2016 Chevy Corvette Z51 Stingray Convertible | DRIVEN

The great American sports car - perfected.

Photos & Words: Evan M. Yates 

Exterior: So what exactly do you get for $80k these days? Well, for starters you get one of the best looking vehicles on the road, especially in a color such as the eye-catching Torch Red. No matter what part of town you cruise through, expect the Stingray to garner plenty of smiles, cell phone snaps and questions. I have to think that the emotions the Corvette evokes in Americans are based partly on pride and nostalgia. As if everyone who sees the Corvette rolling down the street thinks, “Yea, WE built THAT!” It could certainly be argued that the C7 is the best pound-for-pound vehicle the United States has ever produced. Aesthetically speaking, if I had to choose between the hardtop and convertible I would select the coupe as the convertible loses a bit of its identity with the cloth top up. Once the roof is retracted, however, it definitely gains back most of its swagger. That being said, Chevrolet did a fantastic job with the styling. Virtually every angle is automotive design perfection with razor sharp lines and innovative accents. The vented hood scoop and side air vents are just a couple attributes that truly make the latest Corvette demand attention no matter the setting. My particular model also came equipped with the optional gloss black, staggered 19 and 20-inch wheels and massive red Brembo calipers which give the Corvette the edge that it may have lacked in the past. As far as curb appeal, the new C7 is about as close as you can get to an exotic in an American-based vehicle.

Interior: It’s clear Chevrolet put a serious emphasis on creating an interior that was not only functional but also ergonomic and yes, for the first time in a Corvette, attractive. It’s no secret that the biggest knock on the Corvette in the past has been the drab interiors but that day is long gone. Behind the wheel, you definitely feel as if you’re in the cockpit of an expensive sports car. It immediately reminded me of the Jaguar F-Type with its driver-focused styling and believe me, that’s a good thing. My test car came equipped with the GT bucket seats with Napa leather inserts sporting black leather with red contrasting stitching. The doors and console were also adorned in the same materials. The upper pillars and headliner were also wrapped in a microfiber material that reinforced the premium interior theme. The new steering wheel for 2016 is a bit smaller and also features the flat bottom which all of us diehard performance junkies seem to adore. Because my test car had the optional 3LT preferred equipment group the test car also featured seat adjusters, power lumbar and heated and ventilated seats. Simply put, Chevy stepped it up on the C7’s interior virtually eliminating any criticism from picky journalists like myself. Props.

A/V: APPLE CAR PLAY! Even though the system may seem simple or basic, that’s exactly what makes it so perfect. For the first time ever you can literally plug your iPhone in behind the dash, close the screen and not have to fool with your device until you reach your destination. Apple Car Play handles your text messages, calls, navigation and music without a hitch. The fact that Chevy included this in the Corvette is brilliant and I’m looking forward to more vehicles having this feature standard in the future. On top of the Apple Car Play, the C7 comes equipped with the eight-inch MyLink touch screen system connected to a BOSE system that sounds great as long as the top is up. My test car also came with a Performance Data Recorder connected to the forward-facing cameras that allows you to capture video as you barrel down the road or track. You can even overlay performance features and data points to compile a pretty badass clip that you could later upload to your preferred social media outlet. Speaking of camera, the rear camera is much-needed and certainly appreciated and the THREE front cameras are helpful when trying not to bang up the beautiful front fascia.

Performance: This may sound odd but if the C7 had identical performance numbers to the C6 yet with all the other 2016 upgrades, the new Corvette would still be one of the best vehicles on the road. Thankfully, Chevy also stepped it up in the performance department with the new all-aluminum 6.2 liter LT1 pumping out 455 hp and 460 ft lb that will scoot you to 60 mph in under four seconds and the quarter mile in around 12. On top of the straight-line power, the 2016 C7 handles the curves with ease thanks to the all-aluminum chassis, Z51 performance suspension package and (optional) magnetic ride control. The C7 will simply take everything you can throw at it and beg for more. This is another one of those vehicles you would die to get on the track just to see how far you could push it. I also really enjoyed the selectable exhaust system. As a custom car guy who’s had multiple aftermarket exhausts systems, being able to toggle between stealth, sport, track, etc and have a different sound for each is outstanding because there are times we want everyone to hear us roar and there’s others where we want to stay under the radar.

Final Verdict: The Corvette has not only lived up to its reputation but far exceeded its past limitations. The only knock on the C7 that I could possibly fathom is that it’s not exactly a daily driver mainly due to its dimensions. Getting in out of the driver’s seat, sitting in traffic and simply locating obstacles with the top up almost rules it out as a daily driver but I still think it would be great three of four days out of the week. That being said, the pure American sports car has raised the bar and once again proved it’s the best pound-for-pound, dollar-for-dollar sports car in the game.


Damage: $79,415.00

Power: 455 hp, 460 ft lb

0-60: 3.8 sec

Gas Cash: 21 MPG* (combined)

* We got around 13 city

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