2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport First Drive and Review
What Is It?
The Grand Sport falls in between the base Sting Ray and the track star Z06. In fact, the Grand Sport takes what’s great about the Sting Ray and Z06 and blends them into one. A walkaround of the Grand Sport reveals a wider body, larger brake rotors, and larger tires than the Sting Ray. The Grand Sport also inherits the Z06’s front splitter, side rockers, and rear spoiler, which combine for a more aggressive posture and presence.
Once we climb inside the driver’s side cockpit, we take in all the features this Grand Sport has to offer. An 8-inch LCD color display is configurable based on which driving mode you’re using. There’s also an 8-inch infotainment system with navigation and performance data recorder. The head-up display can be configured based on what driving mode you use. It displays key info such as speed, rpm, and g-meter. Another feature we came to appreciate is the front cameras, especially when parking, so we don’t scrape or bump into those pesky concrete parking barriers.
How Does It Drive?
The Sting Ray and Grand Sport share the naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter LT1 V8 producing 460 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. A 7-speed manual gearbox is standard but our Grand Sport is equipped with the 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. 0 to 60 takes a mere 3.6 seconds and the quarter mile is a blur in only 12.5 seconds.
Even with the same engine as the Sting Ray, the Grand Sport feels more connected and in tune with the road thanks to the wider 19-inch tires up front and 20-inch rubber out back. These Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires stick to the road like glue. Even without the available Z07 Performance Package, our Grand Sport includes features that would be found on the Sting Ray’s Z51 Performance Package such as magnetic ride control, electronic limited-slip differential, and dry-sump oil system. The adjustable driving modes also let you tailor the driving experience. Tour mode offers up a smooth ride and quick throttle response without a lot of noise from the exhaust. Turning it up a notch in Sport mode deepens the quad exhaust tone, increases throttle responsiveness, and makes the suspension significantly stiffer. Track mode brings out the Grand Sport’s Z06 side with more responsive steering, ultra-firm ride and super-angry exhaust.
Granted, the Grand Sport doesn’t have the ferocity of the Z06’s 650 horsepower, it’s better suited as a daily driver. Even in Touring mode, the Grand Sport felt responsive and handled so well, we found ourselves double checking to see if we really weren’t in Sport mode. We typically prefer a manual in a performance car, but the 8-speed automatic managed gear changes well and never seemed to search for the right gear. And for those that miss shifting their own gears, you can put the shifter in manual mode and use the paddle shifters for more personal control.
For the tech savvy driver, an infotainment system with 8-inch color touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard equipment. However, the look and functionality seem a bit dated, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s fairly intuitive and easy to figure out without digging out the owner’s manual for reference. The 3LT package also includes SiriusXM NavTraffic and a Performance Data Recorder. This nifty feature lets you record your shenanigans at the track or while negotiating the curves on your favorite back road.
What Does It Cost?
The base price of our Grand Sport is $65,900. The 3LT Preferred Equipment package tacks on another $9,745, but includes a Bose premium audio system, navigation, and the aforementioned Performance Data and Video Recorder. The 8-speed automatic transmission with remote vehicle start checks in at $1,995. The Grand Sport Heritage Package, which includes fender hash marks, interior aluminum hash marks, and Grand Sport logo floor mats is $795. After destination, the cost of our Grand Sport is $79,530.
The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport is a fitting end to the seventh generation Vette. It’s the perfect balance for those that want a combination of driving comfort and overall performance. If you’ve driven the base Stingray and felt you wanted something more, this might be the perfect opportunity to get into a Grand Sport. With the eighth generation coming soon, you just might get a great deal from your local dealer that’s too good to pass up.
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