Chevrolet Corvette

With the addition of the Grand Sport model this year, there are several Corvettes to choose from. The Corvette coupe and convertible have a 6.2-liter, 430-hp V8 engine, known as the LS3, and a standard 6-speed manual transmission, though a 6-speed paddle-shift automatic is an option. The paddle shifter has been revised to include a "push and hold" function to make it easier to transition back to automatic after you've had your fun through the chicanes.

The sport-tuned Z06 has the larger LS7 engine, a 7-liter powerplant that makes 505 hp and is connected to a 6-speed manual only. This combination is capable of 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds -- in first gear. The body is lightened by using an aluminum structure with bonded carbon fiber composites. It features a firmer suspension; red, 6-piston brake calipers; and 18-inch front and 19-inch rear aluminum wheels.

The ZR1 turns up the heat with the LS9 6.2-liter engine and Tremec 6-speed manual transmission, plus a new Performance Traction Management system for improved on-track performance. With 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque, the ZR1's top speed has been tested at over 200 mph, making it the fastest production Corvette ever. It's built on the same chassis as the Z06, but with a specially tuned suspension and Michelin performance tires exclusive to the ZR1.

The new Grand Sport coupe and convertible share the LS3 engine with the base model coupe and convertible, and it can be had with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. As a replacement for the previous Z51 performance package, the Grand Sport comes standard with wider wheels and tires, a revised suspension, extra cooling, larger brakes and specific manual gear ratios.

All Corvettes come with standard air conditioning, keyless entry, a stereo system with MP3 playback, cruise control, power everything, dual-zone climate control, leather seating and steering-wheel mounted audio controls. Chevrolet provides its flagship sports car with plenty of standard safety features, too, like ABS, driver and passenger air bags, TPMS, traction control, and a limited-slip differential.

The Corvette is a purpose-built driving vehicle, and as such, Chevrolet doesn't offer a wide array of optional equipment. Packages include heated seats, a Bose sound system, a navigation system and Bluetooth. A custom leather-wrapped interior package adds 2-tone leather with crossed flags embroidered in the headrests and leather on the console, instrument panel, and door panels. And you can prove you live in the twenty-first century with the available dot-matrix head-up display that shows speed, rpm, oil pressure and g-meter readings.

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Editors' First Take

More than its 3-second 0-to-60-mph time, its 1.0 G of cornering grip or the fact that, you know, its engine sits behind the cockpit, the craziest thing about Chevrolet's new C8 Corvette Stingray is that everything I just mentioned comes on a wildly styled sports car that costs $59,995 -- including the delivery fee. No other car offers so much performance for so little cash.

Real quick, though, I need to be honest: I kind of figured the $59,995 Corvette would be the car world's white whale. You know, the C8 that grabs headlines for its low MSRP even though the reviews all feature more generously specced 3LT Z51 models, like the nearly $87,000 example Andrew Krok just tested, the one Tim Stevens took to the track or the one Chris Paukert first drove last year. I assumed it'd be like the headline-grabbing-but-nowhere-to-be-found $35,000 Tesla Model 3. So, good on Chevy for calling my bluff and sending me the no-options, $59,995 Corvette seen here. Because now I can say it again, and this time with feeling: No other car offers so much performance for so little cash.

The base Corvette 1LT has the same 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 as every other Stingray, with 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Working through an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission, the rear-wheel-drive Corvette will accelerate to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat, and do so without any overdramatic or skittish tendencies. Even on its stock all-season tires, the wide, 305/30-section rear rubbers simply claw into the pavement and shoot the Stingray forward.

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