2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 Long-Term Arrival
The Corvette used to be a simple thing. It delivered world-class performance on a budget, but a look at the rest of the car explained the low price.
It's different with the seventh-generation Corvette. Now you wonder how Chevrolet was able to cram so much car in such an inexpensive package. Our manual Stingray, for example, is a base model equipped with the Z51 Performance Package and little else. It cost $64,880 – BMW M4 money. For that you get an M4-matching 12.1-second @ 117.8-mph quarter-mile pass, and an M4-besting (by a lot) 1.05 average g of lateral acceleration and 23.5-second figure-eight lap. Performance? Check.
The rest of the car? Well, the interior is nicely appointed and well-equipped. Our 1LT trim has comfortable and supportive leather seats in red, to match the $595 red brake calipers. The seats face a smartly laid-out dash and partly digital instrument cluster. Dig into the 8-inch infotainment system and you'll find a back-up camera, satellite radio, smartphone connectivity, LTE Wi-Fi, and so on. Hit a button and the screen tucks away, revealing a clever cubbyhole and USB port behind it. Its main resident is my iPod.
The must-have Z51 package ($5,000) adds an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, dry sump oiling, stronger brakes, a comprehensive suspension upgrade, variable exhaust, and coolers for the diff and transmission. Even better, Chevrolet offers a three-page sheet describing how to prepare the Corvette for track use, covering brake burnishing procedure, alignment settings, fluid checks, and so on.
The variable exhaust system gives a small power bump, upping output of the 6.2-liter small-block to 460 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. Yes, it's still a pushrod motor, but it has variable valve timing, direct injection, and cylinder deactivation. Plus, valvetrain simplicity results in a lower engine and hood, improving visibility and dropping the car's center of gravity.
The driving experience? Great in all disciplines. The Corvette is happy to challenge its sticky Michelins at our test track and then cruise home on the freeway in seventh, switching to V-4 mode to save fuel.
Thus far, the Corvette still delivers perhaps the best bang for the buck in the market, but that bang now encompasses so much more. From the all-aluminum chassis and its easily removable targa top, to the terrific sounds it makes and its pleasant road manners, it's easy to imagine the Stingray covering many, many miles with us over the next year.
|2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$64,880|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door hatchback|
|ENGINE||6.2L/460-hp*/465-lb-ft* OHV 16-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,392 lb (50/50%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||176.9 x 73.9 x 48.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.8 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||12.1 sec @ 117.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||101 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||1.05 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||23.5 sec @ 0.91 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||17/29/21 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||198/116 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.93 lb/mile|