I want to admit this to you right off the bat; I’ve never been much of a Corvette fan. I always thought the C1s were cool, and the C2s were kind of bad ass but the rest of the lineup does nothing for me. That is until I drove my first Corvette two years ago – it was a 2008 Z06 and it was excellent. About as much fun as the wilder Dodge Viper but it wasn’t actively trying to kill me like the Chrysler. The noise, power and acceleration are things I expected to be there but they all arrived with a greater tone, force, and speed. I didn’t expect the car to be comfortable but it was quite accommodating for my US-bred bottom. That Z06 was an eye-opener.
For 2010, Chevrolet has taken their base Corvette and added a few of the go-fast bits from the Z06 to create an attractively entertaining package. Slap an iconic name from the Corvette’s racing past on to the vehicle and we have the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport.
Under the hood is the same 6.2L LS3 V8 engine found in the base Corvette which produces 430 hp (or like this particular car, 436 hp thanks to the optional Dual-Mode Performance exhaust), but the heart of the Grand Sport appeal lies in the features it shares with its more powerful Z06 older brother. The aerodynamic features, such as the larger rear fenders and the front air intake, work to keep the car more firmly planted. The tires are sports-car large 275 18s up front and commercial-tractor large 325 19s out back. Under the wheels sit cross-drilled rotors, size 14 up front and 13.4 in the back. The wheel-tire combo and the upgraded aero features keep you planted and moving quickly, but my confidence soars with a push of those massive stoppers.
The Grand Sport provides an experience which few so-called sports cars actually deliver. The ‘Vette is more focused and raw. It’s not a sporty car but a real sports car. We spend most of our time in cars that bore us while staring out the window as others pass by with smiles on their face. They are not smiling because of something they are thinking about at that time, they are smiling because they are driving a real sports car that reaches into their cheeks and spreads their face open. The Grand Sport is one of those cars.
The interior of the Corvette Grand Sport is similar to the Z06 I remember. The seats are very comfortable, but could use more support. This car has the optional heated seats, but the friction my jeans make from sliding around in fast corners warmed me up enough. The upgraded Bose audio system sounded nice but it’s nothing to get excited about if you are a real car audio system geek. The nice part about being in a two-passenger sports car is that all buttons and switches are within easy reach of the driver. This Grand Sport is no exception.
The Grand Sport has some nice feature but the one I really enjoy is the optional Heads-Up display. It hovers out in the ether, right in my field of vision. I can see my speed without glancing down, and in a car where your speed quickly goes from oh to oh s%*t, this is very important. The HUD joins a few other features to make up the optional $7,705 4LT option package. I love the HUD but I wish I could order it without springing for the entire 4LT.
The $54,770 Grand Sport Corvette occupies the spot above the $48,930 base Corvette. From there we have the $74,285 Z06 and finally the $106,880 ZR1 supercar. Considering the cars the ZR1 runs with, it’s a great deal but still listed as Unobtanium on the Periodic Table of Sports Cars. The Grand Sport is quicker than the base version (0-60 happens in about 4 seconds flat) but not quite as quick as the Z06 (3.7 seconds). Also, unlike the Z06, the Grand Sport can be had with either a removable targa roof panel or a full-blown convertible top. It is a solid addition to a fun lineup of sports cars.
The Grand Sports base price slots into the lineup perfectly, but the ‘Vette pictured here has a few options checked off giving it an as-tested price of $69,510. Thus my problem surfaces: especially when you can find slightly used Z06s (2008’s and 2009’s) for around $50,000 with low mileage. The Grand Sport offers an excellent upgrade over the base Corvette but perhaps it flies a little to close to the Z06 price wise. Some people prefer open-air motoring and the Grand Sport is a great choice for that. However, if I were given the choice between 15,000 miles on the odometer plus 505 hp or 0 miles plus 436 hp…well I would have to go with the PAH!