I always try to let our listeners and readers know when there is a chance I could be biased toward a particular car I am reviewing. Such is the case as I crawl behind the wheel of the iconic 2017 Grand Sport. I bought a new C7 Corvette in 2014, then upgraded in 2016 to the Z06 when it became available.
The Grand Sport was originally introduced in 1963 and has been a Corvette fan favorite for years. To put it in simple terms, the Grand Sport is essentially the same car as my Z06 without the supercharger.
As you raise the louvered hood of the Grand Sport, you find a 6.2-liter V8 driving 460-horses to the rear wheels.
You can get an 8-speed automatic transmission if you wish, but my review car has the 7-speed manual. My personal Corvette has the automatic, so this was a different driving dynamic for me. Besides the horses, the Grand Sport delivers 465 pound-feet of torque.
Handling is pretty amazing thanks primarily to magnetic ride control, and an electronic limited-slip differential. A front air splitter and fixed rear spoiler help keep the car low to the ground, but the tires on this beast are massive. Grand Sport comes with 19×10-inch tires in the front, and 20×12-inch on the rear. Like the Z06, the Grand Sport has wide body rear fenders to accommodate the huge rear tires. You will break those big rear tires loose under heavy acceleration, but once they dig in, this 3400-pound coupe will get you from 0-to-60 in just 3.8 seconds.
Unless you are a very small person, learning to get into a Corvette can be tricky.
Odds are good you will hit your head a few times before perfecting your personal method of getting in. For me, I go in head first, and then sit, that works best for me, unless the convertible top is down on my Z06, then it is easy. My Grand Sport tester is the coupe with a removable roof panel that stores easily behind the passenger seats.
Once you get yourself seated, you’ll notice a very nice, but somewhat tight interior. One thing you will notice is that once you get settled in with the seat adjusted just right, the Corvette is quite comfortable. The dash setup is terrific and very colorful and no matter what you want to do, it is an easy reach. A flat-bottom steering wheel with controls gives the driver extra lap room.
One knob you’ll want to get familiar with is the drive mode selector, located on the center console. This changes everything about how the Corvette drives and handles. You can choose from tour, weather, eco, sport, and my personal favorite, track mode. Track Mode is designed exclusively for track driving. Launch control provides maximum off-the-line acceleration. Steering effort and Magnetic Ride damping adjust to provide maximum responsiveness, Performance Traction Management is enabled and throttle progression optimizes for track performance.
Everything operates from an 8” color touchscreen that houses the Chevy MyLink system. You can operate the Bose stereo, Bluetooth, Apple Carplay or Android Auto, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and XM radio. Also from there, you can go through screens of apps including a lot of real-time information like traffic, weather, fuel prices, and more.
One really cool feature operated from the touchscreen is the Performance Data Recorder.
The system logs video of your driving sessions, along with real-time performance data, onto an SD memory card so you can analyze your technique and improve your driving abilities. Also, when someone else is driving the car, valet mode can capture video and data for additional peace of mind.
There are standard features galore, but options add up fast.
The Grand Sport comes with a ton of standard features included in the $65,450 base price, which will get you an amazing driving experience. Beware, however, from there the price starts to skyrocket if you load the vehicle with options. For instance, my review ‘Vette has almost $24,000 in options, which puts this car near the Z06 price, well equipped.
This one has the 3LT package which gives you a ton of options like heated and cooled seats, Napa leather seating, a heads-up display, front curb view camera (a must with this car), navigation system and a lot more.
This one also has the $7995 Z07 Ultimate Performance Package, which gives you ceramic Brembo brakes, PS cup tires, and the Z07 suspension system. Competition sport seats adds $2000, optional aluminum wheels are $1495, full-length racing stripes are $995, and this one has the Grand Sport Heritage Package which $795 but that gets you the front fender hash marks, which every Grand Sport owner will tell you is a must. There are a few other smaller options, like the red brake calipers, which adds $595. All in all, once you get destination charges from Bowling Green, Kentucky to your favorite dealer, the price tag on this loaded Grand Sport is $90,260.
Handling of a Corvette is unlike any other car available.
The exhaust sound is unmistakable and exhilarating, but you just have to experience it yourself. With the drive mode selections, the Corvette can be anything you want it to be.
If you care, fuel economy, if you drive it gingerly, (which you won’t) is 16-city and 25-highway.
One warning, like my Z06, the Grand Sport will not go through most automatic car washes.
I had one assure me it would go through, so I tried it on a particularly busy day. When I got to the entrance, with at least 20 cars behind me, we found out it would not go through. I had to drive it slowly through with both left tires on top of the tracks.
As I say on the radio show, a Corvette is not for everyone, and I personally would not want one as a daily driver, but it is an amazing weekend car that everyone should own at least once.
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