So there I was wearing my Detroit Tigers hat all nestled in the leather sport seats of a sports car with the targa top off ready for an adventure with my sidekick (4 year old Londyn). There was a small part of me that felt like a certain P.I. Only instead of his underpowered Ferrari 308 GTS, I was behind the wheel of a hand-built 430 HP LS3 2012 Corvette Grand Sport.
The Grand Sport is just one of the many flavors of Corvettes. The G-S takes the base Vette up a few notches by adding some trick little features like a wider body, more meat on the tires, some model specific body work and an optional magnetic suspension. Something else you can get, that's well worth the price of admission (and lets face it when you're spending 70 large on a car, what's a few grand more) is the dual mode exhaust. It not only adds a few more ponies (436hp) and lb/ft (428) of tire smoking torque, more importantly, it sounds awesome!
In the age of gas right around 4 bucks a gallon, you may be asking, why in the world would someone be buzzing around in a gas guzzling V-8? Get this, the EPA says you get 16 mpg in the city (ok not great), but 26 mpg on the Highway with a range of 468 miles. That makes for some fun, economical trips for you and a guest.
One issue Chevy has taken a lot of criticism for over the years was the quality of the interior they were putting in the Vette. People shelling out big bucks for a sports car didn't want the same parts someone buying a Cavalier was getting. That's changed. The bowtie guys are putting some quality materials inside. In fact, the brochure says it's "the most luxurious Corvette interior to date." Having never been in a Vette newer than my mom's 1968 convertible, I'll have to take their word for it. The nicely bolstered seats were comfortable and kept me in place; the leather was soft and nothing inside rattled. The gauges and controls were thoughtfully laid out and everything was within reach and easy to get at without taking your peepers off the road.
One option I did find funny was the option of the 9 speaker Bose audio system. I'm not sure where engineers fit all 9 speakers in such a small space, but when you're stopped, it sounds great. When in motion with the roof off and the glorious sound from the engine, you can't hear it. I'd rather hear the engine anyway.
Depending on how you like to drive, you can get the car with the 6 speed short throw manual with launch control or the 6 speed paddle shift automatic. Both capable of getting you to 60 in a hair under 4 seconds. It took Thomas Magnum close to 7 seconds to hit 60. My ride had the paddle shifters, and I found the set up to be a bit awkward. In most paddle shift setups, you pull one shifter to up shift, the other to down shift. In the Vette, you push a nub on either side of the steering wheel to up shift and pull back on either side to downshift. It works fine, but just takes some getting use to. And for those who prefer a manual transmission, you get a few extra goodies like a differential cooler, the dry-sump oiling system and the aforementioned launch control.
You also get your choice of 9 cool colors with even cooler names. There's "Velocity Yellow", "Supersonic Blue Metallic", "Torch Red", "Blade Silver" and "Inferno Orange Metallic" to name off a few. I had an Inferno Orange example and the car does burn up the road. Triple digits come on fast, and just the slightest turn of the wheel changes direction in a flash. Thanks to the Magnetic Selective Ride Control you can dial up either "Tour" or "Sport" to match your road to your style of driving. Either way this is one fun car to drive, and it begs to be driven fast.
There are those out there who will say the Porsches 911 is the better car, or the Nissan GT-R is the way to go. Choose your sports car of choice and the fan boys will defend their choice to the end. It seems an endless argument. Come on, cars are fun! I'm not interested in what's faster round the Nordschleife as I will never get a chance to drive it. I don't take my cars to the track; I drive them, daily, be it to work, to run errands, to cart the kids back and forth. What I'm looking for is something that puts a smile on my face and makes me look forward to firing the engine back up and going out on the next run. The Grand Sport does that for me.
So I'll put on my Tigers caps with a smile on my face looking for an adventure. And should I use it for some sort of P.I. job, should my boss ask to borrow it, I'll simply reply, "None for you Higgins…none for you."
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