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First Impressions - 2008 Z51 to 2011 GS

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Old 02-26-2011, 01:36 PM   #1
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Default First Impressions - 2008 Z51 to 2011 GS

Just picked up a 2LT, MN6, F55, NPP, cyber gray grand sport, with the competition gray wheels. Previously had a 2008 3LT, MN6, NPP, Z51 atomic orange C6 with the gumby wheels, and the Michelin ZP A/S tires. Both were new purchases. Had 22K on the Z51 when I traded it in. Here's what I noticed as I got the new car yesterday. I do like the GS better, but it is not a slam dunk. The Z51 was no slouch.

Loved the new car smell of the GS. The clutch petal was smoother, and easier to push. The shifter was crisper, and easier to shift between gears. The brakes are SO much more sensitive, and zero play in the brake petal. The Grans sport is not as "peppy" as the Z51, but it gets better as I put miles on it. It started with 2 miles, and I'm only up to 150 miles now. Started it several times. The Z51 would spin at will in 1st and 2nd, even with the traction control on (in a straight line). The GS just bites and goes. Only had the GS to 3500 or so RPMs, so no hard launches. The "normal" exhaust is louder on the GS than the Z51, and it gets to "loud" at a lower RPM (about 2500), and takes a while to quieten down. About 3500 was "loud" in the Z51. The F55 tour setting is smoother riding than the Z51, and the sport setting is harsher. Both take a curve better than the Z51 (even with the original GY tires on the Z51). Less road noise so far with the GS than the Z51. Stereo is better in the Z51, it had Bose, while the GS has base system - it is still good for me. The oil temp is running about 170 (and drops to 165 occassionally) on the GS, and it ran about 190 - 200 on the Z51. The oil pressure is MUCH higher on the GS, because of the dry sump system. I miss the HUD, but not the nav, or the telescoping steering, or the seat automatically adjusting (3LT had them in in the Z51, but I am a 2LT in the GS). I like the bluetooth phone feature of the GS. Friends tell me they like the cyber grey better, already getting just as many complements at the filling station. Kids love both cars. Women love both cars, but more like the gray better. People that don't know vettes thought the Z51 was a Z06, and already they think the GS is a ZR1. I get tired of telling them the difference so I sometimes let them believe it if I'm in a hurry.

I plan to supercharge the GS, and I felt the supercharger would overpower the narrower wheels on the Z51.

Enough for now, and I'll post more as I compare between the two.

Remember, this is my impressions, so everyone will probably be different if they owned two similar cars like this. I just wanted to give thoughts to people that had not owned either.
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Old 02-26-2011, 01:39 PM   #2
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Great review and I wish the GS was out when we got our 09 I would be in oneClick the image to open in full size.
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:01 PM   #3
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Seadawg, Thank you for the review and look forward to your updates. Good luck with your new ride and Speed Rocks.
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:24 PM   #4
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Nice review. I think most of the difference, believe it or not, comes from the tires. When I transformed my Z51 into a GS, and fitted it with the wide rubber, I noticed a phenomenal difference in cornering ability and initial bite.
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:41 PM   #5
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Just curious as to what made you pull the trigger on the 2011 GS versus waiting for the C7 since you had a Z51 already?
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:45 PM   #6
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You will most certainly spin the tires on the GS in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, maybe 4th. Give it some time (and miles).

Congrats on the pickup!
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:53 PM   #7
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Really thought there would be some pictures along with the review...
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Old 02-26-2011, 03:35 PM   #8
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:37 PM   #9
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Great post - thanks for sharing your thoughts.
And congrats on the new ride!

I too have an 08 Atomic Orange Z51.
I've driven a GS, and was left with absolutely no urge to "upgrade".
Yes, it does seem to bite better off the line, and in the turns, but not enough for me to want to make a change.
For me, I'd consider upgrading to a Z06, but not to a GS.
Although, I too may add a supercharger someday.
At that time, I'll add the wide booty. But no reason to before then.

Last edited by car2fast4you; 02-26-2011 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:39 PM   #10
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Congrats to you When I did the wide rear with tunnel plate, wider tires and Zo6 rear sways the car handles soooo much better.
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:43 PM   #11
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Congrats on the new GS!

Originally Posted by Seadawg View Post
...I miss the HUD...
Easy to fix at a reasonable cost:
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:55 PM   #12
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Great write up and congrats on the new GS! Just curious though, isn't the engine on the 2008 the same as in the GS, except for the dry sump; same HP/torque? I would think the performance in the power department would be the same??
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Old 02-26-2011, 05:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Seadawg View Post
People that don't know vettes thought the Z51 was a Z06, and already they think the GS is a ZR1. I get tired of telling them the difference so I sometimes let them believe it if I'm in a hurry.
That is one beef I have with Chevy. They blurred the distinctive lines between the Z cars and the base/GS cars. Now, the GS looks like a Z06, which looks like a ZR1. Even though the performance between the cars is vastly different.

How is your gas mileage? Most people I talk to notice a drop in MPG with the GS compared to the base coupe.
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Old 02-26-2011, 05:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by VetteRulz View Post
Now, the GS looks like a Z06, which looks like a ZR1.
How can the Z06 look like the ZR1 when the Z06 came out in 2006 and the ZR1 came out 3 years later. I think you may mean that the ZR1 looks similar to the Z06
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:07 AM   #15
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Great review! Much appreciated. Which supercharger are you thinking about? Is this your daily driver?

