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  • 2018 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Review and Test Drive

    2018 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Review and Test Drive

    Toss that mega-bottle of Vitamin E into the trash, along with the strange anti-aging cream that makes you glow in the dark.

    Put away your Medicare card, too, and especially those hideous soft-sole brown shoes you bought at Wal-Mart on Senior’s Day.

    Get this: I found the fountain of youth recently and I guarantee it will noisily wash away a decade or so of lines and lumps.

    Actually, I discovered the 2018 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport – a sinister, razor-cut, fire-belcher that may be as effective at restoring long-lost youth as one of Keith Richards’ full-body blood transfusions.

    I want another ride, doc.

    As you probably know, the Grand Sport is essentially a Sting Ray on a hellbent Z06 Corvette platform, wearing the wider Z06 body panels, bigger wheels and brakes, and the Z06’s track-hungry suspension.

    Rather than the Z’s screaming 650-horsepower V-8, though, the Grand Sport spits lightning with the standard 6.2-liter V-8 from the Sting Ray – and “only” 460 horsepower.

    It might be the best of both worlds if you seek the sort of handling that can shame a Porsche Cayman S.

    The Grand Sport is essentially a Sting Ray on a hellbent Z06 Corvette platform.

    When the 2016 Corvette arrived with its fresh Ferrari-inspired Sting Ray body, I marveled at the raw edginess of the new styling.

    After six months or so, for reasons mostly lost on me, I got kind of tired of the car’s excess and exaggeration, and began to wonder if a La-Z-Boy recliner might be in my immediate future.

    Then my silver Grand Sport arrived and I could smell the tequila again.

    As in all new ‘Vettes, huge flush-mounted headlamps and a black horizontal grille gave the Grand Sport some international flair, evoking a $400,000 Ferrari.

    Things got a little less restrained from there. A long, chiseled hood featured a power dome in the center as well as functional black heat louvers up front.

    Meanwhile, the Grand Sport’s tapered front fenders rose slightly above the hood, and a scallop in the car’s taut sides wore a silver-and-red Grand Sport emblem.

    A low, sweeping top -- pinched as it slid into the hatchback – mimicked the graceful lid on the ‘64 Corvette, while carbon-fiber aerodynamic pieces down low made the Grand Sport look track-tough.

    The most controversial panel on the new ‘Vette, that abrupt, truncated rear-end, even seemed relatively attractive.

    The most controversial panel on the new ‘Vette, that abrupt, truncated rear-end, even seemed relatively attractive – mostly because of the four-inch quad exhausts that bristled like cannons from the center.

    Just for good measure, the Corvette clung hard to the pavement with massive 285/30 tires up front on 19-inch black wheels and 335/25s on the rear on 20-inch wheels.

    Sadly, the ‘Vette’s bruising 6.2-liter V-8 was tied to an 8-speed automatic. Though the automatic is probably faster than the 7-speed manual, it’s just nowhere near as engaging or amusing.

    Still, a transmission won’t detract much from that magical small-block Chevy V-8, which fired off every morning with something that sounded like a prison riot in a thunderstorm.

    Gutsy muscle-car music, I called it – and with good reason. Although the salty V-8 had long throttle-travel, it jumped loudly with even slight prods.

    Pin the throttle to the floor and the Grand Sport would streak onto freeways like some bellowing felon on the run, hitting 60 mph in a scant 3.9 seconds, according to Car and Driver.

    Torque was everywhere, breaking the huge rear tires loose momentarily if you pushed too hard.

    One-hundred miles per hour takes another five seconds, so keep your license handy, but that is only part of the story.

    The Grand Sport could turn into corners so flatly and aggressively I thought I might be ejected – even with my seatbelt cinched down.

    Moreover, its steering was go-kart quick, conveying more road feel than any BMW I have driven in the last three years.

    The price for all that prowess was an intense ride in sport mode that transmitted lots of movement into the cabin and could get downright rough on bad pavement.

    In addition, Chevron and Exxon will be glad to see you coming. The Grand Sport is rated at a modest 15 miles per gallon in town and 25 on the highway.

    However, the Grand Sport did feature one of the best interiors I’ve seen in a ‘Vette – maybe even living up to expectations from its breath-taking $92,000 window-sticker.

    Mine flashed lots of retro cues with its red-and-black scheme, including a tight cockpit-style layout with a smooth black upper dashboard that swooped down onto a lipstick-red mid-dash.

    A large tachometer mounted in the center of the instrument panel left no doubts about the car’s priorities, while red leather seats with grippy black suede centers kept me more or less planted inside.

    The Grand Sport did feature one of the best interiors I’ve seen in a ‘Vette.

    Likewise, the door panels offered smooth black surfaces with lipstick-red centers.

    I can’t imagine why anyone in a Grand Sport would care about “connectivity,” but if that stuff spins your whirligig, the ‘Vette has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, as well as a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

    Just give me an open stretch of road instead.

    In fact, if any Chevy dealers out there might be interested in trading a Grand Sport even for my 2013 Boss 302 Mustang, let’s talk.

    Look for the smiling geezer with a spring in his step.


    2018 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

    • What I liked most: The Grand Sport’s lusty, thundering 460-horsepower V-8.
    • What I would change: Maybe the ride stiffness, but that’s mostly niggling.
    • MSRP: Base price, $85,485; as equipped, $92,035.
    • Fuel economy: Rated at 15 mpg in the city, 25 on the highway and 18 combined, with filler on the left.
    • Official color: Blade Silver Metallic.
    • Odometer reading when tested: 585 miles.
    • Weight: 3,483 pounds.
    • Length-width-height: 176.9 inches long/77.4 inches wide/48.6 inches tall.
    • Fuel-tank capacity: 18.5 gallons.
    • Towing capacity: Not available.
    • Spare tire: None.
    • 2018 Corvette Grand Sport in a few words: Absolute proof that Detroit can still build magical cars.
    • Warranty: Three-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty and five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain.
    • Final assembly location: Bowling Green, Kentucky.
    • Manufacturer’s website: Chevrolet
    • E-mail me at terry@carprousa.com