Conclusion: the 2021 Corvette Stingray looks, is European, but for less than half the price

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible 2021.

Jeremy Au Yeung / The Globe and Mail

It takes a certain level of self-confidence for a middle-aged man to manage in a new Corvette Stingray, especially one painted “Accelerate Yellow”. The car is as subtle as a kick to the head.

This is the C8, the eighth generation, and it’s about as far removed from the original Sting Ray from the 1960s as you can imagine. The mid-engine is now behind the driver, and the body looks European, like a Lamborghini or a McLaren, with all the performance but for less than half the price.

I drove the Corvette C8 early last year at a circuit near Las Vegas and the memory is still fresh: “For the money,” I wrote at the time, “you get a performance car who can take on Ferrari and Lamborghini and other quarter-million-dollar vehicles.… The new Corvette is a truly exceptional vehicle.

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Exceptional, yes, but do you really have to own one? This is another matter. Corvettes have a reputation for being a midlife crisis car, and there are few things sadder than looking at an older man – someone who thins and grows a little gray goatee to distract from the crowd. watch out for wattles on his neck and extra pounds around his waist – try to get out of the low seat of a performance car. Especially when the car screams for attention in yellow Acceleration.

The car is designed with an emphasis on the driver.

Jeremy Au Yeung / The Globe and Mail

So I asked my friend Dan to take the Vette for a drive. Dan is a lawyer in his fifties, and although his salt and pepper mustache is not as dismal as my own Covid goatee, and although he appears to have most of his own hair and a waistline that is not quite age-appropriate, he has fond memories of the ’70s Corvette he drove on his first date with the woman who is now his wife. If anyone wants to buy this new car in a shameless attempt to relive their youth, it will be someone like Dan.

He carefully sank into the driver’s seat and I sat down next to him in the cabin to explain the vehicle to him. There’s nothing else to do on the right side of the car – everything is driver-oriented and the passenger feels like a sidecar driver, with no easy access to controls or distractions.

“The cool thing about the handling of this car is that the weight is distributed 50-50 in front of and behind the driver’s hips,” I told Dan. “If we go out on a track and let it rip in some corners, you won’t feel the car pushing, pulling or even sliding around a lot in the corners. You have the impression that it is pivoting around you.

“Are we going on a track? Dan asked enthusiastically. This Corvette was equipped with the Z51 Performance Package at $ 7,000, boosting horsepower to 495 horsepower. Dan has been driving a Lexus IS for the past few years.

– No, I tell him. “You will have to take my word for it. “

He also had to take my word for it that there was a huge, powerful engine behind the driver, because while the hardtop Corvette has a glass cover that showcases the 6.2-liter V8, the convertible hides this view under a cover for the retracted hardtop. If you want to see the engine you have to start unscrewing the shields. This is not a car for shade tree mechanics.

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A mid-mount motor leaves room for a trunk.

Jeremy Au Yeung / The Globe and Mail

We left as fast as we dared on rural but public roads. Dan is a very good lawyer, but he’s not a highway miracle worker if we were to be pulled over by the police, so we reduced our speeds to a fraction of the Corvette’s capacity. He was amazed by the smoothness of the eight-speed transmission and its intuitive ability to always be in the right gear. He was impressed with the comfort of the cabin, even with the roof down. And he was amazed at the sheer power under his feet.

Previous Corvettes have always been fast but are content to run at legal speeds on the freeways. This Corvette C8, with its square steering wheel and multiple digital performance displays, keeps reminding you that it prefers to be on the racetrack.

We drove for an hour before heading home, where he pulled into his driveway and stood up from the seat with a glaring lack of grace. This could be improved with practice and some stretching exercises, he explained. Maybe a little yoga.

So the question at $ 113,000. … If he had the funds to spare, would he buy the new Corvette for himself?

“Yes I would. I absolutely would,” he said optimistically. “I think they got him out of the park. I haven’t driven a supercar, but it’s years away. -light of the last Corvette I drove. I’m a blue collar performance man, and that’s the epitome of it.

So maybe it’s a good 40s car. After all, that might inspire Dan to take up yoga, and that can only be a good thing, right?

The 2021 Stingray looks European, like a Lamborghini or McLaren, and has similar performance, but for less than half the price.

Jeremy Au Yeung / The Globe and Mail

Technical specifications

2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

Base price / as tested: $ 69,398 / $ 111,363, plus $ 2,000 freight and inspection fees

Engine: 6.2-liter V8

Transmission / drive: Eight-speed dual-clutch transmission / rear-wheel drive

Fuel economy (liters / 100 kilometers): 15.4 city / 8.7 highway (with premium gasoline)

Alternatives: Porsche 718; Porsche 911, Audi R8, Mercedes-AMG GT

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Jeremy Au Yeung / The Globe and Mail

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