Performance per dollar is incredibly important in the car enthusiasts' world, and the Chevy Corvette is a perennial front-runner, along with some of Automobile Magazine's favorites like the Volkswagen GTI, the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and the Lotus Elise. The Corvette is a true icon with few relatively minor flaws, some of which my co-workers have mentioned (the flat seats are grossly subpar, the interior is weak for a $50K vehicle, and the front wheels love to follow pavement grooves) and at least one they haven't (the fact that the Vette's excessive popularity scares away some individualistic buyers and has also created an unflattering stereotypical image of the Corvette owner).
But the C6 Vette is generally awesome, and the new Grand Sport package makes it even more so, with its fairly subtle but cool styling touches and modest performance upgrades, and is definitely worth the price premium. In addition, the interior upgrades that Chevrolet instituted for the 2008 model year nicely improved the look of the dashboard and the door panels.
But it's in motion where the Vette really impresses. I had a chance to pilot the Grand Sport around the road course at Chrysler's Chelsea Proving Grounds and it was a blast. I loved the car's mountains of torque, slick gearbox, and excellent balance. Steering feel is a bit on the numb side, but the system is accurate. The Chevy's ride got a bit rough between 100 and 125 mph on the course's choppy backstretch, but the car was easy to control, and the brakes had no problem keeping us out of the guardrail.
Indeed, the Z06 and the ZR1 are incredible Corvettes, but the regular-old C6 is certainly no slouch. Factor in the truly impressive fuel mileage (16/26 in EPA tests in this trim) and the cavernous cargo area, and you have a real car that's easy to own and fantastic on a racetrack.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor