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2017 Chevrolet Corvette Overview
Typically, the most interesting previews here at CarGurus are those that cover the advent of a new model generation...but the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray may well break that rule. Everyone knows about the Corvette, and what it means to American car culture. One long-awaited trim has already been confirmed for 2017, and every automotive site is at a fever pitch of speculation over another huge possibility for Chevy's premier sports car.
The 2017 Corvette will represent the third year of the model's seventh generation. Chevrolet adheres to a specific rollout program for its performance models: first, the fans get an all-new base trim. A convertible arrives later in the model year, and then, a year later, Chevy introduces a new hopped-up trim with a bigger engine and more capable chassis, brakes, and suspension--in this case, the 2016 Z06. And after all that, Chevrolet usually introduces a new trim that takes the Corvette even further (if not as far as the Z06 took it this time around). For 2017, that trim is the Corvette Stingray Grand Sport. The added buzz among fan sites concerns the possibility that Chevy may finally introduce a new super-Corvette with a midengine design and call it the ZR1 Zora.
The 2017 Corvette Stingray will start in the neighborhood of $59,000, pricing into the mid-$60k range with options. The entry-level Corvette is already more capable than most ten-year-old supercars, or even most cars on the road today other than a handful of exotic cars that are more likely to be seen on a poster than on the street. The Stingray has an aluminum frame and non-metallic composite-plastic body, keeping its weight down. Add in a 460-hp V8 pushrod engine mounted low in the chassis and behind the front wheels, and the result is a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds. Unlike Corvettes of the old days, the seventh-generation Corvette performs just as well stopping and turning as it does moving in a straight line. And unlike Corvettes of just a generation ago, mere mortals can wring a Corvette out on a racetrack, getting the car to perform near its peak capabilities. The big news for the redesigned 2014 model was a more predictable cornering ability that, if somewhat subtle, was nevertheless a very important change for many drivers.
The 2017 Corvette Stingray will be available with either a 7-speed manual transmission (not a typo) with automatic rev-matching on downshifts or an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. For those that want an old-school manual-shifting experience, the auto rev-matching function can be turned off to allow for heel-toe driving. Five driving modes adjust up to 12 separate parameters, adding even more driving appeal.
Notable equipment on the 2017 Corvette Stingray includes an available performance data recorder, which allows the driver to record track results for later review and comparison. It also includes a valet mode to reduce the risk of a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” scenario, where the valet takes flight in your Corvette (actually, it just records that your Corvette was taken, so you can argue for free meals). Either way, it's cool. The Corvette Stingray will also offer brakes and summer-only performance tires. An available Z51 Performance Package ups the ante a bit in the suspension and brake departments.
The 2017 Z06 Corvette is a different animal from the Stingray, built on a wider frame with different construction and sporting a supercharged V8 engine with 650 hp. That 190-hp advantage over the base Corvette enables the Z06 to sprint to sixty in under three seconds. This Corvette is a supercar by any reasonable standards, except those of price: the 2017 Corvette Z06 will be priced from about $80K and run higher depending on options, which include carbon ceramic brake rotors (the Z06 tends toward serious track enthusiasts).
The new 2017 trim is the Corvette Grand Sport. The Grand Sport has a long list of added features that make it much faster on a track, and its only available engine is a normally aspirated (not supercharged) V8. The Grand Sport essentially bridges the gap between the Corvette Stingray and Z06; expect prices for it to start midway between $60 and $70k.
The arrival of a midengine Corvette (with the engine located behind the driver) is something we can only speculate on at this time, but our guess is it will not come as expected. GM may add a new vehicle with a new layout, but adapting the current Corvette's front-midengine design would be too difficult. We hope, however, to be proven wrong.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. In the early 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric race car from scratch. In addition to his work at CarGurus, John covers automotive news at Torque News and GM-trucks.com and is a contributor to CarTalk and BestRide. Aside from all things automotive, John loves fishing and hockey, preferably in the company of his two boys.
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