CNN Money is raving about the new Corvette as an American car that can take down the Porsche. Is the CNN author’s perspective accurate? Let’s quickly examine the validity of the claims.
It’s not fair to compare the Porsche to the Stingray without making mention of the price point. Knowing what kind of pricing you’re dealing with will help put everything into perspective as far as value is concerned.
The most popular Porsche model, the 911 Carerra, has an MSRP of about $84,000, and according to TrueCar.com the average purchase price comes in at around $80,554. This is the base-model Carerra, which may or may not be available at your local Porsche dealer (often times dealers only stock higher-end models). Thus, the best price you’ll get is $80k…and many people pay a lot more.
Similarly, the website also notes that the factory invoice for the Stingray is $48,425 with a $51,995 MSRP. There’s no known information available yet about the average price a consumer pays in real life purchases since this model has just now made its way to dealerships. There are rumors of dealers marking up new Vette’s $5-10k.
Still, even with a $10k addendum, the new Stingray wins the price comparison.
Now for the most notable factor about sports cars — how much power they have! For most people, that’s all that really matters.
Horsepower side by side comparisons reveal that when it come to brut strength, the Stingray is the clear winner. While the 911 Carrera has a 3.8L engine that pushes an impressive 350 horsepower — the Stingray touts a much better 455 horsepower (460 hp with performance exhaust option).
What does this translate into in the real world? The Porsche 911 Carrera has a 0-60 of 4.3 seconds according to the Porsche website, and a 2012 Carrera S tested by Motor Trend ran the quarter mile in 12 seconds flat. Chevy’s Corvette Stingray has times of 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and runs the quarter mile in 12 seconds as well. As you can see, the times are very close and would likely even come down to driver skill in real life situations.
Of course, Porsche loyalists will argue that the mid-engine 911 is a better track car. While the 911 isn’t really a mid-engine racer, it remains to be seen how well the 911 and Stingray will compete on the race course. Regardless, a $52k Corvette can run neck and neck with a $98k Porsche Carrera S, which means any new Vette buyer has $40k sitting around for performance add-ons. If even half that sum is spent on go-fast parts, there’s no contest between the two vehicles.
Which Model Wins The Image Contest?
The Corvette Stingray is the winner for pricing, and essentially the winner for performance as well once you start using your “extra” money to invest in performance add-ons. Yet the “image” contest is one area where the Porsche has a definite advantage.
American drivers have a love/hate relationship with the Porsche, but the brand has an extremely loyal following. Many Porsche drivers consider themselves to be lifers, the vehicle is associated with status and wealth, the cars are often portrayed in movies, etc. If you ask the average person on the street, odds are good that the Porsche brand will be viewed as “cool”, and that drivers of said car will be viewed as successful (and perhaps pretentious as well).
The Corvette, on the other hand, is anything but pretentious…and perhaps that’s the problem. The Vette is stylish and powerful, but it’s status as a sports car for “everyman” might hurt it’s cool factor in some eyes. In a society where excess is rewarded, it’s hard for a value-priced super car to get it’s due.
Still, the fact is that the newest Corvette model has people going crazy. Popular media outlets (like CNN) have been talking about the car, as have all the major automotive outlets. What’s more, GM has made a real effort to shed the image of the “middle-aged guy’s sports car” with the Stingray – something I wrote about here.
Is the new Stingray really a “Porsche killer from Detroit” like the CNN writer explains? Probably not. Despite the Vette’s performance, (relative) affordability, and burgeoning cool factor, the Porsche brand is strong. It’s not as if all those “upside-down bathtub” fans are going to stop loving the speedster from Stuttgart.
Still, the real answer lies in the numbers. If the Corvette can double or triple the sales volume of the Porsche 911, an argument for the Vette’s superior image can be made. Here’s to hoping.
Author Jason Lancaster is a life-long Corvette enthusiast who has been fortunate enough to spend a few exhilarating minutes behind the wheel of a Z06. Jason works with GM Parts Online, a website that sells factory Chevrolet parts at discount prices.
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