2009 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Chevrolet evolves the Corvette for the 2009 model year, adding features like Bluetooth for in-cabin cell phone support. The performance remains as good as ever, relying on well-tuned handling and a powerful engine.

Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Wide stance

Wide and low, the tops of the front fenders are clearly visible from the driver's seat. As opposed to previous Corvette generations with flip-up headlights, this generation integrates its headlights into the fenders.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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LS3 engine

As a base model, the Corvette Convertible gets the LS3 engine, displacing 6.2-liters and putting out 430 horsepower.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Magnetic suspension

Our Corvette came with a magnetic-suspension system, which adjusts the ride depending on driver demands and road conditions. Electromagnets cause the shocks to stiffen up during aggressive driving.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Power top

Although the base-model Corvette Convertible has a manual top, our car was fitted out with a power top.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Sound dampening

The soft top means extra road noise in the car, although Chevrolet tries to minimize the sound with damping materials.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Dual exhaust

This car also has an optional dual-exhaust system, which Chevrolet says makes a more aggressive sound and adds six horsepower to the engine output.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Trunk

The trunk lid is a small panel over the back, nicely integrated with the car's design, and covering a small space that's barely suitable for luggage.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Cabin materials

The interior is covered in thin, stitched leather and a fake carbon-fiber console. These are budget luxury materials.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Handling

The steering wheel gets the front tires pointing in the right direction, but the gas pedal is where most of the handling comes from. Put pressure on the gas in a turn, and the car flattens out and goes where you want it to.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Automatic transmission

This car is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, limiting its sport driving potential but also making it easily drivable in a multitude of typical traffic conditions.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Paddle shifter

Put the shifter into Sport mode, and the paddle shifters become active. Pull for downshifts and push for upshifts.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Engine speed

The Corvette had no trouble cruising at 70 mph in second gear, with the tachometer pushing over 5,000rpm. Likewise, it can crawl at 20 mph in fifth gear, saving gas as the engine runs at around 1,000rpm.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Disc changer

The six-disc changer is built into the dash, and can read burned CDs full of MP3s. The interface isn't great, but it works.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Head-up display

In street mode, the head-up display just shows car and engine speed.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Track mode

Two track modes are available on the head-up display, showing things like g-forces and oil temperature.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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