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2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport - First Drive Review

JBsC5

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2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport - First Drive Review

Splitting the difference between the standard Vette and the Z06.

BY DAVE VANDERWERP
August 2009



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Two seconds—that’s the most important figure to know when you’re considering the credentials of the new, 2010 Corvette Grand Sport. Those two ticks represent how much quicker the latest track-fortified Vette is around the hairy, 2.9-mile road course at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds than was last year’s model with the Z51 handling package. That’s a huge gain, one that bites off more than half of the Z06’s time advantage over the base Vette, and should convince skeptics that this is more than just a scheme to charge an additional four grand for the Corvette’s latest track pack.
More of a Good Thing
Replacing the previous (and highly recommended) Z51 package, which added larger wheels and tires, a stiffer suspension, bigger brakes, and shorter gearing to the base Corvette coupe or convertible, the Grand Sport shares a name with limited-edition models from 1963 and 1996, but is a new model line and not a low-volume special. In fact, Chevy is predicting that nearly 50 percent of Corvette sales going forward will be Grand Sports, citing claims that its customers were clamoring for more Z06-ness, but without that 505-hp beast’s coupe-only and manual-transmission-only limitations. That’s why, as with the Z51 package, the Grand Sport, which starts at $55,720, or $5840 more than a base Corvette, is offered as a convertible or targa-topped coupe, and with a manual or automatic. An available Heritage package brings the iconic Grand Sport front-fender hashes as well as two-tone seats.
As for the mechanicals, the Grand Sport keeps the base car’s 430-hp LS3 V-8 (436 hp with the optional exhaust) and steel frame, but gets lots of Z06 bits, including its much larger tires (275/35-18s in front and 325/30-19s in back), wider track, cross-drilled brake rotors (14.0-inch fronts and 13.4-inch rears), and visual add-ons (front air inlet, bulging fenders, and rear brake-cooling ducts) that go more than skin deep, as they reduce aerodynamic lift by half. And although drag is increased, there’s no penalty to fuel economy, which remains an impressive 16/26 city/highway mpg for the coupe, 15/25 for the convertible. The only thing the Corvette really needs now is a remedy for its cheap-looking interior plastics; the available, beyond-fake carbon-fiber-wannabe surround for the center stack is particularly egregious. The cabin needs a breakthrough on par with the ones seen in the second-gen Cadillac CTS or the 2010 Buick LaCrosse.
Specifications


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 3-door targa or 2-door roadster

BASE PRICE: coupe, $55,720; roadster $59,530

ENGINE TYPE: pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

Displacement: 376 cu in, 6162cc
Power (SAE net): 430–436 bhp @ 5900 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 424–428 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 105.7 in Length: 175.6 in Width: 75.9 in Height: 48.7 in Curb weight (C/D est): 3350 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0–4.2 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 12.4–12.6 sec FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city/highway driving: 15–16/25–26 mpg


Ready for Launch
The best Grand Sport value is the manual-transmission coupe, which gets a differential cooler and the dry-sump oiling system that’s shared with the Z06 and ZR1 and nearly doubles capacity, to 10.5 quarts. An additional benefit is that the dual oil pump and longer crankshaft used in conjunction with the dry-sump setup means that those particular LS3 engines are hand-built alongside the LS7 and LS9 from the Z06 and ZR1.
Another welcome addition on all 2010 manual-transmission Vettes (including Z06 and ZR1) is launch control. Simply put the car into “Competition Mode” by clicking the stability/traction-control button twice and it’s armed. Push in the clutch and mat the throttle, and the revs rise to roughly 4500 rpm—the precise engine speed depends on the ambient temperature, among other things. Dump the clutch and the system ascertains the available grip by the viciousness of the initial wheelspin and then precisely modulates the torque sent to the wheels by adjusting the fuel and spark delivery 100 times per second while keeping the throttle wide open. Although the excess wheelspin used to calibrate the launch means the system’s times aren’t quite as good as those possible by the best drivers, it’s within a tenth of a second or so and is extremely consistent.
The Right Balance
Weight is up about 40 pounds to just over 3300, roughly 100 pounds more than the Z06, and straight-line performance isn’t predicted to improve over the Z51’s 4.0-second 0-to-60-mph time, but we plan on a skidpad figure of at least 1.00 g when we get our hands on one for instrumented testing. Unfortunately, the lack of lateral support from the same flimsy seats that we’ve long complained about is still a big issue. The shift effort in manual cars still tends toward manly, but the broad torque is addicting, as is the roar that turns into a ripping snarl when the flaps open on the optional exhaust. This is truly a car that can easily withstand serious track time as-is, which is impressive considering that the base Corvette’s forgiving ride isn’t sacrificed. Whereas pushing a Z06 always seems dangerous, the Grand Sport feels far less suicidal; the burlier Vette’s larger tires and instantly responding, slop-free brakes seem to suit this new model perfectly. But don’t think we’ve gone soft; there’s still plenty of power to break the rear tires loose and ruin your day. Aside from the $109,130 ZR1, this is our new favorite Corvette on the track.
 

