A Star is Born

Also from Issue 87

  • Supercharged C6 Convertible
  • 1981 Coupe/Late-Model C3 Buying Tips
  • Larry Shinoda
  • 1988 Coupe
  • 1999 Hardtop
  • Tech: Stingray Seats
  • 1964 Small-Block Coupe
  • Racing: C6.R Retrospective
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Over the course of the week, many Corvette enthusiasts asked me about visibility to the rear. Specifically, they wondered if the new C-pillars, which now frame the backlight, create a problem in this regard. Nope. Sure, compared to the wraparound rear glass of previous Corvettes, the view to the rear is slightly less expansive, but at no time was it a hindrance to my motoring. The C7’s wider, B-pillars, however, do create a problem. Changing lanes requires a little extra neck craning compared to a C6. On the other hand, the standard backup camera makes parking-lot maneuvers more confidence-inspiring.

The adrenaline rush of my backroad blasts combined with all the goodwill the Stingray was generating made it easy to overlook some of the car’s weaknesses, but eventually a few issues did bring the experience down to earth somewhat.

Overall, the ride quality wasn’t quite as good as I had remembered. The Stingray may be able to handle mid-corner bumps with aplomb, but that doesn’t always translate into great ride quality, especially at city speeds. San Francisco’s notoriously bad Mission Street proved too much for the Z51 coupe. The MSRC shocks could only absorb so much in the way of low-speed bumps before exposing the occupants to the reality of the car’s stiff springs by way of some side-to-side jostling.

Unless you really like to drive aggressively or intend to track the car, I wouldn’t suggest getting a Z51-equipped Stingray. If you do decide to order this $2,495 performance package, I highly recommend pairing it with the MSRC shocks (they come bundled with Performance Traction Management for $1,795). The stand-alone Z51 option, or FE3 suspension, forgoes the magnetic-ride dampers for fixed-rate ones and offers an even stiffer, more track-oriented ride. We’ve already heard of at least one customer who was led to believe that FE3 was the softer of the two, much to his chagrin.

While there’s no denying the fact the C7 posts superior EPA fuel-economy numbers than its predecessor, in the real world the difference may be academic. Excluding hard backroad driving and our hot laps around Thunderhill, the car was averaging about 25 mpg. No doubt, that’s a laudable figure for a 460-horsepower sports car; the thing is, C6 owners can get about the same fuel economy. Chevrolet also hasn’t moved the game forward all that much on the navigation front. Slow, complicated and only partially touch screen-enabled, the C7’s nav system was of little use.

The most annoying shortcoming of my press car was the fact that its rear hatch did not close all that well. Having to reopen it for a second, and sometimes third, attempt to get it to close completely quickly grew tiresome. After a week in the car, I’d put my batting average at about 700. While that statistic earned David Ortiz the MVP award in this past World Series, it is just plain lousy on a brand-new, $50K sports car. I can only hope that running changes at Bowling Green improve matters.