Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Compared with American-spec Chevrolet Corvettes, the European models produce a little less power (475bhp vs 495bhp) as a result of having to meet more stringent European emissions standards. That’s where the bad news both begins and ends because European spec cars also come with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres that are grippier than the standard-fit rubber you get the States. We also get the Z51 Performance Package including in the price.
The performance package introduces adjustable suspension, larger brakes, enhanced engine cooling, a performance exhaust and shorter gear ratios for faster acceleration. In other words, the kind of kit that would cost you a lot of money if you were buying a European-made sports car.
On a typical give-and-take B-road, you can simply lock it in a high gear (when in manual mode) and rely on the never-ending swell of low-down grunt to power you from corner to corner. Making cross-country progress really is an effortless affair, unlike in the Porsche Cayman GT4, a car that needs you to give its six-cylinder plenty of revs for it to truly come alive.
Of course, when you do give the 'Vette the berries, it bellows like a Le Mans racer and delivers enough performance to get the heart racing. While some might bemoan the lack of a manual gearbox, the new eight-speed gearbox shifts ratios smoothly and quickly.
Speaking of the gearbox, sitting alongside the svelte gear selector buttons on the centre console is a BMW iDrive-style dial for scrolling through the six driving modes.
Weather mode dampens accelerator response and ramps up the traction control. Tour is essentially a Comfort mode and switches off half the cylinders when cruising. Sport sharpens up the accelerator and gearbox. Track firms up the steering and suspension. My Mode – as you'd perhaps expect – allows you to customise the car’s parameters.
Finally, there is a Z mode, which is activated with a button on the steering wheel. This not only firms everything up, but also allows you to back off the traction control on a sliding scale, as you can in the BMW M4 Competition.
We spent most of our time flicking between Tour mode and Z mode and were struck at just how compliant the Corvette was in the former. Granted, our press car was fitted with the optional 'MagneRide' adaptive dampers, but on battered urban roads, we’d go so far as to say that it rode better than many executive cars we’ve tried. Even when ramped up to Z mode, the way the body deals with undulations is impressive.