Resurrecting a storied appellation from a brand’s past can be a fraught exercise, especially when the new item bears little resemblance to its legendary namesake. But while GM has a bit of a checkered past in this regard—2000 Impala anyone?—Team Corvette has, to date, managed to steer clear of any such cognomen-based ignominy.
And so it is with the Grand Sport designation, last seen on the final-year sixth-generation model and recently exhumed for use on the 2017 C7. For while certain configurations of the latest GS may suffer from a bit of an identity crisis (more on that in a bit), overall the car is fundamentally in keeping with the spirit of Zora Duntov’s original article.
Something for Everyone
To grasp what Team Corvette has wrought in the 2017 Grand Sport, it’s important to first understand what the car isn’t. Although a vocal minority of marque enthusiasts (including this author) have long pined for a bare-bones, speed-first C7 with a price tag to match, the latest GS cleaves to its immediate predecessor’s formula of ladling extra helpings of performance atop the existing, amply equipped base offering. The result, naturally, is a more expensive car—$65,450 for the coupe and $69,450 for the convertible, up from $55,450/$59,450 for the standard Stingray.
And those are just the base prices. Corvette brand managers’ penchant for offering near limitless personalization options has finally boiled over on the new Grand Sport, to the point that attempting to account for every possible equipment combination is a pursuit best undertaken with the assistance of quantum-computing technology.
At first glance, all Grand Sports (RPO Z16) are easily distinguishable from the base model thanks to the addition of a Z06-style satin-black grille; an enlarged, body-color quarter ducts; side rocker panels; wider rear fenders and model-specific badging. The makeover is rather less comprehensive on the inside, where a lone center-console badge is charged with broadcasting the GS’s specialness to the occupants. But not to worry: If recent history is any guide, lightly optioned examples are sure to make up a but a tiny fraction of the overall production total, and it’s here that things start to get interesting.
As was the case with the C6 edition, most new Grand Sports are likely to be equipped with the optional (RPO Z15) Heritage Package, which applies the model’s signature hash marks to the fenders and interior aluminum trim. A set of logo floor mats is also included, and a body-length center stripe is available for an additional fee. The hashes are now offered in Torch Red, Shark Gray, Carbon Flash, Yellow, Hyper Green or Volcano Orange, while the center stripe can be had in Arctic White, Shark Gray, Laguna Blue, Torch Red or Carbon Flash.