2021 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible | Review & Road Test

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Here are some first thoughts on the Chevrolet Corvette.

-Obviously engine position ranks high. Unlike every Corvette prior, the C8 has its engine behind the cockpit, improving rotational inertia and dynamic weight distribution for zazzier performance.

-As for power, the 6.2-liter V8 produces an ample 490 horsepower (490hp, 465 lb-ft). Add 5 to both the horsepower and torque figures with the optional performance exhaust.
-The V8’s output is routed to the rear wheels via an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. And with the Z51 package’s shorter final drive ratio, the Corvette’ll zap from static to 60 in under 3 seconds. That final drive ratio also gives the Z51 a top speed of 184 miles per hour. If that’s somehow not fast enough for you, the standard car will do 194.
-Despite slotting an engine in the center, the Corvette is still weirdly practical. Between its front and rear trunks, there are 12.6 cu-ft available.
I’m told the Vette will hold 2 golf bags. I don’t golf but for those who do, congrats.
-Lastly, the C8’s value proposition is absurd. The base price is just under $59-grand (text: $58,900) for the coupe. Tack on another $7,500 for a convertible like our tester here. If you’re curious, this exact car has about $17-grand worth of options. Total price: $83,475 plus destination charges.
Funny story, I attended the Corvette reveal event and when they announced the base price I literally gasped.
So, the C8 is powerful, its engine lives where Lamborghini put theirs, and the base price is gasp-inducingly cheap. That is a strong premise. What does Mike Danger think?

Though I should intervene with some criticism. While the material quality and fitment of the interior is a monumental leap beyond previous Corvettes, this linear arrangement of buttons is a travesty. Yeah, I’ll stand by that.

Having to scan 16-inches of controls while hurtling down the freeway is just plain silly. More positively the cabin offers lots of room, even for Mike who is 6’ 4”.

It’s not likely you’ll find a base Corvette on a dealer lot but if you did it would include a limited-slip differential, smart key access, a range of drive modes, and an 8-inch infotainment system.

Higher trims add things like Bose premium audio, fancier interior appointments, these $1,500 GT2 bucket seats, seat heating and ventilation, an adaptive suspension, a front curb camera, and a front nose lift. Based on the Corvette’s ride height, that nose lift is $1,500 well spent. For maximum Corvette enjoyment though, the Z51 performance package is a must. It adds an electronic limited-slip differential, a performance exhaust, improved engine cooling, plus upgraded brakes, suspension, and Michelin Pilot summer tires for a not outrageous $5,000.

As noted, our car sports the $7,500 retractable hardtop, which can be lowered in about 16 seconds at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. The Corvette convertible also includes a retractable rear window for top-up ventilation or top-down wind management. I like that the hardtop takes up zero cargo space versus the coupe, but it does cover the engine, and, from the driver’s seat, the open-air view is essentially the same as when you remove the coupe’s roof panel.
That said, wind management with the top down is outstanding. I’d happily drive like this from LA to Texas.

The square steering wheel should offer improved gauge viewability but for my ideal position it still cuts off the top of the display.
The brake by wire pedal feels wonderful underfoot and is easy to manage. No brake complaints here.
Fuel economy remains a weird strong suit for the Corvette. (15city/27hwy)
You cannot buy a manual transmission but if you want to rev the engine at random passersby, pull both paddle shifters for short-term neutral.
Speaking of the dual-clutch transmission, it delivers awesome fast shifts in motion, but it lacks the velvety smoothness of a traditional automatic at parking lot creep speeds.
And, this is a weird one, but the turn signal is barely audible.
So, if you see a C8 with a persistently active turn signal, the driver is probably just rocking Bachman Turner Overdrive.

Not to get too highfaluting with this review but the C8 Corvette provides a nice metaphor for life. I’ve heard some folks lament the Corvette’s new character. It’s too dignified. It’s forgotten where it came from. That kind of thing. But I’m not one to chastise personal development. Change is inevitable and often wonderful.

00:00 2021 Chevrolet Corvette
1:28 Model Highlights
3:37 Interior
4:33 Driving impressions
6:00 Trim levels
7:20 Driving Impressions
8:23 Competitors
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