911 versus the new Corvette Stingray
Has the American come of age, or will Germany reign supreme? Tom Ford finds out...
Posted: 07 Apr 2014
It's worth pointing out that we pottered up here in a gentle fashion, manual gearboxes slotted into respective seventh gears, engines and attitudes muted. Both swallowed plenty of luggage - the Corvette beneath its generous hatch, the 911 under its almost equally capacious nose, with a couple of extra bags lobbed into the 911's tiny rear seats. Pretty much all square for the most part, then. The immediate surprise is that, if anything, the Corvette is the better cruiser of the two, adjustable damping set to supple and engine set to Eco, the better to take advantage of cylinder shut-down tech at a constant cruise that limits the engine to just four cylinders - effectively becoming a V4 - that yielded a scarcely believable 34.3mpg from the 6.2 V8. Helped, no doubt, by 1,400rpm at 70mph in seventh. The 911 was, if anything, a touch harder-riding, slightly less cosseting, and using various Porsche engine management systems to provide just over 30mpg from its 3.8-litre flat-six.
Yes, the Stingray feels a bit less natural, being LHD only and feeling very cab-rearward - you stare out over a big expanse of bonnet - but once you've spent a little time in it (say, five hours on the M6) you soon get used to the fact that it's to all intents and purposes not any physically bigger than the 911. Both have rather good satnavs and stereos, useful storage and comfy seats for a haul, and their interior appointments reflect their external appearances: the Porsche is sober and aesthetic, ergonomically brilliant and strangely comforting. The Corvette wraps its carbon and red leather dash around you, points lots of dials and HUD information into your face and feels a lot more exciting, if a lot busier and not quite as nicely finished as the 911.