Why the C7 Corvette Grand Sport Is America's Best Sports Car
I drove a C7 Corvette Grand Sport Collector's Edition the other day. Here's my take on it.
The Corvette has been around for 65 years and is in its 7th generation now. For people who don't understand how the system works, Corvette generations are formulated by their installments with the letter "C" and the following number is the generation in which it is in. For example, the seventh generation Corvette is known as the "C7." This could help someone out when people around them are talking about Corvettes. So, now that America has seen a couple of years with the C7 Corvette, there has been some mixed feelings on them, and I was one of those people on the fence. My friend let me use his Corvette Grand Sport Collector's Edition for this review to take for a spin and figure out what side of the fence I am on. I have to say, I landed on the approving side. Why? Let me explain.
In the beginning, I have to admit, I absolutely hated the styling of the C7. It looked like nothing changed from the C6 except for the headlights and it was a bit edgier. The Grand Sport came out not too long ago, and it looks fantastic. Comparing it to the affordable models, of course. Not only is it edgier, but it has more of an aggressive look to it than the rest of the cheap Corvette line-up. Clearly not comparing it to the Z06 and ZR1. Here, Chevrolet added on a small rear wing, a front splitter, some air ducts for performance, and a meaner looking stance. Still, the only problem with the styling is the headlights. Sometimes at night, I mistake the Corvette for the Jaguar F-Type, and vice versa. And that's because of those "European" lights that Chevrolet put on in the front. To this day, it still happens. My favorite part of the styling is the view through the windshield. It is one of the most beautiful wavy hoods I have seen that sit in my field of vision while driving. Drive one. I bet the same words will be said about it.
Now, the interior of this car, I am a little biased towards only because of 2 things; it is a Collector's Edition, and it is one of the same color blues (as I see due to being colorblind) as the Tennessee Titans. Honestly, though, I enjoy the carbon fiber panels, the sueded steering wheel, shifter knob, and some of the other trim. Space is not all that bad. The trunk can hold maybe two or so suitcases. My only problem was the seat height, I tired to go lower into the Corvette, but it didn't seem to go down anymore. Another thing I admired was the cluster panel. Not only is it part analogue and digital, but it changes when cycled through driver modes or any sort of customization. The last thing I loved was the infotainment system. I know most people already know this, but it can slide down to expose a hidden compartment meant for things and a USB port for something like music. I would use it to hide maybe a stash of candy.
This Collector's Edition Corvette Grand Sport is number 658 out of 1,000. This added another $4,995 to the build sheet. This model, to make it so, comes with the "Watkins Glen Grey" paint, a satin black center stripe, blue fender hash marks, carbon flash badge package, Grand Sport black aluminum wheels, "Tension Blue" two-tone interior, interior aluminum hash marks, numbered plaque, carbon fiber interior trim, Collector Edition sill plates, and the Grand Sport logo floor mats. Since it is a Grand Sport, it has a special package as well. It includes the performance suspension, magnetic ride control, slotted brake rotors, electronic limited slip differential, and summer only run flat tires. For safety and security though, it comes with handling stability and traction control, airbags for both driver and passenger, rear vision camera, and ABS. For convenience and comfort, the Grand Sport has the GT bucket seats that are not only powered, but heated and ventilated as well. The steering wheel electronically tilts and is telescopic, Bose sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, 4G-LTE hot-spot Wi-Fi, heads-up display, performance data recorder with video (if I ever wanted to record my racing at the track), curb view cameras, and sat-nav. So, what does all of this cost? A tad over $81,000. That is cheaper than a Porsche 911.
So, how does the Grand Sport perform? In one word to sum it up: marvelously. I am talking about a sports car, from the land that outsiders think three pedals are dead, that has a seven speed manual transmission behind a thumping V8 with 460 naturally aspirated horsepower weighing in at almost 3,500 pounds. The rear wheels propel the Corvette forward if driving carefully. But, if I were to drive it a bit on the aggressive side, it will want to try to get away from me up into 3rd gear, if I were to allow it. The 0-60 time for the Corvette Grand Sport takes only 3.9 seconds. That's as fast as the Audi R8, M6 BMW, Hellcat Challenger, F-Type S, and 911 Carrera S. The magnetic suspension on the Grand Sport handles beautifully. It keeps the body roll non-existent. Not only that, but it doesn't make the Corvette feel like a normal sports car on the roads of New Jersey. It feels like an ordinary sedan going over bumps in the road. The steering offers great feedback from the large and sticky tires. Not only that but it is very dialed-in, direct, and sharp. Combining all of the power, suspension and handling, and anything else the Corvette Grand Sport offers with performance, the engineers at Chevrolet outdid themselves with this car. It performs better than any sports car I have driven in the past. Also, it is very much cheaper too in price. The fuel economy is not bad either. The Grand Sport gets 16 mpg in the city, 25 on the highway, and a combined fuel economy of 19. What would I expect? It's a sports car with a V8.
So, what makes the C7 Grand Sport the best sports car in America? It's price and performance. Actually, just everything about it. I can't get that anywhere with names like Porsche, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, or even Jaguar. I just can't and I am being completely honest. My views after this test drive with the Corvette have changed. I hated everything about the C7, especially after GM ruined, in my opinion, the Z06 by supercharging the V8 and giving it an automatic transmission. The Grand Sport is the redemption Corvette from Chevrolet. I would prefer this over a new Camaro SS, Mustang, or even Challenger. And since it is a Hell of a lot better than the German cars, I can appreciate the fact that the US has gotten back in the game of performance sports cars. I'm not saying the previous models weren't good, but it sure did look like America could do nothing about being better than the ones who produce vehicles with brands that are across the pond. My only worry, as I agree with my friend, is ruining the suede with the oil that comes from my hands.
I would like to take a moment and thank my friend Richard C. for allowing me to use his car for this review.
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