The Chevrolet Corvette has long been a top performance bargain, but with improvements over the past three years, plus upgrades for 2012, the lineup just keeps getting better.
Available in both coupe and convertible forms in base and Grand Sport trims, or coupe-only in Z06 and ZR1 trims, the Corvette is an edgy and instantly recognizable silhouette no matter which you choose. The shovel-nosed, stub-tail look has held up well in the current generation, but the interior is looking dated–and with a new ‘Vette on the way for 2014, it’s not likely to change much next year, either.
Three different V-8 engines are available depending on the model chosen: the base Corvette and Grand Sport get a 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 engine rated at up to 436 horsepower; the Z06 gets its 505 horsepower from a 7.0-liter LS7; and the ZR1 uses a supercharged 6.2-liter supercharged LS9 to put out 638 horsepower. Whichever you choose, performance is electricifying with either automatic or manual transmissions.
The manual-transmission models come with standard launch control, helping them reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, with the Z06 shaving that to 3.9 seconds and the ZR1 a scant 3.4 seconds. Despite the obvious speed, the Corvette range handles well, too, with crisp, communicative steering. Excellent brakes are also par for the Corvette course.