If you feel the need for American speed, and demand a voluptuous, standalone sports-car shape to match, there are two options that stand out from the pack: the Chevy Corvette Stingray and the Dodge SRT Viper.
Yes, there are plenty of very fast muscle cars that would like to contend with these two, but when it comes to track-carving capability and sheer on-road prowess, the heavier, lazier muscle cars -- even the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, which comes close, we'll admit -- can't compete with these purpose-built super sports cars.
But how do you choose between them? The Corvette Stingray offers 455 horsepower, and brilliant handling, for starting price around $55,000. The SRT Viper is much more powerful at 640 horsepower, and it remains much more expensive, at its $86k starting price for 2015 -- although that's $15k lower than just last year, as part of one of the most significant downward price adjustments seen this model year.
The price and the power aren't the only differences between the Viper and the Stingray, however.
The Viper is bred from genes that fall much closer to the racing branch of the tree than the Corvette's. That comes across in its on-track performance, which is brilliant, but also tricky. With 645 horsepower on tap from its 8.4-liter V-10 engine, even the new advanced performance-oriented traction and stability controls can't always keep up. There's massive grip and stopping power, but there's also a tendency to twitch and squirm at the limit that can be unnerving at speeds well over 100 mph.
As for the Corvette, with 455 horsepower (or 460 hp with the performance exhaust), it feels more inherently balanced in power-to-chassis comfort, on real-world roads, and mates very well with either the seven-speed manual gearbox or new eight-speed automatic.
On the street, the Viper's race-bred genes come through too, though in a more unwelcome way. The cockpit is immensely refined from previous versions of the Viper, with quality materials and attractive, modern design -- but it's also loud, low, and riding on a stiffly sprung chassis. Viper GTS models get an adaptive suspension that helps balance the street ride quality, but still tends toward the firm over the
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 ConvertibleEnlarge Photo
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at Ron Fellows Performance Driving SchoolEnlarge Photo
|from $54,000||from N/A|
|from $49,140||from N/A|
|Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway|
|- TBD -||N/A|
|Front Leg Room (in)|
|Second Leg Room (in)|
|Read Full Specs|