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GS vs Base Stingray for long distance travel

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Old 12-07-2017, 05:37 AM   #1
silvertc6
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Default GS vs Base Stingray for long distance travel

Planning to order a 2019 C7 but can't decide on a GS or base stingray as the car will mainly be used for long distance travel. Have owned C5 and C6 and loved both but like to change to GS but wondering if the GS would be as desirable as the base stingray model for cross country travel. Any experience or comments regarding comparative long distance driving comfort, the effect of larger tires on GS and MPG differences if any would be most appreciated.
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Old 12-07-2017, 06:24 AM   #2
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I've had both (well, 1LT GS and 1LT Z51) Basically the same car. I guess the GS will get slightly lower MPG, but I didn't notice it. Maybe 1mpg difference (until I added stage 3 front and stag 2 rear aero). Mag ride is pretty awesome, which I assume you wouldn't be opting for in the base car. Tire wear should be lower in the GS because the tire is wider, but the tires are more expensive. I'm sure it works out in the wash. Base will have way more cheaper tire options though.

The real surprising thing is you're comparing a base (nonZ51 car) to a grand sport. One doesn't even have a rear sway bar and the other is a dry sump, 6 piston caliper/2pc rotor, mag ride, road racing machine (with incredible street manners).

If you don't care about handling, the base car is clearly the way to go. If handling matters to you, the GS is the way to go. MPG an tire wear differences are negligible compared to the 10-15k price difference. Base car might be a little softer, but I doubt you'll notice huge differences cruising down the highway.
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Old 12-07-2017, 06:58 AM   #3
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I too, have made many long trips in both models. On a long trip, handling is not that important, you won't be using anywhere close to the GS capabilities. GS will cost more: larger tires are not cheap, don't last as long, and can't be used below 40 degrees. Dry sump capacity is 10 qts so oil changes cost more. MPG is slightly less due to lower gear ratio. Personally, I would get a Stingray with 3LT, non Z51. You don't need the Z51 suspension and you need to stay with 18/19 wheels to allow more options on tires. Just my opinion.
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Old 12-07-2017, 06:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by village idiot View Post
I've had both (well, 1LT GS and 1LT Z51) Basically the same car. I guess the GS will get slightly lower MPG, but I didn't notice it. Maybe 1mpg difference (until I added stage 3 front and stag 2 rear aero). Mag ride is pretty awesome, which I assume you wouldn't be opting for in the base car. Tire wear should be lower in the GS because the tire is wider, but the tires are more expensive. I'm sure it works out in the wash. Base will have way more cheaper tire options though.

The real surprising thing is you're comparing a base (nonZ51 car) to a grand sport. One doesn't even have a rear sway bar and the other is a dry sump, 6 piston caliper/2pc rotor, mag ride, road racing machine (with incredible street manners).

If you don't care about handling, the base car is clearly the way to go. If handling matters to you, the GS is the way to go. MPG an tire wear differences are negligible compared to the 10-15k price difference. Base car might be a little softer, but I doubt you'll notice huge differences cruising down the highway.
This information is very helpful. Handling does indeed matter. Given the other differences are not greatly significant, it does seems the GS is clearly the way to go. Admittedly, I had not thought about the Z51 as an option until Yu mentioned it. Seems I should have. Since You have had both GS and Z51, if I could ask, would the Z51 in your opinion, be as comfortable say suspension wise for long distance driving. Many thanks again for sharing any information.
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Old 12-07-2017, 07:03 AM   #5
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GS is probably more comfortable because of mag ride. I doubt you'd notice it unless you drove them back to back though.

Base (nonZ51) is basically for people who want a Corvette, but don't give a crap how well it handles, how much power it has, etc (or are going to mod it heavily and just start out cheaper). Z51 and GS should really be what you're looking at if you care about performance. It's personal preference if it's worth a few grand for the extra performance. You won't notice much difference on the highway between the two except maybe tire cost.

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Old 12-07-2017, 07:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silvertc6 View Post
This information is very helpful. Handling does indeed matter. Given the other differences are not greatly significant, it does seems the GS is clearly the way to go. Admittedly, I had not thought about the Z51 as an option until Yu mentioned it. Seems I should have. Since You have had both GS and Z51, if I could ask, would the Z51 in your opinion, be as comfortable say suspension wise for long distance driving. Many thanks again for sharing any information.
Mag Ride is a must, it makes a significant difference and I wouldn't own a Corvette without it. I have had a Stingray with Mag, Stingray Z51 w/mag, and now a Grand sport which includes Mag. The Touring mode is very soft and enjoyable. But switching to sport or track you immediately feel like you're driving a sports car. Best of both worlds.

