It is unfortunate for Corvette. Yours truely has a dislike for arrogant American politicians, hypocritical American standards and values, hypocritical American religious fanatics and everything for which America stands.
Thus with a test drive in the Corvette, all stereotypes were on hand. The car had to be photographed in a ghetto with walls full of graffiti; in the background the hazy logo of a fast-food chain. Preferably, the test car would be in bright red, with an extravagant design of flames and the American flag.
During the first encounter, one preconception was confirmed: the interior is made for short men with thick waists. Tall, slim Europeans have little headroom, which required the seat being placed in an almost horizontal position. The headrests are integrated into the chairs and are too low for drivers taller than 1m80.
The new dashboard of this improved Corvette has a high plastic content. The interior of the Corvette doesn't radiate the refinement of a European car. If the driver even thinks about making a mistake, this is reprimanded with an annoying bell.
However that's enough of preconceptions. The Corvette is positively able to distinguish itself from its competitors with its considerable luggage space. The electronics are simply revolutionary. Many functions can be voice-activated. The Corvette was the first car ever with “head up” display; and this newest generation also projects the speed, the rev count and indications of the navigation system in the air in front of the car. Thus, allowing the driver to keep their eyes safely on the road at all times.
The Corvette requires some getting used to. The seating is very low and the car is extremely wide. Roads seem to be spontaneously much narrower! The bonnet is so long that the driver feels to be sitting in the back of the car. The voluptuous folds of the bodywork are handy to estimate how large the Corvette is exactly. The (too) small side mirrors have an enormous enlarging factor, which requires a little familiarisation. It makes the Corvette different, but certainly not worse.
Very quickly the strangeness becomes appreciation. In America the Corvette is available in three flavours; in Europe, the only one available is the most sporty model. Moreover this version is equipped with an even sturdier suspension and even more direct steering. In particular the test driven C6 has been strongly improved on this point and this is noticeable. The steering, and especially the feeling for the driver, stands at the same high level as that of renowned European sports car manufacturers.
It wasn't long before the speed was increased and the real fun began. The Corvette stays neutral for a long time. Only those expressly provoking the car are treated to a traditional case of over-steer (the rear of the car breaking away).
Every Corvette has an open roof which makes the experience more intense. The transparent roof panel of the test driven coupé can be removed and fits exactly into the boot (there is still space below for cases). Up to about 60 km/hr the Corvette without its roof panel is very comfortable; above that, the rear window has the impression of being in a wind tunnel with the wind thundering.
Whoever enjoys driving with the roof open, would be better off getting the convertible. This offers a greater sense of freedom and more comfort with an open roof.
The beast is loose!
As is the case with American sports cars there is an enormous motor in front which has been designed to deliver a lot of power even at low revs. When it's driven in normal traffic, the needle of the rev counter lazily lies dow.
A gentle tap on the gas is more than sufficient to get the majority of GTi's going. At just 2,000 revs per minute, the beast is let loose. Then this Corvette consumes fast sport coupé's and hot hatchbacks. It is done so easily that the Corvette summons a superior feeling which is usually set aside for real super cars.
However ... above 4,000 revs per minute the beast changes into a monster. This is a four-headed dragon from which thunder and lightning is spat from its four exhaust pipes! The noise of the engine is brutal and awesome as only an American can. With the open roof, that experience is even more spectacular.
With the subtlety of a kick in the back the Corvette accelerates. Acceleration does not stop; even at 200 km/hr full throttle gives the impression that the rest of the traffic is standing still. This feeling stops just short of a blistering 306 km/hr!
When the accelerator is released, the car draws back very abruptly as if the brake has kicked in! Since the Corvette is 250 kg lighter than similar competitors, this American obtains an absolutely crushing performance of 437 bhp.
A white one please
This isn't some dodgy American, but a sublime sports car to be enjoyed. All preconceptions can be dumped in the trash can, all grotesque photo ideas can be thrown overboard. The Corvette looks its best in white, without spurious stickers. This car belongs in modern surroundings and is set on film as such. Corvette couldn't have had a better test-driver: full of preconceptions he got into the car and stepped out converted!
Corvette doesn't need to advertise; the brand name is well known enough. However Corvette does have to contend with a lot of preconceptions in Europe. An extensive encounter teaches that the preconceptions are nearly all unfounded. The design and finishing lacks European refinement, but that's about it. The finish, the road handling and the performance are sublime. This is a pure sports car to enjoy every drive again and again!
Whether the Corvette is better than other sport cars is purely personal. An English man can race over the b-roads with a roaring 200 km/hr, but is that civilised. An Italian sports car can scare the living daylights out of its passengers, but is that stylish. This American marks out a purely, brutal and untamed violence which is just delicious in a car like this! (Ivo Kroone)