JBsC5

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Another review .....


Corvette Grand Sport fills gap in price, performance

Scott Burgess / The Detroit News

Milford -- There's now a new 'Vette in the mix.
For the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette lineup, General Motors Co. has added a Grand Sport model to fill the price and performance gap between its base model Corvette and the high performance Z06. At the top of the Corvette food chain, of course, is the ZR1.
"We felt there was a need for something in between the base model Corvette and the Z06," said Tage Juechter, chief engineer for Corvette. "Some people want a little more performance but don't want to spend over $70,000 for the Z06."
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Corvette remains the market leader in the luxury sport segment, holding a 28 percent share through July, despite having seen sales fall 49 percent during the first seven months.
"It's a nice addition to the Corvette lineup," said Stephanie Brinley, a Southfield-based analyst for the automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific. She noted the Grand Sport borrows high performance parts found in the Z06 and ZR1 but doesn't take away from those vehicles.
The wide body Grand Sport (it's about 40 mm wider than the base model) provides an open air upgrade to the base model version. Pricing starts at $55,720, about $6,000 more than the base model 'Vette.
Its look is based on the Grand Sport Corvettes released in 1963 and in 1996. It will have a more aggressive look than the base model but not as severe as the Z06. The Grand Sport replaces the Z51 performance package previously offered.
The tell-tale signs of the Grand Sport model are the optional two front fender hash marks, reminiscent of the 1996 Grand Sport models. The front fenders also include more severe slots behind the front wheels, and the back end of the car is slightly wider.
Juecter said that new Grand Sport is not simply a cosmetic makeover. The car boasts a zero-to-60 mph time of under four seconds and comes with high performance features, such as a dry sump oil pump for those who want to spend time on the track.
It also comes with Goodyear F1 supercar tires, a more aggressive suspension and a removable roof in the hardtop models. The roof pops off and can be stowed in the back in less than 30 seconds.
Corvette adds new features

While its performance has increased, its ride is less severe than the Z06. Additionally, the Grand Sport model will offer a six-speed automatic transmission. The Z06 only comes with a manual.
GM said about half of Corvette customers opt for an automatic transmission.
Harlan Charles, Corvette marketing manager, said GM has a number of new features for the family of legendary sports cars.
"All 2010 models will be available in all colors and we're adding Torch Red to the mix," he said.
Additionally, GM has developed launch control for its manual models, allowing a driver to improve his start times and become much more consistent. Typically, to have a fast launch, a driver must shut off traction control and attempt to balance the car's RPM with wheel spin. It's a difficult task that even the best drivers cannot master every time.
This launch control balances the car's engine revs and traction to provide a more fluid acceleration.
In a quick trial of the launch control on the ZR1, I was able to consistently hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds (my best time was 3.68 seconds) with the system. When I turned it out, my times varied between 5.5 seconds and 3.83 seconds.
The ZR1 will also offer Performance Traction Management Technology, creating a programmable set of features to provide better performance on a track. The system integrates the car's selective ride, traction control and active handling systems into five settings that can improve the car's already high performance.
"This is a good time in the Corvette's life to add to it," Brinley said. "The Corvette has grown into a great vehicle that has a good balance between performance and daily usability."
 

Edmond

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Aug 1, 2001
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5,218
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Corvette
2003 Z06
The new GS seems to be pretty cool. Still out of my price range but reading about it is free!:L

I'm looking into a '07-'09 Z51 myself. Might wait until Christmas time or so for that to happen.:D
 

JBsC5

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Joined
Nov 28, 2001
Messages
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Location
Northern NJ
The new GS seems to be pretty cool. Still out of my price range but reading about it is free!:L

I'm looking into a '07-'09 Z51 myself. Might wait until Christmas time or so for that to happen.:D

Pricing on preowned C6 Z51's are excellent. Its an awesome vehicle too!!

Best of luck and enjoy the anticipation of your new vette

JB
 

Edmond

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Joined
Aug 1, 2001
Messages
5,218
Location
Louisiana
Corvette
2003 Z06
Most of the ones that I've seen, the sellers still want $36k+.

I specifically am looking for:

C6 '07-'09, Z51, 3LT, comp wheels. I don't really care for NPP or Nav. Seems most have NPP, Nav is probably half and half.

I read about folks spending <$35k for what I'm looking for but I haven't seen it yet.

I'll likely wait it out until Christmas time or so to make a move. Maybe the winter will drop the price a little bit.
 

catbert

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Aug 26, 2004
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Location
Tobacco Road, NC
Want a bargain - buy in January, preferably during a period of cold, snowy weather.
 

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