A quick review of the specs of our 2016 Corvette Stingray convertible reveals a smorgasbord of performance equipment. Z51 Performance Package (which includes electronic limited slip differential, performance suspension, and slotted brake rotors), magnetic ride control, and 7-speed manual transmission with active rev matching. This is a good mix of gear without going overboard and breaking the bank.
Push the start button and the 6.2-liter LT1 V8 reverberates with one of the most commanding exhaust tones we’ve heard courtesy of the multi-mode exhaust system. It’s authoritative and in-your-face without being overbearingly loud and punchy. And there’s plenty of snap, crackle, and pops when rowing through the gears and during deceleration.
After a few hours of drive time, we could see and feel the subtle differences in the Z51 Performance Package convertible versus the coupe we had last year without the package. For one thing, you feel more in control of the car with the Z51 package. The car didn’t seem to fishtail as badly when we launched it hard from a dead stop. 0 to 60 blastoffs come in at just under four seconds and the Stingray can sprint the quarter mile in 12.2 seconds.
Steering feel from the electric power-assisted rack and pinion system was firm and precise. And with the five driving modes available, we could tailor the driving experience just how we like it depending on driving conditions. Tour mode works well in normal driving situations and commuting. Weather mode aids in driving on rain soaked roads and other adverse weather conditions. Sport mode is for more aggressive driving or when you want to liven up the daily commute. Eco mode helps with fuel economy and stretching out a few more miles per tank. Track mode is best used out on the track with settings that provide all-out performance along with heightened steering sensitivity. These settings work in conjunction with the optional magnetic ride control to tailor the ride to whichever driving mode the driver chooses.
The interior of the Corvette Stingray is one of the car’s best highlights. At first glance, one of the first things we noticed is the quality of materials. The C7 doesn’t have quite the amount of cheap plastic that plagued the previous generation. And our Corvette Stingray’s 3LT package ups the ante quite significantly. The console, doors, and other bits and pieces are wrapped in soft leather and sueded microfiber adorns wraps much of the upper trim such as the window frames. The 3LT package also tacks on details such as Napa leather seat inserts and power bolster and power lumber for a customizable ride. In addition, our tester also included the carbon Fiber Interior Package which gives the interior a bit of European flair. Another nice touch is the custom red stitching throughout the cabin and a flat-bottom steering wheel is now standard equipment on the Stingray. Trunk space is at an absolute minimum due to the folding roof mechanism. Roughly, there’s only 10 cubic feet of storage space. Better pack lightly if you’re planning on a weekend getaway or road trip out of town.
The convertible top is a cinch to operate. It as easy as simply pushing a button and can be activated at speeds of up to 30 mph. It can also be triggered from the key fob in your pocket. The one-touch convenience means there’s no latches to unhook or any other work that needs to be done beforehand.
We still believe the seventh generation Corvette Stingray has what it takes to compete with the BMW M4 and the Porsche 911. The car is a solid, all-around performer with a price tag that rivals anything the Germans or Italians can put up against it. It’s easy to see why the Corvette is dubbed as “American’s Sports Car”. It’s an exceptional value, has amazing performance characteristics, and can be custom tailored to suit practically anyone.
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible with Z51 Performance Package. Base Price: $64,400, As tested, $79,415. Includes: 3LT Package, $9,745; Magnetic Ride Control with PTM, $1,795; Carbon Fiber Interior Package, $995; Custom Caliper Color – Red, $595; Black painted aluminum alloy, 19 and 20-inch wheels, $495; Custom Leather Stitch – Red, $395; Destination fee, $995.