Driving around in a sports car with the top down is a sweet way to experience the awakening of spring in the Brandywine Valley.
The 2016 Corvette Stingray convertible I’m driving is ideal for such excursions. It’s the seventh-generation Corvette, America’s sports car. It was named after World War II destroyer escorts. The small Stingray icons on the front fenders pay homage to one of the fastest Corvettes ever built, the 1963 “Sting Ray.”
Back then, a fully equipped Sting Ray cost around $5,000. The 2016 Corvette Stingray convertible I tested—with its extra
goodies—has a $73,455 sticker price. It has a clean, multi-dimensional, futuristic look from the front bumper to the rear quad exhaust tips. The Corvette design team has won beaucoup awards since the model’s 2014 introduction.
My Stingray was silver, with a black convertible top that’s easily lowered remotely by using the key fob. When stowed, the ’Vette’s sleek profile is accentuated. Sound-absorbing padding and a glass rear window contribute to a quiet interior. The top was mostly down during my week with it.
My first impression of the ’Vette’s interior: great attention to detail, precise stitching on all surfaces, comfortable bucket seats, and easy-to-use and convenient controls. Craftsmanship throughout.
Kudos to the Corvette’s design team. Before they created the fighter-jet-inspired wraparound cockpit, they listened attentively to the suggestions of Corvette owners for improving the seats and many other features. Many of those suggestions were implemented in the C7 Stingray.
Beneath the C7 Stingray’s bold design are lightweight materials, advanced manufacturing techniques and exceptional technology from the Corvette racing program. The frame is so strong that no structural reinforcements are needed for the convertible model I drove.
The adrenaline rush of this front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car lies under the hood in the powerful high-revving small-block V-8 engine, rated at 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. The horsepower of my vehicle was goosed up from 455 to 460 by a high-performance exhaust system with four butterfly valves that open—as opposed to the two valves in other Corvette Stingrays. I absolutely loved the more powerful and wonderfully hellacious-sounding exhaust note.
Mated to an 8-speed automatic paddle-shift transmission, the ’Vette will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 12 seconds at 119 mph.
You can choose your driving preference and road conditions by using several settings. The tour mode is for everyday driving; the weather mode is for added confidence while driving in rain and snow; the eco mode is for achieving optimal fuel economy; the sport mode is for spirited driving; and the track mode is for what you’d expect. Up to 12 different performance parameters are adjusted for each.
Though the car’s seat-of-the-pants power is exhilarating, I never did try the performance data recorder to record my speed. The system has a high-definition camera, microphone, telemetry recorder and a memory card to record real-time video in several driving modes. It was developed by the motorsports company that supplies Corvette Racing teams data acquisition and telemetry electronics.
The 2016 Corvette also raises the bar for connectivity by adding smart-phone projection technology. The MyLink system displays content from Apple iPhone 5 or later models on the car’s multicolor screen through the Apple CarPlay feature. Apps for the system include phone, messages, maps, music and compatible third-party apps. Android Auto capability may be available later in the year.
My test car had a Bose 10-speaker audio system with OnStar satellite connectivity. And another attribute of my C7 Stingray
experience merits sharing: nimble driving and precise control and feedback, especially when driving along some of the serpentine Hunt Country roads.
It felt good driving a world-class sports car made in the U.S.A. All Corvettes are made in Bowling Green, Kentucky—and this one is the best yet.
The 2016 Corvette models are covered by a three-year/36,000-mile warranty, a five-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty,
and roadside assistance.
1953 C1: 150 hp, in-line-six, $3,523
1966 C2: 425 hp, V-8, $4,295
1972 C3: 255 hp, V-8, $5,246
1987 C4: 240 hp, V-8, $33,172
2001 C5 ZO6: 385 hp, V-8, $47,500
2013 C6: 436 hp, V-8, $50,595
2014 C7: 455-460 hp, V-8, $51,995