I believe I feel more of the road with the Grand sport than the other C7s.
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Old 12-07-2017, 07:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramler View Post
I too, have made many long trips in both models. On a long trip, handling is not that important, you won't be using anywhere close to the GS capabilities. GS will cost more: larger tires are not cheap, don't last as long, and can't be used below 40 degrees. Dry sump capacity is 10 qts so oil changes cost more. MPG is slightly less due to lower gear ratio. Personally, I would get a Stingray with 3LT, non Z51. You don't need the Z51 suspension and you need to stay with 18/19 wheels to allow more options on tires. Just my opinion.
Thank you for addition information. All most helpful. I will most definitely be driving when temperatures are well below 40 degrees, even with some light snow at times. Therefore need to take tire availability into consideration. Also that stiffer suspension of Z51 may not be as comfortable on long distance trips. Many Thanks.
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Old 12-07-2017, 07:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microday View Post
Mag Ride is a must, it makes a significant difference and I wouldn't own a Corvette without it. I have had a Stingray with Mag, Stingray Z51 w/mag, and now a Grand sport which includes Mag. The Touring mode is very soft and enjoyable. But switching to sport or track you immediately feel like you're driving a sports car. Best of both worlds.

I believe I feel more of the road with the Grand sport than the other C7s.
Clearly Mag Ride will be a definite. Many thanks for advice.
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Old 12-07-2017, 07:46 AM   #9
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Id say either would be fine. Trim level will probably have more of an effect than model.

If I were asking the question, I would be looking between a 2LT and a 1LT. For long distance travel, you want 2LT with its better seats, electronically dimmed mirrors and better stereo. Like others have said, Mag Ride is a must.

The GS has more expensive tires, which will burn out faster because of the negative camber dialed in to the GS suspension. This benefits you at the track or on the back roads, but not on the highway.

If I were buying a Corvette for touring purposes, I would go with a base model or Z51 with a 2LT trim level and mag ride.
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Old 12-07-2017, 08:56 AM   #10
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Never drove a GS. I did drive my base Stingray from Pittsburgh to S. Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and back. Given the condition of the Interstates and various back roads we encountered I gained a healthy appreciation of the "soft ride" suspension. It handled better than my previous C6 Z51 (which handled great) and overall has more than enough power for passing or playing where conditions permit. Unless you are tracking the car and need a competitive edge, or insist on bragging rights over performance stats, there is no advantage to buying a GS for long distance travel.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:10 AM   #11
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OP, Keep in mind, the 18/19" wheels mentioned in post #3, are no longer standard as of the 2018 model year. All Corvettes now have 19/20" wheels.
Also, I'll be odd man out and vote against mag ride if you buy a base Corvette. Absolutely drive a base without mag ride to see if you want it. The three base C7s I tested were about the same as my Z51 with mag ride when the mag ride is in "Touring".
If you like a stiff ride once in a while, then go ahead and get the mag ride. Keep in mind, mag ride is not cheap. On the base its around $3K or more to add it and almost no dealer inventory will have it. If you find a car in dealer inventory that you like, I wouldn't let the mag ride be a deciding factor on a base Stingray. On a Z51 with the stiff ride, yes I'd recommend it.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:54 AM   #12
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Having owned a 2014 Base and a 2018 GS, those who say the GS with MSRC in tour (its softest setting) is even close to the ride of the base car are on drugs - the base car is much softer. The base car with the narrower rear tires is also much quieter in terms of road noise, especially at speeds over 60 mph - the GS's road noise actually gets tiring after 50 miles. Lastly, my real world experience is that the base car (not in economy mode, which I never use) will get 29-32 mpg on the highway at 65-75 mph, and the GS is in the 26-28 mpg range at the same speeds.
On the base car, the Z51 sway bars ($310 from Coultrag and about 2 hours to install) make the car very neutral and handle on regular roads as good as the Z51 - the wider tires make the GS handle with ultimately higher cornering and braking limits (if you are only pulling let's say 0.9g, then both cars are equal).
As far as the Z51 - imo, it is the most useless model in the lineup - the hard ride of the GS with cornering limits only 0.03g higher than the base car for $5,000 more than a base car and only $3,000 less than a GS.

