Now entering its third year, the Corvette ZR1 continues to prove itself as a no-holds-barred, no-excuses, all-American sports car that has what it takes to beat all comers. Its 6.2-liter supercharged LS9 V-8 pumps out an incredible 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque, enough to make this the first production Corvette capable of crossing the 200-mph threshold. As for the other Corvette models? The base car continues with the 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 boasting 430 hp and 424 lb-ft — or 436 hp and 428 lb-ft if you opt for the freer-breathing exhaust system. The Grand Sport, which accounts for a large portion of coupe and convertible sales, uses the base engine but gets a number of upgrades. These include Z06 styling cues, its own gear (manual transmission) and rear-axle ratios, and available magnetic ride control. The 505-hp, boy-racer Z06 neatly fills the gap between the base model and the ZR1 and can be had in a limited-edition Carbon model, which adds a number of performance and cosmetic upgrades, including ZR1-style aerodynamic aids, carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes, and magnetic ride control. In fact, every Corvette model has numerous performance and cosmetic packages that allow buyers to customize their car right down to the color of the brake calipers. Interior quality remains the Corvette’s Achilles’ heal, although a redesigned steering wheel; new, more heavily bolstered seats; and additional padding for the console and arm rest have addressed a few of its shortcomings. Regardless, in its segment, the Corvette offers unrivaled bang for the buck.

Drive: Rear-wheel
Trim Levels: Corvette, Grand Sport, Z06,
Z06 Carbon, ZL1
Body styles: Coupe, convertible, 2-passenger
Engines: 6.2L V-8, 430/436 hp, 424/428 lb-ft
6.2L supercharged V-8, 638 hp, 604 lb-ft
7.0L V-8, 505 hp, 470 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 52.0 cu ft
Cargo space: (coupe) 22.0 cu ft;
(convertible, top up/down) 11.0/7.5 cu ft

For 2012, ZR1 and Z06 models ordered with the Z07 performance package get a full-width, racing-style spoiler and new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Zero Pressure tires fitted to lighter and stronger wheels. The Z06 can be ordered with a carbon fiber hood and Magnetic Selective Ride Control. A Performance Traction Management system is now optional. All Corvettes receive a revised steering wheel and redesigned and more heavily bolstered seats.

Front and side air bags, traction and stability control, ABS, and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.

All: 14-18 mpg city/18-26 mpg highway

  • Big performance, small $$$
  • Numerous performance and appearance upgrades
  • Interior quality and style
  • Pretty common

A world-class sports car for a budget price.

  • Audi R8
  • Lotus Evora
  • Porsche 911

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