Grand gesture

The Chevrolet Corvette used to be a sportscar that cynical Europeans tended to dismiss.

Since it got rather serious in sixth generation C6 form though, they’ve all had to shut up, for this Chevy really does have genuine talent. If you thought all the fun had gone out of sports cars, you simply have to try one. In fact, I’ll be more specific: try a Grand Sport version.

Though sixty from rest is just 4.3s away in this car, there are faster Corvettes than this one. The 7.0-litre Z06 variant with 512PS on tap, or the supercharged 6.2-litre ZR1 with its 647PS output, the fastest Chevy ever made. But straightaway speed was never the issue with this car, which is why I think that the best Corvette to choose is the Grand Sport version I tried.

True, it has the same 437PS V8 engine as the standard C6 V8, but what’s important is that it gains the ‘Z16 Performance Package’ handling tweaks than make the two extreme flagship Z-car models so satisfying. That means stiffer springs and stabiliser bars, specific shock absorbers, larger brakes, specific tyres and a more responsive manual transmission, if that’s the gearbox you select.

All of this makes a massive difference to what this car will do when presented with a corner.

Though there’s an old-sounding leaf spring rear suspension set-up, it’s a very sophisticated one.

In fact, this transverse composite single leaf spring set-up offers independent articulation of each wheel, with less un-sprung weight than many rival set-ups, better durability, a lower centre of gravity and, on this sixth generation model, the whole thing even doubles as an anti-roll bar.

On top of this, one of the other advantages of choosing this Grand Sport model is that you get the choice of the convertible as well as the coupe bodystyle and you can specify the clever Magnetic selective ride control system so that you don’t have to put up with the standard rather hard set-up when you don’t want it.