I’m still somewhat amazed that the Corvette made it through the recent General Motors bankruptcy to continue as a part of the Chevrolet product line.
After all, it certainly doesn’t meet the new criteria for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. But, survive it did and next year Corvette will mark 58 years of production to continue the claim to being “America’s sports car.”
The 2011 Corvette model year sees the same product lineup, one that includes the base coupe and convertible, the rejuvenated Grand Sport and the Z06 and ZR1 performance models.
The base Corvette and the Grand Sport models are powered by the LS3 V-8, while the racing-inspired Z06 is equipped with the 505-hp LS7 engine and built on a lightweight chassis. The ZR1 gets a unique supercharged LS9 6.2-liter engine and is the fastest, most powerful car ever offered by Chevrolet.
The 6.2-liter LS3 small-block V-8 engine in Corvette and Grand Sport models is rated at 430 hp and develops 424 pounds-feet of torque with the standard exhaust system. An optional dual-mode exhaust system brings the power to 436 horses and 428 pounds-feet of torque. A standard six-speed manual transmission and an optional six-speed paddle-shift automatic are offered.
The Grand Sport was a runaway hit in its debut last year, accounting for almost half of all coupe sales and 70 percent of convertibles. The Grand Sport returns for 2011 with Magnetic Ride Control as an option that includes Goodyear F1 Supercar Gen 2 tires when the car is equipped with a manual transmission. The Grand Sport has wide-body styling that gives it wider fenders, a wider track, wider wheels and tires. It has revised shocks, stabilizer bar and springs, and specific gearing to deliver better handling, and it clocks 0-60 in a head-snapping four seconds.
A launch control system is standard on models equipped with a manual transmission to optimize performance for full-throttle starts on a racetrack. In the competitive mode, the system will hold a predetermined engine speed while the driver puts the pedal to the floor, allowing a quick clutch release. The system modulates engine torque 100 times per second to maximize traction.
Corvette models offer two suspension choices that allow you to choose the setup that best suits your driving style. The standard suspension is tuned for a balance of ride comfort and precise handling. The optional Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension features magneto-rheological dampers that can detect road surfaces and adjust the damping rates to those surfaces almost instantly for optimal ride control.
The Corvette interior is inspired by the car’s dual-cockpit heritage. The instrument panel and doors are covered with cast-skin foam-in-place trim that looks like a leather panel.
Pricing on the 2011 Corvette starts at $49,900.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.