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2018 Chevrolet Corvette Overview
Since 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette has held a legendary place in American history. But big changes are on the horizon for the homegrown sports car: The upcoming eighth-generation (known as C8) Corvette has been widely rumored to feature a midengine design, and an insanely powerful ZR1—the C7’s last hurrah—will likely bow in January 2018 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
For now, the current front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD) C7 continues into 2018 largely unchanged, and Corvette aficionados will already know all the specs and build codes. However, the C7’s final year does bring a few minor tweaks and one special edition.
Available as a coupe or convertible, the Corvette comes in three trim levels: the base Stingray, the supercharged Z06, and—in between—the unique Grand Sport. For 2018, all Corvettes now get an upgraded head-up display and reversing camera, plus HD Radio and the option to add a performance data recorder. Appearance-wise, buyers can choose from a new Ceramic Matrix Gray exterior color, an optional Spice Red convertible top and/or interior, an optional all-black suede interior, and new red, yellow, or blue upholstery stitching.
The Stingray coupe starts at $56,490, while the convertible starts at $60,490. All Stingrays come with RWD and GM’s LT1 6.2-liter, direct-injection V8 engine, which is good for 455 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 rpm. A 7-speed manual transmission is standard, although an 8-speed paddle-shifted automatic is also available. Up front, you’ll get your choice of 19-inch wheels, while 20-inch wheels are standard in back. Fuel economy is estimated at 16 mpg city, 25 highway, 19 combined with the manual, or 15, 25, 18 with the automatic.
In base 1LT trim, the Stingray features a surprisingly well-appointed interior, which includes a 9-speaker Bose sound system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 2LT trim adds heated and ventilated seats with lumbar adjustments, plus a front camera. The 3LT trim adds upgraded leather upholstery, interior trim that’s wrapped in leather or microfiber, and a standard performance data recorder. Add the Z51 Performance Package and you’ll get an electronic limited-slip differential and a dry sump oil system. The front brakes, shocks, springs, and stabilizer bars are all beefed up, too—and a Z51-equipped Stingray with an automatic is good for 0-60 in 3.7 seconds.
Magnetic ride control and performance exhaust always cost extra, and it’s easy to push the Stingray’s price north of $80,000 if you start checking off options like Competition Sport Bucket Seats, upgraded wheels, and a spoiler.
While the Stingray makes a fine daily driver, Chevy says the Grand Sport ($66,490 as a coupe, $70,490 as a convertible) is designed for purists. A mix of Stingray simplicity and Z06 performance, its suspension is tuned for the track, and both magnetic ride control and an electronic limited-slip differential come standard. With wider rear fenders, a unique front splitter, and Grand Sport-specific racing stripes, it even looks more menacing than the Stingray. Chevrolet bumped the LT1’s horsepower up to 460, and the Grand Sport can do a quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds.
The Grand Sport comes in 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT trims, which—aside from a few Grand Sport-specific additions—mostly hew to the same options available in the Stingray. The Z07 Performance Package ($7,995) is available only on the Grand Sport and adds Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes and Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 performance tires for extra stopping power and grip, respectively.
Finally, there’s the Z06 ($80,490 for the coupe, $84,490 for the convertible). While it is certainly visually distinctive—it’s 56mm wider at the front and 80mm wider at the rear than the Stingray—the main difference between it and other Corvettes is its engine. The LT4 is a supercharged aluminum V8 good for 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, and it’s available only in the Z06. It’s enough to move the 3,350-pound car from 0-60 mph in just under 3 seconds. Fuel economy is 15 mpg city, 22 highway, 18 combined with the stick and 13, 23, 16 with the automatic.
Its 1LZ, 2LZ, and 3LZ trims are similar to the Grand Sport and Stingray’s LT trims, and the Z07 Performance Package is also available—as is a new gray interior. For increased downforce on the track, Z06 owners can order a carbon fiber ground effects package with a more aggressive spoiler, plus a carbon fiber splitter and rockers. A transparent roof panel or carbon fiber roof are optional on the coupe, and a carbon fiber hood insert is also available.
For 2018, Chevrolet celebrates the Corvette’s 65th anniversary with the Carbon 65 Edition—a limited run of 650 vehicles featuring carbon-fiber rear spoilers and quarter ducts. Available only on the Grand Sport 3LT and Z06 3LZ trims, it adds a unique Matrix Gray exterior (with a blue top on convertibles), black wheels with blue brake calipers, blue interior stitching and carbon fiber interior trim, and Competition Sport seats. The Carbon 65 package costs an additional $15,000.
A member of the New England Motor Press Association who has owned everything from a Town Car to a Prius, Keith has contributed automotive coverage to outlets including Wired, Car & Driver, and USA Today.
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