As I look through my pictures and videos on the new Grand Sport, I can’t help but to think back on my all too brief time with the car as thought it was the greatest most wild one-night stand of my life, and no liquor was involved.
We immediately clicked, started chatting, talking about our lives, accomplishments, likes and dislikes and before we knew it, things got crazy and come morning, she was gone… I don’t usually do this sort of affair (like Corvettes I mean) but a few years ago, I met a new Stingray and all we did was go to dinner. The Grand Sport and I, well, went all the way.
Like the Dodge Viper ACR, which I hear is impossibly bonkers, the Corvette Grand Sport is not exotic, is not refined, and is not easy to drive. Unlike the Audi R8, Porsche 911 Turbo and Jaguar F-Type SVR, the Grand Sport is a challenge to seduce, and tame. I want another go at this car real bad but sadly, it’ll likely never happen again. Best to reminisce and share the story with the guys over beers. It’s better this way and I’d without a doubt get into trouble should we ever see each other again.
For no reason other than being a snob, I never really gave the Corvette a second glance. The C4’s design was revolutionary at the time but only the ZR1 got me excited. Essentially, early C3s were the last of the Vettes to get me excited design-wise. The C7 changed all that.
The current generation is as off-the-wall and unique as any in the past. The first one I drove blew my mind but I could not find an ounce of love for the chrome wheels, mated to the yellow paint job. The Stingray is the best looking Vette in nearly 35 years, and it got better the moment the Grand Sport hit the stage.
The extra aero, wider fenders, front grille and fat-tastic wheels melt the heart, and the part of the brain that loves mean-looking all business sports cars. My particular tester featured the Grand Sport Heritage package that brings with it the unique Watkins Glen Grey Metallic paint job complete with the Tension Blue fender hash marks.
This same package includes Tension Blue leather and suede wrapped interior along with intense bleu accents. The sense of being in a cockpit is strong in the Corvette but I would have liked it if the seat could drop lower. The steering wheel still falls in hand and overall, the driving position is excellent. Here however, the design is purely Chevrolet so a sparse classy dashboard is not what you get. Think of it as the cabin matching the outside, and the noises from the powertrain.
The C7 Corvette is a small big car. The footprint is huge but as a whole, the amount of volume it takes up in the world is minimal. The cabin is snug, but plenty cozy for the two occupants that will be lucky enough to spend time on board.
The optional Competition Sport buckets truly grab on to you but never in a way where you’ll feel violated. On the track, they do their thing, and comfortably continue to do once off.
One of the Vette’s cool tricks is its large trunk. With little effort, you could carry three golf bags in the boot and hand them over to the buddy who lost to coin toss to ride with you once on the course. Seeing as though you’re good guy, you wouldn’t dream of having a friend carry golf clubs on the bus, now would you?
The Corvette has always been deemed the bargain super car. Although this sounds condescending, the fact of the matter is that pound for pound, you cannot get more power, performance and approving nods from onlookers for the price.
As far as I’m concerned, a $76k Grand Sport plus the Z07 package ($9k) make for the best of all worlds. The performance is ingrained and equipment levels, including Chevrolet MyLink, satellite radio, power seats and leather, are all part of the picture.
My tested 3LT Z07 with Collector’s edition, dual roof and carbon fibre package, in other words, the ultimate Grand Sport, retailed for nearly $113k.
This is the meaty part… Nowhere in this department does the car suffer a shortcoming. The one “problem” comes from the insanely grippy Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires that have but one purpose in life: Grip. That is, unless the road’s wet, or cool or bumpy. You probably should purchase a nice set of HRE wheels for show with more appropriate street tires.
The Corvette’s LT1 6.2-litre V8 is mechanical simplicity, and efficiency. It does what it’s suppose to do when the throttle hits the firewall and won’t fuss about with pedal lag. And this, when the drive mode selector is in Touring. Skipping over to Track, the Grand Sport and you become intimate partners in crime.
The Vette’s Magnetic ride control and the ceramic brakes make the Z07 package, not that there’s much else to it. The dampers read the road under foot and adjust constantly. A thousand times a second, the dampers reacts to what’s going which is why even the worse Montreal roads only mildly upset the car. And that was in Sport mode. In Touring, the ride is nice as the dampers take the edge off the most broken of surfaces. They also keep the car firmly planted to the tarmac even when the car’s being tossed all over the place on the track. The combination of aero, tires and magnetic dampers create a daunting level of grip that can only be broken by trying to break it.
The brakes are phenomenal, to say the least. Repeated, heavy braking through a number of laps did little to fade the mammoth 15.5” front and 15.3” rear discs’ determination and the pedal remained firm. The combination of stability, speed and braking power allowed seriously quick passes. The steering is rapid, and progressive. Actually, it’s nothing short of immediate and with a sufficient amount of feel that creates a deep connection and level of confidence between the driver and the car.
Ah heck, the Corvette Grand Sport is an absolutely brilliant automobile, to drive, and behold. Damn I miss her…
Despite my Top 10 all-time favorite cars currently holding roughly 15 of them, the Vette has carved itself a spot and it will never be replaced.