Road & Track magazine has been testing Corvettes ever since the first one was built nearly 60 years ago.
But they may have outdone themselves with their current test of “every last single solitary new Corvette you can possibly buy. Or at least every version with a 6-speed manual and lots of options.”
Spoiler alert: All six of the test drivers chose the Z06 as their overall favorite, saying it was “the do-everything king.” They called it a “stunning achievement for Chevrolet to have built a sports car with this extreme level of performance – second to none in the world – that’s a near perfect track car and also such a pleasant everyday driver.” As they put it, “it just feels good, all the time.”
That’s not to say they didn’t gush about the other models of Corvettes.
The mighty ZR1 – the most powerful car GM has ever built – earned praise for being “hellaciously fast” without being temperamental at all. “The handbuilt aluminum V-8 makes big power everywhere, but even bigger power as the revs climb,” Road & Track praised.
The Grand Sport has the same powertrain as the base model’s, but for an extra $6,400 you get a lot of wider stuff, R&T wrote, “wider Goodyear F1 Supercar tires, a wider, more flared and chiseled body and a wider steel frame … stiffer suspension and brake cooling vents behind the front tires.”
As Chevy points out in its sales brochures, this is the highest-performance Corvette convertible you can buy (at least until the 2013 Z06-engine 427 Convertible arrives). On the track, Tommy Milner was a full 5 seconds quicker in the Grand Sport than in the base coupe, a difference he attributed to “better tires, better composure, less pitch and better balance.”
And speaking of the base coupe, for those who are “economy minded,” it still impressed the magazine’s drivers, including one who liked the coupe’s “all-around competence.” He called it “fast, muscular, smooth, and comfortable, with a relaxed gait in 6th gear (just under 1600 rpm at 70 mph) and highway mileage hovering in the 27-28 mpg range.” He also noted that it blows through the quarter mile just one second slower than the ZR1 for half the money!
All in all, Chevy has made a Corvette for all tastes in 2012, and Road & Track came away mightily impressed with the work done by dedicated engineers.