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PERFORMANCE | 10 out of 10
By scrounging up some of their best performance hardware, they've managed to cobble up a new car that just might be cool enough to warrant resurrection of the storied Grand Sport moniker.
The Z06 does get a bit hairy in bumpy corners, where it's easy to apply too much power and find yourself doing a noisy, smoky pirouette.
The first thing you need to do with the ZR1 is throw out any preconceived notions you have about it. Isn't it just a more extreme Z06 with 131 more horsepower or an answer to a question no one asked? No. It's a comprehensively re-engineered vehicle that shares little in feel with either the standard Corvette or the Z06, outperforming both on the track, obviously, but also, surprisingly, on
On a deserted twisty road, the driver will likely run out of talent before the Corvette runs out of capability. The brakes are strong and fade-free and there's massive grip from the tires.
Corvette's already-awesome handling performance gets tweaked with the optional Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension that adapts to road surfaces and allows the driver to dial in the preferred setting.
From base to ZR1, it's hard to fault the performance of any Corvette, especially when you factor in their relatively low cost.
Three engines are available in the Corvette range: the Grand Sport, base coupe and convertible use a 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 engine rated at 430 horsepower (or 436 with the optional dual-mode exhaust); the Z06 gets a 7.0-liter LS7 V-8 rated at 505 horsepower; and the ZR1 gets a supercharged 6.2-liter LS9 V-8 good for a massive 638 horsepower.
The Grand Sport, coupe, and convertible are all available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The ZR1 and Z06 are manual-only. Both transmissions are well-suited to the task, though true enthusiasts will opt for the manual, despite the automatic's slick shifts and generally capable sport programming.
As for outright performance, the Grand Sport and base coupe check in at 4.5 seconds to 60 mph, while the Z06 gets there in a scant 3.9 and the ZR1 does it in 3.4. Those last two are supercar figures, and their handling and braking performance fit the supercar bill as well. The Z06 and ZR1 make extensive use of aluminum, carbon fiber, and other composites to reduce weight while maintaining rigidity, while the base and Grand Sport models are primarily made of steel.
Top speeds of all Corvettes are in the upper-100 mph or lower 200-mph range, and the steering, balance, and confidence of control also match this capability. The Corvette is America's sports (or super) car, and the 2012 models only enhance this reputation.
The 2012 Chevrolet Corvette offers incredible performance value, from the sports car base models to the supercar Z06 and ZR1.