2011 Chevrolet Corvette GS Convertible Review - VIDEO ENHANCED


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2011 Chevrolet Corvette GS Convertible

SEE ALSO: Chevrolet Corvette Specs, Comparisons, Prices and Reviews - Chevrolet Buyers Guide

THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG


SPECIFICATIONS

Model: 2011 Chevrolet Corvette GS (Grand Sport) Convertible
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 436 hp @ 5,900 rpm/428 lb.-ft.@4,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 105.7 in.
Length/Width/Height: 175.6 x 75.9 x 48.7 in.
Tires: P275/35ZR18 (F)/P325/30ZR19(R)
Cargo volume: 7.5/11 cu. ft. (top down/up)
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/26 mpg highway/15.0 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.0 gal.
Curb weight: 3,289 lbs.
Sticker: $74,235 (includes $950 destination charge, $14,685 in options ($9,700 for 4LT Premium Equipment Group)

My Top 5 Reasons to Buy This Car

1. Excellent performance
2. Best looking Vette ever
3. Docile when it needs to be
4. Excellent handling
5. Comfort

The Bottom Line: the Corvette has been Chevrolet's iconic nameplate and vehicle for a long time. The 2011 Grand Sport retains all the panache of the older Vettes, along with killer styling, great performance, and a package that is surprisingly docile when you're just tooling around town.

To be totally honest, I have been disappointed with Corvette styling in recent years. To my eye, the rear end is too big in proportion to the rest of the vehicle and I've never been a fan of concealed headlights.

That said, I also admit that I'm a fan of the new Vette, with its projector headlights located in the fenders and a rear end that appears smaller than in recent years. Our tester was also blessed with a fantastic "Supersonic Blue" paint color that made it look less menacing and friendlier.

It's good that the color made the Vette look friendlier, because that's what the car is. Oh sure, you can mash down on the loud pedal and accelerate until your eyes pop out of the back of your head. There aren't many places where all that performance can be put to good use, but accelerating up to the speed limit (and slightly beyond) was worth it.

It is in normal everyday driving that the Vetter shows its mettle. Here is a top performance car that is totally docile tooling down Main Street at a legal speed without making a ton of noise. Just to be a good Corvette patron, though, we did let out the ponies, even on Main Street, just to remind people what we were driving.

We have a neighbor who's constantly bragging about his jet black Corvette Coupe. It's nice, but I liked the blue, and the fact that we were driving a convertible. The Vette is a rag top, true convertible. However, I "assumed" that it was a manual top. I unlatched the latch at the center of the windshield, raised up the back of the top and searched and searched for the magic button to release the tonneau that covers the top when it's down. Eventually, I went to Scott Chevrolet and asked Robert Cohen, who showed me the magic button that was concealed by the steering wheel. It does all the work once you unlatch the top.

Once we figured out how to lower it, the top was almost never up.

It's performance that's the name of the game with Corvette. As I said, acceleration is awesome. Handling is also excellent. At the lower edge of the heads up display is a g-meter that shows how hard you're cornering. Unfortunately, I was too busy making the turns to check the meter, but one time when I did see it I was pulling .6 g. And that was in a normal left turn. Imagine what it could do on a nice winding road.

The HUD also has a tachometer, digital speedometer and water temperature gauges. The Corvette has full analog instrumentation with white-on-black lettering and numbering with red pointers.

We had a 6-speed manual transmission that was tight and fun to shift. There was the annoying first-to-fourth lockout if you didn't accelerate too hard, but we defeated it by shifting hard. There were times when it was hard to find reverse, which is located up and to the right of fifth, but I'm sure that with practice it becomes easier.

There's an excellent audio system, but the screen readouts have their priorities wrong. It shows the presets and a clock, with very little space for the song being played.

The pushbutton start/stop is confusing at first. You push different parts of the switch to start of stop.

There's great visibility in the Vette, with the top up or down. Naturally, it's better with the top down. there are also two ways to get out of the car, although for the life of me I can't figure out why. There's a pushbutton on the door and a lever on the floor.

I am a fool, but I'd be a bigger one if I said I didn't enjoy my time in the Corvette. What a wonderful car to drive and play with. I can't wait until Chevrolet comes out with a new iteration and I can play with it again.

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