2018 Corvette Grand Sport Review: The Sweet Spot
Corvette Grand Sport offers sensory overload that you cannot ignore.
There it is, glistening in the sunlight is my Sebring Orange Tintcoated ride for the day, a 2018 Corvette Grand Sport. With the Z07 Performance Package, gloss black wheels and Carbon Flash metallic accents, this ‘Vette is a stunner. So much so, I need my shades on to get a good look at it under the shining Southern California sun.
Fresh from General Motors, Chevrolet’s representative notes that they finished the break-in miles while delivering this Grand Sport to me. If this Corvette was any newer, I would still be assembling the pieces at the factory in Kentucky. That 667 mile odometer reading, however, means the 460 horsepower, 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated LT1 V8 engine is ready for prime time.
Popping the door open on Corvettes is still odd to me. That said, inside, this nearly loaded Corvette is a lovely place to be. The 1LT package, when stacked with the Z07 Performance Package adorns the interior with a blend of leather, alcantara and carbon fiber. Combine that with the optional (but, really mandatory) competition seats, a $1,995 option, and this is far and away the finest interior to ever grace a Corvette in the brand’s nearly 66 years of existence. Anyone with previous Corvette experience will love the interior evolution from older cars into the C7 generation.
With the keyless remote in my pocket, a quick tap on the ignition has the LT1 engine burbling into life. It’s an unmistakably aggressive sound. Equally substantial is the clutch and 7-speed manual transmission’s shifter. Neither is heavy, or overbearing, but instead add to the sensation that the Grand Sport is packing something serious under the hood. After slotting the shifter into first gear, it is time to drive.
First impressions on the road
Corvettes are things that are meant to be appreciated. For some, this comes in the form of opening the garage door and staring in wonder, for others, it’s about getting on the road and driving. Corvettes are driver’s cars, and drive this Corvette I will.
At low speed, the Grand Sport is a docile, tame beast. Beyond the V8 soundtrack playing from the tail pipes, once could conceivably drive this car every day and be none the worse for it. Speaking of that distant rumble, a quick twirl of that dial behind the shifter can immediately amplify that distant rumble to a roar. That dial is the Corvette drive mode selector. There are five driving modes available: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track. These tailor-made settings recalibrate the traction and stability control, adaptive suspension, throttle response and, crucially, the bi-modal exhuast, to fit the driver’s needs and road conditions. Around town, Tour mode offers the Corvette Grand Sport a stealthier exhaust note, so as not to upset the neighbors, and a cushier ride quality. Impressive, considering the steamroller-sized Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires fitted to this Grand Sport.
All of that said, this is a Grand Sport – a Corvette with serious sporting intentions – so cruising around town is only a small part of my agenda. To that end I point the nose of this American sports car Westbound, towards the winding canyon roads of Malibu. This is a place where sports cars can be put to the test. On the way, I flick that drive mode dial over to Track mode. I need the full unfiltered experience.