Again thanks for your insights. I too own an 08 Z51 M6 with NPP...and truly admire the Grand sport...yet I want to see what the c7 holds for us.

I look forward to further insights you might offer as well as which supercharger you go with and how you like it.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:15 AM   #16
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Good review, and enjoy your new ride.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:20 AM   #17
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Do you miss the extra 6mph at top speed?
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:45 AM   #18
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Hello again, day 2 update. I was having tons of intermittent electronic probs with my 2008, or I would not have traded. GM (and the dealer) treated me right, so I didn't take a big hit going to the 2011. I "special ordered" it with you the options I wanted, which made me like the 2011 better. It is a daily driver (as was the Z51).

Showed the car to all the neighbors (they were watching for me to come out), talked vette for a couple hours. All the neighborhood kids want a ride. Programmed both fobs, installed my locking lug nuts from the Z51, retorqued all the rims (the lugs were widely varied torque, which surprised me), loaded the single empty storage box (battery is in the right rear on the GS), and hit the road.

It was much "peppier" today in the GS. I noticed that I only got 12.5 average mpg my 1st tank of gas, so I suspect the brakes were dragging slightly. I babied the GS, and would have gotten in the low to mid 20's mpg in the Z51. I now have a more "normal" feeling brake petal too, which to me means it self adjusted some. It easily got to 120 in 6th, to merge into a very fast traveling pack on the interstate. The oil temp hit 178 during the punch, then went to the mid 160's, and stayed there the rest of the day. I now can't notice any power difference with part throttle "punching", so unless I could go back and forth, I won't be able to compare power. Meaning, to me, they are now both basically the same power (which should be expected).

On the sound, I believe the Z06 style air intake is louder than the Z51 during acceleration. I like it, almost to the point that I may not reinstall my "mild to wild" toggle switch for a while. It will also keep me from being tempted to punch it. The exhaust is staying a lot cleaner so far, my Z51 ran a little rich. The Z51 had more "lope" at idle than the GS has. The GS has more "growl" at cruising and when I accelerate. The Z51 was too quiet, I would forget to downshift sometimes. But others would not notice, and I probably wouldn't either, if both were not daily drivers.

The CG color is growing on me, as did the AO. I grew to love the AO. Both hide dust fairly well, I think it is because of the metal flake masking it. I would have bought another AO if they still made it, but no regrets for the CG choice. I liked the supersonic blue and white, but really all vette colors are nice to me.

The GS does well on the "turn right at the red light" accelerations. I had to feather the throttle with the Z51, or the torque management would try to help. I have not felt any tire slippage with the GS yet, and I've halfway tried a few times. It just launches, and I know people still sitting at the lights are in disbelief that I'm at the speed limit before they even leave the light. In the Z51, I could do the same thing, but the tires would spin doing it.

The GS is smoother during tight radius slow turns than the Z51. I changed rear lubes twice in the Z51, and it would still chatter sometimes in "lock to lock" turning. The front tires would sometimes push in the Z51, and that has not happened yet with the GS. Time will tell on this one.

And I now like the "normal" GS stereo better than the stereo that was in the Z51 with the nav. It plays all CDs that I have, and I always had to burn them 2 or 3 times to get ones to work with the Z51. The sound is practically the same as the Bose too, for my ""gun shooting as a kid" ears. When you turn it up, no buzzing, just louder, with plenty of base and treble, that's noticeable as you change the settings.

The GS stereo XM does not lose signal under the spanish moss trees, maybe the different windshield on the Z51 block some signal from the XM antenna (HUD windshield is different than non-HUD). For whatever reason, I now I have not lost XM signal in the GS, and I occasionally did with the Z51 on the same roads.

I didn't want to wait for a C7, because I personally stay away from the 1st couple model years of any new car. But I had probs with a 2008, so that blows my "wait a few years" theory, huh!

The GS big brakes make just as much dust as the Z51 pads, but the competition gray wheels hide it well if you don't want to clean daily. I had ceramic pads on the Z51, but will keep the factory pads on the GS. The ceramics worked fine (even doing light duty auto crossing with the Z51), but the daily cleaning of dust was the only reason I changed to them on the Z51.

The new GY Gen 2 tires handle well in the rain, but so did the brand new GY Gen 1 on the Z51. Time will tell, but so far I really like the Gen 2 tires.

I like the F55 suspension too. I've played with it more than anything in the car. You can tell a difference between ride firmness.

Bugs splatter on the rear fenders (just an observation, not a problem), and I was going to put a wide body kit on the Z51 eventually. I will be buying some kind of front fender flaps for the GS. I had the 4 tire set (from GM) on the Z51, and they did keep the sides of the car cleaner.

My new tires need re-balancing on the GS, so I'm gonna have them also do a "street front end" alignment when I take it back for the balancing. I want max life from the GY Gen 2 tires, and ultra fast cornering is secondary to me.

I'm also signing up next week to go to the Las Vegas driving school. Sometime in the fall. It will be nice to push a car that is not mine. Might change the front end alignment back after the school.

That's it for now.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:48 AM   #19
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Thanks for the review.
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Old 02-27-2011, 03:21 AM   #20
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Default Why do you keep referring to Z51 when you discuss the engine?

Wondering why you keep mentioning the Z51 suspension when you refer to the engine??
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