and grippy, with a highly adjustable driver’s seat and a adjustable steering wheel; but the optional seats are greater. You can reach the shift lever without contortions. The Competition Sport seats have a race-inspired form and function for hard cornering.
The cabin is snug but not tight. There’s good head, hip and legroom in front, even for six-footers. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is a bit small but comfortable.
Storage is good for a sports car. There are a few cubbies and boxes, with a hidden compartment behind the nav screen for your phone, with a jack. The real magic is the large, flat cargo area under the hatch of the coupe. It holds a surprising amount of luggage or stuff, making the Corvette almost practical. Convertibles have a trunk with less space, but it’s still adequate.
The convertible’s tight top seats itself at the top of the windshield, allowing you to raise or lower the top at speeds of up to 30 mph. Wind buffeting is stronger than some touring convertibles, but it’s not bad. Get the optional dealer-installed wind-blocker for an improvement.
Rear visibility is miserable. The standard rearview camera is necessary when backing up, but it doesn’t help when you’re trying to see what’s happening behind you on the freeway.
The Chevrolet Corvette presents a strong performance equation for the dollar. Other cars that offer the Corvette’s levels of performance and handling tend to be expensive exotics.
Sam Moses contributed to this report.
The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette is available as a Stingray Coupe ($55,450), Stingray Convertible ($59,450), Grand Sport ($65,450), and Z06 ($79,450).
Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control; an infotainment system with an 8.0-inch color touchscreen; satellite radio; Bluetooth with audio streaming; USB and power ports; a rearview camera; keyless ignition; cruise control; and a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel, and OnStar.
Optional are Nappa leather or micro-suede, aluminum or carbon fiber trim, curb-view camera, head-up display, HD radio, 10-speaker Bose audio, competition sport seats, and navigation. But no blind-spot monitors.
The Z06 package also includes Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, adjustable front and rear aero components, and Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires.
The Z51 package includes lighter wheels, bigger brakes, more extreme aerodynamic bits, an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oil system, an oil cooler for the differential and transmission, and stiffer shocks, springs and anti-roll bars.
Adjustable ride control settings are available with the Magnetic Selective Ride Control option, enabling various levels of ride comfort and performance. The magnetic ride suspension is available without the Z51 package and comes bundled with the Z51’s rear spoiler and wheels.
Finally, there’s an available performance data recorder with video. It can be used as a security device to make sure your Corvette isn’t taken for any joy rides by valet car-parkers.
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