2017 Chevrolet Corvette Driving Impressions

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.

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