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Old 12-07-2017, 10:10 AM   #13
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By the way the "Base" still is no slouch. It easily handles as well as a C6 Z51 or C6 Grand Sport. Plus, as far as my experience, it's everyday performance is excellent. Now if I stilled lived up in PA with windy twisty skinny roads I may have spent the extra bucks for a Z51 but, don't need it down here with 4 and 6 lane Florida roads. And my long trips back and forth I easily get 30-31 mpg. Just saying!
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:43 AM   #14
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I have had both and currently have the GS but for what U are wanting in a corvette get the base stingray, like all the others have said it rides better and cheaper to buy and maintain plus taxes and insurance are cheaper. I just paid my yrly. county taxes on my 17 GS, $663.00. I know different states and counties have different tax rates but they ain't cheap no matter where U live. Good luck with the purchase
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:46 AM   #15
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I have a 16 Base with Mag ride and a 17 GS. From inside the cabin, on a highway, it’s effectivley the same car. Depends on what you like the loloks of better. My base has no areo and averages 26 to 28 on highway. My GS with stage 2 was averaging 23-24 MPG on same stretch of highway. The difference readily becomes apparent once you decide to hit the brakes or try to go over a G in a corner. If your not tracking and not in love with the widebody look, you can save a lot of money! Side by side shows not a huge difference but the GS is definitely more aggressive looking.

Forgot to add, Base is a A8 and GS is a M7.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadbike56 View Post
OP, Keep in mind, the 18/19" wheels mentioned in post #3, are no longer standard as of the 2018 model year. All Corvettes now have 19/20" wheels.
Also, I'll be odd man out and vote against mag ride if you buy a base Corvette. Absolutely drive a base without mag ride to see if you want it. The three base C7s I tested were about the same as my Z51 with mag ride when the mag ride is in "Touring".
If you like a stiff ride once in a while, then go ahead and get the mag ride. Keep in mind, mag ride is not cheap. On the base its around $3K or more to add it and almost no dealer inventory will have it. If you find a car in dealer inventory that you like, I wouldn't let the mag ride be a deciding factor on a base Stingray. On a Z51 with the stiff ride, yes I'd recommend it.
Another vote for Mag Ride not being essential.

Though....I'm a Z51 owner and I am just fine without it. It's a nice feature on any car but I have zero regrets after a year and 25k on my Non-mag Z51. It really isn't that bumpy of a ride and I was happy to save a couple of bucks.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:10 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Campbell View Post
By the way the "Base" still is no slouch. It easily handles as well as a C6 Z51 or C6 Grand Sport. Plus, as far as my experience, it's everyday performance is excellent. Now if I stilled lived up in PA with windy twisty skinny roads I may have spent the extra bucks for a Z51 but, don't need it down here with 4 and 6 lane Florida roads. And my long trips back and forth I easily get 30-31 mpg. Just saying!
Mike: How many folks even drive the base or the Z-51 at it's handling limits on the street. Tracking the car is a different story. OP needs to decide what are the priorities. Then the decision is clear.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:22 AM   #18
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There are some advantages to the Z51 which are very desirable on the street. In particular Z51s have the very excellent electronic limited slip differential, and coupled with the FE4 suspension RPO code, which includes MSRC plus Performance Traction Management (PTM), it provides awesome street benefits.

PTM is one of the best features of the car, and I use it all the time on the street. If you use PTM in the appropriate mode for the conditions, the car just hooks all the time w/ virtually no loss of grip.

FE4 is not available on the base car.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:30 AM   #19
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I will most definitely be driving when temperatures are well below 40 degrees, even with some light snow at times. Therefore need to take tire availability into consideration.

Your statement above answers your question. There are no all season tires that will fit the rear wheels of the GS car (335/25x20). The idea that the base car is for people that don't care about handling is rubbish. The base car (as said above) handles better than the Z51 C6 and that car was no slouch. The base car will ride the smoothest of all C7s. The brake rotors are nitrate hardened so they wear less, don't rust and the brake pads generate almost no dust. If you want a little better handling for ~$450 you can have Z51 sway bars installed.

And there are run flat Michelin all season tires available. Everyone loves them.
https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...-3-review.html

Looks to me like the decision has been made.

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Old 12-07-2017, 02:37 PM   #20
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I passed on the Z51 for two reasons: The size of the tires and the size of the rear spoiler.

I have a 2016 SR M7 Coupe daily driver with almost 30K miles on it. I am completely satisfied with it as a mid-to-long distance GT car. I'm lucky that I got a model with 18"/19" tires. Not only are they quieter, but they're cheaper to replace. Also, they soak up road irregularities better.

As said, mine is a daily driver. I use the rear storage compartment daily to carry groceries, luggage, sports equipment, stuff from Home Depot, ...whatever. I did not want to contend with a huge spoiler every time I put something in the rear. No way.

I've had lots of sport cars. My previous was an '06 Porsche Cayman S. Before that, an '03 911. They were sweet cars. Great handling. But, I think my C7 "base" car is a better all round GT sports car. Its more comfortable, has more storage, gets waayyy better gas mileage, has more power, and yes, it handles great on the open road. No twitchy hyper sensitive steering. Just smooth cruising.... but with lightning quick reflexes when you want/need them. On the fast and combative freeways of So. Cal, my C7 Stingray is the perfect road warrior.
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