CARS.COM — The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette is one of those cars that looks like it’s in a hurry, whether it’s ripping down the highway or standing still. This is especially true about the Grand Sport version, with its aggressive body pieces including widened fenders, a front splitter, a rear diffuser and aggressive side skirts. It oozes speed and aggression.
If all of those functional aerodynamic body parts weren’t enough to grab the attention of passersby, my test Corvette Grand Sport came in Corvette Racing Yellow ($995) and added the Heritage Package ($795), which slaps on Carbon Flash fender graphics and a black racing stripe.
My test vehicle didn’t just look the part, it also came with the Z07 Ultimate Performance Package ($7,995), adding Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and an upgraded suspension (on top of standard magnetic ride control). Those massive tires (19 by 10 inches up front, 20 by 12 in the rear) help the Grand Sport to pull an incredible maximum lateral g-force of 1.2, significantly higher than the 1.05 Gs that the Grand Sport can do without this package.
Under the hood, the Grand Sport uses the Corvette’s “base” engine: a 460-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 465 pounds-feet of torque. A seven-speed manual transmission is standard, with an eight-speed automatic available. Thankfully, this one came with the former, although I’ve now driven both versions and they are both excellent. Manual models also come with a rev-matching feature, which blips the throttle for you during downshifts to match rpm. It feels magical and is one of those features that conspires to make you a better driver than you actually are.
Inside, there were also Competition sport seats ($2,495) with aggressive bolstering and carbon-fiber construction. This Grand Sport also included the 3LT equipment package ($9,745) which added heated and ventilated seats, a performance data recorder for taking video of laps at the track or a canyon run, head-up display and — what I appreciated the most — curb-view cameras in front to help keep all that bodywork intact.
Even though this is the coupe version of the Grand Sport, the roof panel can be lifted out to function as a pseudo convertible. There’s a set of mounts in the trunk to store the roof as well, so no need to clear a spot in the garage. And since it’s made of carbon fiber, the roof is light enough that it can be taken out and moved around by one person.
The Corvette Grand Sport is supposed to fill the gap between the Stingray and Z06 versions of the Corvette, starting at $66,445 (all prices include destination). But throw in more than $25,000 worth of options on this Grand Sport and the sticker gets bumped up to $91,655 — that’s a little bit more than $11,000 over the starting price of the Z06 ($80,445). At that price, it’s a tough sell for the Grand Sport since it bleeds into Z06 territory and the Z06 comes with a much more powerful engine: a 650-hp, supercharged 6.2-liter V-8.
But I found that in my time with the Corvette Grand Sport, that 460 hp is plenty, and the addition of the wider tires, ceramic brakes and suspension upgrades seriously ups the fun factor. The Corvette Grand Sport is a car I didn’t need a reason to drive, day or night. Pop the roof off, flip it into Sport or Track Mode to open up the exhaust, and you’ll hear eight cylinders worth of reasons right away.