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Corvette Grand Sport Convertible
3/10

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Road Test

Corvette C6 Grand Sport convertible

Driven May 2012

Additional Info

As card-carrying members of the Real Cars for Real Men Driving Club (free back-wig with every membership!), we should champion the Corvette Grand Sport convertible. We should accept its lack of (a) technology, (b) a steering wheel on the correct side and (c) an even vaguely acceptable interior as proof of a commendable refusal to pander to the whims of mollycoddled 21st-century softies.

But truth is, in the midst of a British winter, a left-hand drive, rear-drive V8 convertible is, as our stateside cousins would have it, a pain in the fanny.

The Grand Sport is, essentially, a meatier version of the basic Corvette C6, bringing it, in both focus and appearance, closer to the hotter Z06 - but somehow without the handling nous that that model unquestionably has. Weird.

Retaining the C6's 431bhp V8 but with the Z06's lower ride height and beefed-up suspension, it at least rides with more composure than Corvettes of old, but this is a crude thing by modern standards.

Sitting on wider tracks and wearing tyres the breadth of dinner platters, the Grand Sport's steering chases every fissure and puddle, always threatening to spit you backwards and give you a nice, shiny, new Armco bow tie, just for kicks. Factor in a front splitter that'll chin-butt even the trimmest of sleeping policemen, and the Grand Sport starts to look like more hassle than it's worth.

Back in the old days, before the sterling's Zimbabwean-dollar devaluation, you could justify a Corvette on price grounds. But the Grand Sport costs over £73,000, which is a lot of cash for swathes of pound-shop-grade plastics and a satnav system that makes Pong look cutting-edge.

But then, but then. Get one dry, clear day, drop the roof, find a few miles of clear road, wind that V8 all the way out and trust the Grand Sport won't kill you. Then, for an instant or two, amid the churning of 6,162 cubic centimetres of naturally aspirated goodness, the brawny 'Vette clicks into place: a big-screen blockbuster from an era when men were men and crashes were fatal. If you can handle the discomfort for those 10 minutes of Eighties entertainment, knock yourself out. Otherwise, that 911 Cabrio looks mighty tempting...

Sam Philip

The numbers
6162cc, V8, RWD, 431bhp, 428lb ft, 22.4mpg, 293g/km CO2, 0-62 in 4.5secs, 186mph, 1519kg

The verdict
Do you really, really want a Corvette? Then we'd advise you save up for the £84,000 Z06. Or, even better, buy a Something Else. 911, Jag XK, Nissan GT-R...

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