By Mike Hanley on April 28, 2009
The Corvette lineup gains a new Grand Sport model for 2010 that's distinguished by special exterior styling and a stiffer suspension. Last offered for the 1996 model year, the new Grand Sport will be available as a coupe or convertible. Grand Sport models hit dealerships in September. Pricing information hasn't been announced.
The Grand Sport model uses the same 430-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 engine as the base Corvette, and is likewise available with a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. Like the regular Corvette, an optional exhaust system bumps engine output to 436 hp.
Manual-transmission Grand Sport coupes have a dry-sump oil system and a differential cooler, and the transmission itself features shorter gearing. Automatic models have a shorter final-drive ratio, and the changes lower both models' zero-to-60-mph times by 0.2 seconds, according to Chevrolet, which puts them around 4 seconds.
The Grand Sport's special five-spoke alloy wheels measure 18 inches in front and 19 inches in back; the front wheels are 1-inch wider than the base Corvette’s while the rear ones are 2-inches wider. The shocks, springs and stabilizer bars have also been modified, and Chevrolet claims it can pull 1.0 g when cornering.
Unlike the '96 Grand Sport, which was only offered in bright blue with a white racing stripe, the 2010 Grand Sport will be offered in all of the colors available for the base Corvette. Hash marks on the front fenders are optional, and available in four colors. The front and rear fenders are also larger, and the front fenders feature three vents behind the front wheels and a Grand Sport badge.
The Corvette has long been the foundation for special-edition cars, whether anniversary models or pace car replicas. The Grand Sport continues the tradition with meaningful mechanical changes as well as styling revisions that, thankfully, aren't over-the-top.
Senior Editor Mike Hanley is a father of three boys; he reviews new cars, admires classic cars and has embraced the minivan lifestyle. Email Mike