Grand Sport Corvette: Review

Corvette Grand SportMatthew DeBord/BII am not going to get into the long and famous history of the Chevrolet Corvette, in continuous production since the 1950s and now into its seventh generation. You can look it up.

Suffice it to state that we really, really. The C7 Stingray has been our 2014 Business Insider Car of the Year. It set a completely different standard for this most American of automobiles (still bolted along with patriotic care in exquisite Bowling Green, Kentucky).

Since we have behind the wheel of the glorious Stingray with a 7-speed manual transmission, then we’ve sampled the same automobile in a convertible version with a automatic — and equipped with Apple CarPlay — also shot a rocket-ship ride over the supercar-defying Zo6, a 650-horsepower creature of a machine.

We thought we had seen it all. And a Arctic White 2017 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible compensated us a trip. Too short — we had it for just about a day and half an hour. But we lucked out before some winter ailments in the Northeast, about the weather.

There aren’t a lot of cars available right now that are so good. And there are none that are so great for a base cost of approximately $70,000. Ours stickered at $85,910, and it was nicely appointed (the “Black Suede Design Bundle” alone added four grand) .

For starters, this item looks great in white.

For starters, this thing looks great in white.

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The seventh generation of Corvettes was inaugurated by the exquisite Stingray and its own 460 horsepower V8.

The seventh generation of Corvettes was inaugurated by the exquisite Stingray and its 460 horsepower V8.

General Motors

We afterwards tried the convertible version and also got a flavor of how joyful the Vette’s motor is when paired with a automatic transmission. It is actually FASTER than with the manual.

We later sampled the convertible version and got a taste of how happy the Vette's engine is when paired with an automatic transmission. It's actually FASTER than with the manual.

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Then cometh the almighty Z06, a 650-horsepower monster — and easily the best value in supercars on the planet.

Then cometh the almighty Z06, a 650-horsepower beast  —  and easily the best value in supercars on the planet.

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A little history. The Grand Sport Corvettes were initially created Zora Arkus-Duntov, by the car’s first engineer, in 1963. They were made to function as race cars.

A little history. The original Grand Sport Corvettes were created by the car's first chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, in 1963. They were intended to be race cars, designed to run in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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There have not been that many Grand Sport variations in Vette’s lineage. This is the next time around.

There haven't been that many Grand Sport versions in Vette's lineage. This is the third time around.

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The GS is more Z06 compared to Stingray in its styling, which can be aggressive and daring.

The GS is more Z06 than Stingray in its styling, which is bold and aggressive.

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The Corvette badge appears in a Lot of places, such as about the hood …

The Corvette badge appears in a bunch of places, such as on the hood ...

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… on the tail …

... on the tail ...

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… inside …

... inside ...

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… and about the key fob.

... and on the key fob.

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The Grand Sport designation is pretty subtle, actually, tucked away on the flanks.

The Grand Sport designation is pretty subtle, actually, tucked away on the flanks.

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That is cool. A detail about the center stack behind the shifter evokes the history of the GS.

This is cool. A small silvery detail on the center stack behind the shifter evokes the GS's history.

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That’s one of the 1963 automobiles.

That's one of the 1963 cars.

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The seventh-gen Vette is very much a sloping wedge, shape-wise. The motorized top stows in about 15 minutes.

The seventh-gen Vette is very much a sloping wedge, shape-wise. The motorized convertible top stows in about 15 seconds.

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There is a slim spoiler.

There's a slim spoiler.

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A hood scoop with lockable venting.

A hood scoop with slotted venting.

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Yeah, this infant is low to the floor. That’s maybe six inches of clearance.

Yeah, this baby is low to the ground. That's maybe six inches of clearance.

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Measure inside. This is sometimes awkward if you are a tall person.

Step inside. If you're a tall person, this can be awkward.

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The leather, top-stitched chairs in our tester were relatively comfortable, but they’d enough bolstering to make me feel secure during spirited driving.

 The leather, top-stitched seats in our tester were relatively comfy, but they had enough bolstering to make me feel secure during spirited driving.

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A bit more Vette detailing.

A bit more Vette detailing.

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The chairs are both heated and cooled.

The seats are both heated and cooled.

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Very much in the Means of storage. But then again, it is a Corvette.

Not much in the way of storage. But then again, it's a Corvette.

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precisely what the driver sees when he takes the wheel is still fairly straightforward. Analog gauges with some handy controls on the steering wheel: audio system (it is a dandy Bose device), cruise control, telephone, voice manipulation.

What the driver sees when he takes the wheel is fairly straightforward. Analog gauges with some useful controls on the steering wheel: audio system (it's a dandy Bose unit), cruise control, phone, voice activation.

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I forgot to snap a photograph of the infotainment screen, but it is the same as what is about the Stingray. You’ve got navigation, CarPlay, plus Sirius radio connectivity, USB ports — and through OnStar 4G LTE wireless handled of course.

I forgot to snap a photo of the infotainment screen, but it's the same as what's on the Stingray. You have CarPlay, plus Sirius radio, Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, navigation  —  and of course 4G LTE wireless connectivity managed through OnStar.

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On to the motor!

On to the engine!

