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Review of: 2017 Chevrolet Corvette 2dr Grand Sport Conv w/1LT

9.0

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport convertible: Track-capable touring machine

By G. R. Whale

Feb. 21, 2017

Grand Sport’s the bridge between Z51 Stingray and mental ZO6 where 460 horses are sufficient. And up to 70 km/h—where tires might stick—or on the street, that’s most of the time… Officer Bob won’t care if radar says 280 or 310. The convertible merely adds a dimension the top-popped coupe doesn’t.

Pros & Cons

  • + On-road performance
  • + Interior design
  • + Value for money
  • - Seat belts
  • - Skip-shift transmission
  • - Smells like a fibreglass boat
Read the full review
  • Walkaround

    A ZO6 wide-body with smaller spoiler and lower hood (no supercharger) is menacingly purposeful in some colors, slightly overwrought in others. It’s angry, not pretty.

    It’s big too, with a wheelbase anywhere from 90 to 250 mm longer than the F-Type, 911 and Viper and wide as a pickup, but also less than 1,600 kg and the pushrod engine allows a low hood, lower centre of gravity and excellent view. The low snout dragged my 75-mm parking stop in reverse.

    Multiple ducts, extractors and slats are all functional, while bits like the Marvel’s Punisher hood decal and $1,195-yellow paint to finance the race team are not.

    It feels no less rigid than the coupe, so downsides are three: be careful scraping snow off this roof; you might need a roll bar to track it and trunk space is about 285 litres (take off 40 per cent with the top down) with no room for a spare. The top folds down from the key fob and the design makes cleaning the well it sits in very easy.

    9.1Excellent
  • Interior

    This cabin was arguably the greatest improvement to the seventh generation ‘Vette, with far superior materials, seats, ergonomics and, to a lesser degree, style. It’s comfortable and functional cruising or caning it, there are no Germanic fees for every little amenity and I was never short of room or adjustments.

    Hefty shifter, flat-bottom wheel and multi-mode dash are sports-car standards, things like six storage areas, CarPlay/Android Auto and a separate passenger climate panel not so much.

    I made only two negative notes: Shoulder belt guides are useless, and I frequently bumped the trunk release and motion sensor switches exiting, but never entering.

    For any previous Corvette cabin I might have had a total of two positives.

    8.4Very good
  • Tech

    It doesn’t have blind-spot warning, nor does it have blind spots.

    It does have a trick differential, dry sump oiling, superb shocks, very good MyLink telematics, 4G wi-fi hotspot, three cameras, color head-up display (like the nav, it agrees with polarized lenses) and a performance data recorder that can make you a better driver. And it all works very well.

    8.9Very good
  • Driving

    Layers of electronic controls and shocks that adjust every few metres at highway speed let Grand Sport cruise down the highway smoothly with only some tire slap and, top up, some rear tire noise. Or you can take it to a track and run laps faster than almost anything else with “just” 460 hp.

    Sticky tires can be overwhelmed, especially cold (the front tires chatter on tight idle turns), but get it all right and 100 km/h arrives around four seconds, the quarter-mile eight later at 185-plus km/h. The Z51 gearbox ratios and bigger tires give it the edge over plain Stingrays, and while the automatic is faster I’d stick with the stick.

    Understanding the five driving modes and subset traction management will bring the best of it; using Sport in the wet makes it stiffer than need be, adding volume but going no faster. In the dry, directional changes are immediate and grip immense, ultimately straining your neck beyond the force of gravity, brakes have great bite and feel and excellent throttle response ensures power’s always available. Turn-in doesn’t feel razor sharp as some sports cars, which I attribute to the long-wheelbase and a little self-preservation dialed in, but it’s direct and quick. The ZO7 pack ramps up grip and braking even further.

    Driving it, I burned up 15.0 to 25.0 L/100 km, enjoying the baritone exhaust that gives the F-Type a run for its sound and tenor engine, but averaged 15.3 in town and 8.8 highway thanks to a long-legged seventh gear (about 1,300 rpm for 100 km/h). Smoke the rear tires, though, and you may spend $1,300/pair to replace them.

    Overall, the GS is a fast car that’s relatively easy to drive fast. Note I’ve also watched pros spin them thinking it wouldn’t in sport stability mode, so consider yourself warned.

    9.3Excellent
  • Value

    A GS is $5,700 over a Z51, $16,400 above Stingray and $17,000 less than ZO6. Middling 2LT ($85,370) includes head-up display and Bose sound, this car optioned with PDR/nav ($2,065) and $3,200-plus in cosmetics, totalling $90,690. A similar M4 cabrio is $95K, a Boxster S more than $100,000. Other minimums: Jag F-Type R: $121,000; Viper GTC: $129,000; 911 GTS Cabrio: $150,000; and 2016 Aston V8 Vantage: $175,000.

    9.2Excellent
  • Conclusion

    With 911 GTS performance at Boxster S money, no-rust chassis and bodywork, a fair degree of exclusivity yet serviceable at any Chevy dealer, this is hard to beat. Even moreso than trying to beat one on lap time.

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