Is a Loaded Z51 the Most Pointless Corvette Ever?

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Corvette Grand Sport

The Grand Sport exists, so why are so many Corvette buyers still bothering with fully-loaded Z51s?

This is going to spark some hate, but if you want to buy a loaded Z51, you’re buying the wrong Corvette. The Z51 existed as a way for Corvette owners to get extra performance from a standard Corvette without jumping up to the track-ready Z06. Now that the Grand Sport is in production, buying a loaded Z51 feels like a waste of money.

This debate started when “DesiBaba posted in the forum asking if the Z51 had been discontinued for 2018. He hadn’t seen any at dealers and wondered if the Grand Sport had killed the model off. What followed is a long thread confirming (and defending) the Z51’s existence.


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Supporters say that the Z51 is easier to get tires for, its narrow body looks nicer, and it’s a better daily driver. This is where we take issue.

The Corvette, in general, is a wonderful daily driver. But if you’re adding every performance option available, including the MR dampers, any Corvette has a “worse” ride, whether it’s a GS or a Z51. Why would you throw thousands of dollars at go-faster parts and then stop at wide tires and say, “no, that’s a deal-breaker?”

We understand that much of the Corvette community is made up of people who want a beautiful sports car that blends comfort with great performance, but this feels like a step too far. Ride harshness is one of the biggest factors for daily driving, and the Z51 gets a full suspension rework even before the Magnetic Ride option. We also happen to think the wide body is the best-looking car by a million miles. And the added performance you can get with wider tires just makes sense.

We will make an exception and say that getting the Z51 is acceptable if you skip the MR dampers, the aero options, and the PTM system. But if you’re tacking on every performance option you can, the Grand Sport is the only intelligent choice. Especially considering how small the price jump is between the two cars.

Christian Moe contributes to many of Internet Brands' Auto blogs, including Corvette Forum, Club Lexus and Rennlist.

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