By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – Let’s see, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible. There’s not too much more to say than that, after all it is America’s sports car.
The heart of any sports car is the engine and in this case our Corvette was powered by a mammoth 6.2-liter V8 that made 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. However, we had the Z51 performance package that bumped the engine output up to 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque.
Standard equipment on this car is a seven-speed manual transmission that we would have preferred. But our test car was equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission with shift times that rival dual clutch gear boxes, so said the manufacturer.
The package, which also included a performance exhaust, enabled our Corvette Stingray to get from a standstill to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. It could run the quarter mile in 12 seconds and reach 119 mph, it had a 1.03g cornering grip and it could reach zero from 60 mph in 107 feet.
Those are world-class performance numbers. This car was lightening-quick, too fast to let loose on surface streets. Just an authoritative push on the accelerator and this Corvette went from 70 mph to 90 mph in a couple of seconds. But it was civil at low speeds. It could be used as an everyday driver on dry pavement, but why would you want to do that?
The drive mode dial had five selections: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track. The selector adjusted 12 vehicle dynamics, depending on the setting. Corvette said Tour mode was for everyday driving; Weather mode was designed for better traction in rain or snow, Eco was of course for better mileage, Sport was for “spirited” driving and Track is for what else, the track.
For the record, our test Corvette Stingray was rated at 16 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg combined. The car had an 18.5-gallon fuel tank, so fill ups were probably not as frequent as you would think. In the Eco setting, the test car could operate in four-cylinder mode until aggressive acceleration was needed.
In addition to its Z51 performance suspension, our test car had slotted brake rotors, painted aluminum wheels, differential electronic limited slip differential, a rear differential cooler, a performance exhaust, performance gear ratios, dry sump oil system and 19-inch rubber in the front and 20-inch rubber in the back.
This new Corvette is unmistakably a Corvette, but it is completely different from the car it replaced. Crisp angular aggressive styling replaces the curved sheet metal and smooth corners of the old car. White daytime running lights added to an already distinctive face. Taillights on the new ‘Vette were no longer round and they were LEDs. So were the backup lights.
Our test convertible had a fully automatic top. Just press a button and the top came up or let down, well, automatically. It included latching and unlatching. There was also a top control on the FOB but we couldn’t get it to work. And since we only had the Corvette Stingray for a weekend, time escaped us and we didn’t get a chance to see what, if anything, we were doing wrong with the FOB.
For a convertible, our test car was pretty quiet with the top up. It was made of thick sound absorbing material that, along with a glass rear window, worked pretty well at filtering exterior noise.
Anyway, it took 21 seconds to lower or raise the top. And it could be done when the car was doing as much as 30 mph, although we didn’t test it. With the top down, there were dual black trim panels on the tonneau cover. And the exterior color was brought inside by what Corvette called the waterfall valley between the seats.
Our test car was full of creature comforts. It had heated and cooled seats, satellite radio, OnStar, voice controls, a heads up display that could be seen while wearing polarized sunglasses, heated outside mirrors, power seats, a smart key, of course a navigation system, a premium audio system, voice controls, a rearview camera, remote start and more.
Our lone quibble was that we only had it for the weekend. The base price of our test car was $64,000. Add the freight charge and options and our 2015 Corvette Stingray Convertible was $75,560.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.