Just when America’s favorite sports car couldn’t improve, along comes Corvette’s newest iteration of salivating engines to hike its world-class standings. The new ZR1 boosts the thrill to more than 700 horsepower, joining an elite circle of Lamborghini and Ferrari exotics ... for a lot less coin.
With four models from which to choose, the seventh-generation Vette presents a stunning set of wheels with stair-step modifications to its 6.2-liter V-8, each designed to match your fancy and wallet.
Four models are available as either a coupe or convertible—base Stingray ($56,590), Grand Sport ($70s), Z06 ($80s) and ZR1 ($122,095). Option packages will add $10-20,000. Relatively speaking, though, the Vette is a bargain up against higher-end Porsche, Mercedes and Jaguar models.
In addition, there are varying trim levels, one for the Stingray and Grand Sport and another for the Z06. The new ZR1 has it all, plus.
It’s worth noting that the standard equipment list is impressive with power GT leather bucketseats, eight-inch touchscreen and Bose sound. A full menu of add-ons is available, and if you want to further customize your Vette, there are exterior, interior and suspension packages to individualize your ride.
Stingray and Grand Sport are powered by 455-460 horsepower, the latter with an active exhaust system, which is driver controlled sound and performance. The Z06 houses a supercharger punching up 650 horsepower and the ZR1 supercharged tuning brings out an incredible 755 horsepower.
All models are rear-wheel drive with seven-speed manual gearbox standard. A smooth shifting eight-speed automatic is an option with paddle shifters.
Our Grand Sport tester is equipped with the preferred equipment group, a near $12,000 set of options including a performance data and video recorder tied to navigation. A must-have for track use, it utilizes windshield mounted camera gear and records laps with all the necessary data included.
What a kick.
Even though ours had the smaller engine with “only” 460 horsepower, it hugged the road with its Magnetic Ride Control, an adaptive suspension system that adjusts ride with selective driving modes. From start-up and beyond, the quad exhaust rumbles and screams with pedal pressure, while Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber, 20-inch rears/19-inch fronts, provides solid grip at all speeds.
Steering, braking and cornering maneuvers were precise with seemingly unlimited power. Our zero-to-60 track time was 3.6 seconds with the naturally aspirated V-8. The Z06 with Z07 performance package does so in 2.9 seconds and the ZR1 with 100 more ponies expects to make its mark well under three seconds.
Once securely fastened, the sports seats are both comfortable and supportive. We noticed some ankle knocking getting in and out of the roomy cabin. And storage is limited to a thin center compartment suitable for phones and keys. The trunk houses a golf bag and shoes with not much space left over.
Corvette designers are said to be planning a mid-engine platform for the 2020 model year, but for now the company is settling for the fastest Corvette ever built.
Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at email@example.com
2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport ConvertibleEngine: 6.2-liter V-8, 460 horsepower
EPA mileage: 15 city, 25 highway, 18 combined
Assembled: Bowling Green, Kentucky; U.S./Canadian parts content, 68 percent; country of origin, engine and transmission, U.S.
Crash test ratings: Neither The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the Corvette as of this writing.
Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile basic; 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain; first two scheduled maintenance visits.