New compound features ‘mechanical intelligence’ and adapts to suit the temperature
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£63,375 when new
There might not seem like many reasons to choose a fully convertible version of a car available as standard with a Targa roof. But the new soft-topped Corvette Stingray can do a pretty good job of convincing you otherwise. Designed at the same time as the coupe, so all the structural strengthening would be in the base car’s DNA, the rag-topped C7 demonstrates none of the wobble and flex of ‘Vettes past. Chevy claims it’s 57 per cent stiffer than the C6, which means it flexes less than even the carbon-tubbed McLaren MP4-12C Spider, apparently. So you don’t really lose any of the hard-topped car’s handling ability and, with the magnetic ride option installed, none of the glassy-smooth ride. The latchless roof takes a scant 20 seconds to install or remove itself at any speed up to 30mph, and looks neat and tidy, either up or down. The cabin is suitably muffled with it up (probably more so than in the coupe), and with it down, equally breezy but never brutally so. Plus you get to hear the quad exhaust’s V8 fanfare that much more clearly.
The boot size is now fixed too, so you can stash shopping or baggage, safe in the knowledge that it won’t be squashed into a pulp if you forget and put the roof down. It’s still a long way from anything you’d call big at 283 litres, but it’s sizeable enough for anything with this much speed and ability.
And it does have plenty of that. Weighing just 25kg more than the coupe, the cabrio still posts a 0-60mph time of 3.8secs and will charge convincingly to a max speed of 190mph. There is very little perceptible difference in the handling at most normal road speeds, but maybe, just maybe, slightly less precision when changing direction at high speed if the surface is less than perfect. So it all adds up to a pretty convincing package. All of the new C7’s ability combined with the opportunity to welcome in more of the scenery. It’s only a couple of grand more than the tin-topped car in the US, which makes it an easy choice. But in Europe, if it’s confirmed to join the coupe, the sticker price is likely to double, which will pit the car against Porsche 911 Cabriolets instead of Boxsters and the like. Though it’s a great shame, I can’t see more than a few people opting for the C7 convertible in that kind of company.
£51,400 – £111,630
Proof that Jaguar can build a Premier League sports car. Doesn't pip the 911, but gets close
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Nissan GT-R review: Nissan's finest hour, and quite possibly the fastest car in the world to drive cross-country
Practical and liveable, but also blooming good to drive. The 911 is *the* all-round sports car