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Woof. It is the 6.2-liter LT1 V8 we find from the Stingray, which makes 460 horsepower. No more supercharger, as on the Z06. However, the GS receives a lot of their Z06’s performance goodies, which makes it the better track car than the Stingray. That’s the difference between the 3 versions of this this Vette.

Woof. It's the 6.2-liter LT1 V8 that we find in the Stingray, making 460 horsepower. No supercharger, as on the Z06. But the GS gets a bunch of the Z06's performance goodies, making it the better track car than the Stingray. That's the key difference among the three versions of the this Vette.

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The blend of the 8-speed auto with all the GS’s V8 is the ideal tranny-engine union that may currently be purchased with money. It is simply brilliant, enabling a Chevy-claimed 0-60 mph sprint of 3.6 seconds, provided that you are armed with all the Z07 performance bundle.

The combination of this 8-speed auto with the GS's V8 is the best tranny-engine marriage that can currently be bought with money. It's simply brilliant, enabling a Chevy-claimed 0-60 mph sprint of 3.6 seconds, as long as you're outfitted with the Z07 performance package.

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Supercool blacked-out aluminum wheels add a whiff of menace . .

Supercool blacked-out aluminum wheels add a whiff of menace ..

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And those Brembo calipers clamp down on the disks to give ample stopping power. The setup is taken from the Z06.

And these Brembo calipers clamp down on the discs to provide ample stopping power. The setup is taken from the Z06.

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You can slip in direct mode and use the paddles to upshift …

You can slip in manual mode and use the paddles to upshift ...

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… and downshift yourself, but actually, I did not do this very much. If I have one gripe, it is that these paddles feel kind of plasticky. I didn’t like it. So I just let the vehicle shift gears for me. More on this in a moment.

... and downshift yourself, but actually, I didn't do that very much. If I have one complaint, it's that these paddles feel kind of plasticky. I didn't like it. So I just let the car shift gears for me. More on that in a moment.

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Transferring styles are selected with this fare wheel.

Driving modes are chosen using this toggle wheel.

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Wet, for if it is you know, wet. Unsurprisingly piped to the back wheels can result in a rear end.

Wet, for when it's you know, wet. Unsurprisingly, 460-horses piped to the rear wheels can make for a slippy rear end.

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Eco! Let’s move on fast …

Eco! Let's move on quickly ...

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Tour, for when you want to cruise around listening to Jethro Tull with the best down. In highway driving, you can get 26 mpg from the GS by the way.

Tour, for when you want to cruise around listening to Jethro Tull with the top down. By the way, you can get 26 mpg from the GS in highway driving.

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Now we are talking! Sport is the gateway drug. It begins to bring the Grand Sport to life. Most noteworthy is the note, pumped through four trumpet-shaped pipes. It starts to get furious. Everything firms up. The steering becomes precise.

Now we're talking! Sport is the gateway drug. It starts to bring the Grand Sport to life. Most notable is the exhaust note, pumped through four trumpet-shaped pipes. It begins to get ferocious. Everything firms up. The steering becomes alarmingly precise.

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Track! Sweet lord. The motor note moves into Ferrari 458 land: a rumble that gives way. A enormous old V8’s song. The suspension gets stiff, and also your brain is read by the steering.

Track! Sweet lord. The engine note moves into Ferrari 458 territory: a demonic rumble that gives way to an unholy scream. The full song of a big old V8. The suspension becomes deliciously stiff, and the steering reads your mind.

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I spent more or less the full 48 hours I had the vehicle in Track manner. Let’s fire her up!

I spent more or less the entire 48 hours I had the car in Track mode. Let's fire her up!

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And we are off!

And we're off!

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Yep, I am smiling. I didn’t quit grinning. The Grand Sport induced a state of pleasure.

Yep, I'm smiling. I didn't stop smiling. The Grand Sport induced a near-constant state of joy.

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Let’s get it down.

Let's get down to it.

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This is the best Vette. True, the Z06 is mind-bogglingly notable, and the Stingray is excellent.

However, I grew addicted to the 8-speed, the V8, and the suspension dynamics’ combination. Over and over again, I let the revs climb gradually north to the tachometer, feeding in a stream of throttle, and then increasing my own input. BOOM! DOWN is LOCKED by the back end, the front rises like you’ve already been fired from a howitzer, and you are off. The energy is honey and sweet smooth, but there’s a lot of it.

And unlike with all the Z06, where it is well-nigh impossible to get with all the Grand Sport, into all that oomph you can sense it shielding in equal measure, challenging and frees you back.

The treatment is clear and sharp, and your sense of the road is instantaneous. This car feels very much like a Vette with this advantage of wildness that is backwoods that you don’t purchase from a Porsche or Ferrari or Lamborghini. That said of the technology on loan means that the Grand Sport is a genuine sports car. It’s true that you can drag ass. However, you might carve into corners. Blissful.

You simply can not get a better high-performance car for the purchase price. It is beneath a hundred grand! Even a Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini or McLaren would cost you. And you don’t even have to have envy. That is the only one.

You simply can't get a better high-performance car for the price. It's under a hundred grand! A Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini or McLaren would cost you hundreds more. And you don't even need to have Z06 envy. This is the one, people.

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