Chevy Corvette Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
While the rash, raw newbies can get lots of attention, sometimes it’s the faces and bods with a little mileage on them that attract the crowd. Consider Hollywood A-lister Jennifer Aniston. Hardly anyone considers the three decades behind her and the fourth already underway a detriment. Remaining the American dream girl for many, she excites photographs just being in them, is toned, lusty and confident and can still command space in entertainment magazines portraying hotties on their pages.
That's what you might call "staying power." And we offer another example of staying power with the 2012 two-seater Chevrolet Corvette, particularly in convertible mode. It's the kind of lasting class that has continued to excite American drivers since Chevy launched its rear drive classic nearly SIX decades ago.
We're sure there is an ideal Corvette fan out there. The driver who wants it all -- track worthiness, demon speed, lunge talent, sultry good looks, and the ability to finesse an import out of the desired fast lane while traveling in a domestic sports car. We think Chevy understands that as well, as droves of Vette owners ply cruise events each summer to show off a treasured and pampered sample of the American classic.
So what does Chevy offer the Vette intender who finally has the ability to plunk down some high five- or even six-digit cash or credit for a chance to own the American dream?
New adds for 2012 include a Chevrolet Centennial Edition, available on all Corvette models, that celebrates Chevrolet's 100 years as a car company, not Corvette's, although it could lend to some confusion for the uninitiated. Among trim elements: Carbon flash Metallic paint, satin-black graphics, satin-black Cup wheels with red stripe, red interior stitching and Magnetic Selective Ride Control so the driver can dial up the handling characteristics she prefers.
The Z07 performance package for the Z06 gets an upgrade as well, adding Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Zero Pressure Tires, lighter weight Cup wheels, magnetic ride and a full width rear spoiler.
Check out other 2012 improvements. For that complete sports car look, add the available carbon fiber hood and new seat design with microfiber inserts. A three spoke, leather wrapped steering wheel is standard equipment, as is a new short-throw, six speed manual transmission with launch control on the ZR1, that also can add available new red brake calipers (standard on the Z06).
Want some track time under your belt? Check the standard Head-Up Display that includes track mode with g-meter. Hit those tight curves and corners and you know how much lateral acceleration force (AKA white knuckle ride) is being exerted in the process. (If you or your main squeeze get queasy, don't forget the barf bag -- we'll let you add the "A.") With Chevy's 505-horsepower 7.0-liter V-8 (470 lb-ft of torque) providing power for the Z06
(supercharged 6.2-liter for the ZR1, Chevy's "fastest" ever production model with top speed of 205-MPH), one can wring a lot of play out of a twisty, winding mountain road as well -- if one has the nerve. Expect to gain a 15/24 mileage rating for the Z06 if you drive it as designed, or pay attention to such things if you do.
Chevy hasn't forgotten the comfort side with the 2012 Vette. It even classifies the Z06 as a "dual purpose" sports car, meaning it knows its customers are as apt to actually take driving trips along a sun drenched stretch of Pacific coastline as to smoke the competition at the nearest road racing track. In the North, where snow and ice are winter staples, we occasionally see one trying to grip its way up a slick express road exit ramp after a snowfall. That's not really recommended. But Corvette diehards don't give up easily.
Also new is an available nine-speaker Bose Audio for precision ear assault, so luscious high and low notes don't get absorbed by the Vette's lusty exhaust tone.
If owning a Corvette is on your menu, expect true sports car gourmet prices for the privilege. Base pricing (1LZ) starts at a cool $75,600 and ratchets up some $35K-plus from there before accessorizing.
We note there's one accessory remaining that's absent from most contemporary cars -- at least on domestic ones. Perhaps it's for those stereotyped male drivers who had wanted a Corvette since their teens and finally were flush enough to own one. The accessory? A cigar lighter with ashtray. Maybe we should offer a photo of Jennifer Aniston to go with it. We think most discerning women wouldn't want to sully the delicious new car smell of a treasured new Corvette with a stogie.
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