The Goldilocks Special of Corvettes
Chevrolet calls its current midrange Corvette the Grand Sport officially for heritage reasons, but it’s also probably because “Goldilocks Special” doesn’t sound nearly as cool. Nevertheless, it would be an apt descriptor. This Corvette Grand Sport weds the monster Z06’s handling capabilities with the Stingray Z51’s usable power to create a single formidable package.
That power comes from a 6.2-liter V-8 engine with a dry-sump oiling system, and there’s 460 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque to be had. We specced the Corvette with the seven-speed manual transmission, but the electronically controlled limited-slip differential with cooler came standard. We also ordered the Z07 package, which netted us Chevy’s highest-performance suspension, magnetic shocks, carbon-ceramic brakes, and Cup tires. The performance exhaust comes standard.
It’s Best Driver’s Car week! Keep it on MotorTrend.com this week as we count down the finishing order of our contenders this year and share bonus content you’ll only find right here.
With only 3,464 pounds (1,571 kg) of car to move, the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport does a standing quarter mile in just 12.2 seconds at 116.1 mph (187 km). On the way there, it blows past 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds. Stopping from 60 mph with those massive brakes takes a sternum-snapping 90 feet, and those sticky tires will also pull 1.18 average g on the skidpad. With stop and stick like that, a figure-eight lap takes only 22.3 seconds at 0.96 average g.
“The softness (rubber bushings and engine mounts versus steel on steel) takes the chatter out of less-than-perfect roads and allows the driver to focus. I figured out the Corvette pretty quickly and found it fast and fun but not perfect. Gearing is bit off for our 198 hill climb. Third gear is too short, but fourth is too long for many of the corners. I found myself cursing for having to upshift and then downshift again immediately after or for holding a gear too long because I knew I’d have to slow for the coming set of corners. Steering, camber, caster are all dialed in—the car corners so flat and fast—just off center; that’s what brings the smiles. I dug the shifter and didn’t have the issues that others had.” – Ed Loh
“Uphill: Needs 100 extra horsepower! What a weird feeling, but 460 hp felt slow. Downhill, the Grand Sport comes alive. It has wonderful handling, enormous stopping ability, and tremendous grip. It’s a car you can trust. Graceful even, the ballerina of the group. It’s very impressive. It just needs some extra zip. I wish Chevy could come up with an engine solution in between the LT1 and LT4— a naturally aspirated V-8 that makes 550 horsepower. If that were the case, the Grand Sport might have placed higher. Like, a lot higher.” – Jonny Lieberman
Read about other 2017 Best Driver’s Car contenders:
- Mercedes-AMG GT R
- Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
- Lexus LC 500
- Aston Martin DB11
- Nissan GT-R NISMO
- Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
- McLaren 570GT
“This was just OK for me. I felt like I had to be extra delicate with inputs. Got some unwanted lateral body shimmies under hard braking. That said, the Grand Sport is definitely more manageable than the Z06, which was the last Corvette I drove. I’ve never been a fan of the Corvette’s manual transmission, and this Grand Sport just solidifies that fact.” – Erick Ayapana
“This car is well put together, whether you just need a quick stab at the brakes to orient the car as you come into a turn or just want to ease into the brakes so that you get the perfect trail-braking. Once you get out onto a normal road, it’s a bit of a jolty ride. There was a gap between the powerbands in third and fourth gear. Cornering is stable but vague. There is nothing about the Corvette that urges me to go faster. It’s a great grand touring coupe, but the Corvette doesn’t have the ‘it’ factor that a true driver’s car requires.” – Mark Rechtin
“Now that’s a sports car. This is the best C7 Corvette you can buy, full stop. What an absolute pleasure to drive. It’s like downhill skiing. You turn, and the hips shift and take a set then stick like contact cement. The car moves around just enough to thrill you, to make it feel like you’re really working it.
“It never runs out of grip. The more you turn, the more it turns. Brakes are perfect, exactly the right bite, easy to modulate precisely, and never fading. Just squeeze out exactly how much you want. Damping is fantastic. No bump hits hard, but unlike the Camaro, there isn’t a lot of vertical movement. Much more confident to drive on the edge.
“I want to drive this car on roads like this all day and the rest of the week, too.” – Scott Evans
“I was pissed at the car in Track mode because it wasn’t taking power, wasn’t putting power down, and bumps were moving the rear around. So many times Corvettes to me feel like they have a hinge in the middle, like the front sticks, and the rear doesn’t. Snap oversteer everywhere. It was super snappy on entry. The steering is very fast, and a little bit on the numb side. This is a long time Corvette personality trait. Since ’84, when you crack the wheel, it turns—big time. The front’s just better than the back, and it has been for about 33 years.
“It’s a whole different car in Sport mode. It’s like a big Miata. It was just a completely different car. The hinge was gone. I almost never broke the rear loose at all. It was a big pussycat. Very easy to go fast with it, and the power never challenged the chassis at all. It didn’t feel soft; it just felt right. I must have gone way faster. It was one-tenth the effort. It could use another 100 horsepower.
“The braking is really incredibly good. I think it really is better than every other car here. I couldn’t believe how deep I could go. Corvette has the brakes figured out.”
|2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||90-deg V-8 alum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||OHV, 2 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||376.1 cu in/6,162 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||460 hp @ 6,000 rpm*|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||465 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm*|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||7.5 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Control arms, transverse leaf spring, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, transverse leaf spring, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||15.5-in vented, drilled carbon ceramic disc; 15.3-in vented, drilled carbon ceramic disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||10.0 x 19-in; 12.0 x 20-in, forged aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||285/30ZR19 94Y; 335/25ZR20 99Y Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 ZP (Tread 180)|
|TRACK, F/R||63.5/62.5 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||176.9 x 77.4 x 48.6 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||37.7 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,464 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||50/50%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||37.9/— in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||43.0/— in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||55.0/— in|
|CARGO VOLUME||15.0 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||1.7|
|QUARTER MILE||12.2 sec @ 116.1 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||90 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||1.18 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||22.3 sec @ 0.96 g (avg)|
|2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP||1:36.02 sec|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,250 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$85,100|
|AIRBAGS||6: Dual front, fr side/head|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||18.5 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||16/25/19 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||211/135 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.02 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|