Tuesday, October 20, 2015

2016 Chevy Corvette Stingray Z51 Convertible: Sleek, High-Tech And Powerful!!

Highlights:  An optional front view camera is offered to keep from scrubbing the vehicle up against the curb. Moreover, the convertible top can be opened and closed on the go at speeds up to 30-mph.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $79,415 (Base Price $56,395)

Seating Capacity: 2

Standard Safety Features: air bags; all-speed traction control; a rearview camera; ABS; and OnStar

Standard Equipment: 18-inch (front) and 19-inch (rear) wheels; a 7-speed manual transmission; HID; a removable roof panel; a stainless steel exhaust tape; a 3.42 rear axle; a speed sensitive power steering system; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a push button ignition starter system; a built-in Wi-Fi; a power operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; an electric locking storage box behind the infotainment screen; and an 8-inch infotainment screen

Options On Review Model: power bolster seat adjuster with lumbar support; heated and ventilated front seats; power heated outside mirrors; automatic dimming mirror; Napa leather inserts; custom leather wrapped panels and doors; premium audio system with surround sound; satellite radio; performance data and recorder with navigation; an advanced theft deterrent system; heads up display system; curb view cameras; a magnetic ride control system; a carbon fiber interior package; customer red brake caliper; black painted 19-inch front/20-inch rear aluminum wheels; red custom leather stitching throughout the vehicle; and a black convertible top

Other Trim Levels:



Suspension System:  4-wheel independent

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a Bose 9-speaker AM/FM radio with Satellite radio and streaming for music; Pandora, TuneIn radio, Stitcher and Siri Eyes

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 mile warranty

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 mile warranty

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 6.2-liter, 8-cylinder/455-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 17-city/29-hwy

What’s New: With the exception of a few design package tweaks and such optional items as a front curb view parking camera, the sports car is basically a carryover.

Pros: The sleek rear wheel drive Corvette Stingray, with its flared out Ferrari like rear end, is available as a hardtop or a soft top convertible in several trims: a base model, a Z06 high-performance vehicle; and the Z51 model, which we reviewed.

Since the current generation Corvette Stingray made its debut at the North American International Auto Show in 2013, we’ve been eagerly waiting to get behind the wheel. Finally, after a three year wait, our dream ride rolled in Labor Day weekend. And this wasn’t just the typical high powered performance car. This was one was a vibrant Torch red, 7-speed manual with a convertible soft top. As a side note, a clutchless automatic transmission with paddle shifters is available. 

While our vehicle was outfitted with a 6.2-liter, 8-cylinder engine, which spewed out 455-horsepower, those thrill seekers yearning for more oomph, should be able to fulfill their desire by stepping up to the pricier Z06 trim, which pushes out 650-horsepower. And if that’s not enough to tickle one’s fancy, we’re not sure what is.

Thank God we found the standard engine, with the 7 gears, to be more than enough for us!  In fact, we never used the 7th gear. Its was just unnecessary, unless we were on a controlled racetrack. In our eyes, the 7th gear just screamed -- danger zone. So, by all accounts, it’s safe to assume not shifting beyond the 6th gear, this allowed us to remain street legal and steer clear from drawing any additional unwarranted attention (and speeding tickets too).

The 6.2-liter manual we reviewed was driven by the optional Z51 package.  The Z51 package consisted of a performance suspension, 19-inch front and 20-inch rear black painted aluminum wheels, a rear differential cooler, a multi-mode performance exhaust system, a dry sump oil system and performance brakes.

Our street legal hot rod was capable of zooming from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds, according to one of our reliable sources. No, we didn’t get a chance to measure it ourselves. Coincidentally, we would have been able to capture and record the speed without relying on a source had we had the proper SIM card to install in our optional performance data and video recorder.

Yes, the car we’ve been waiting for three years was outfitted with everything, but the kitchen seat. Our Corvette Stingray even included GM’s in-car hotspot system. Even those with a two seater has to slow down, park and get some work done, this is how they’re able to afford the healthy monthly payments.  

Moreover, the new Corvette Stingray was also equipped with different driving modes: economy, tour, sport, track and weather. As an added factor to enhance the driving comfort of our Corvette Stingray, our vehicle was outfitted with a magnetic ride control system. The magnetic ride control system was capable of adjusting to twisty curves, city trips and long distance hauls. Unfortunately, we were only able to experience two of the three driving conditions. This is one vehicle that won’t beat you up and make you yearn for a luxury car. We can remember spending time into a two seater import that literally beat us up, after making a 140 mile round trip stretch.

Besides the overall driving experience, its obvious that the Stingray interior designers wanted to make sure the inside of the cabin was on point, too, trading-in the plastic and the disjointed layout from the previous generation Corvette interior for a mixture of suede and carbon fiber, leather stitched panels and doors and a flat bottom steering wheel. The engineers even incorporated GM’s signature hiding slide away storage area, which is located behind the infotainment screen. The fit and finish of the current generation Corvette Stingray is on par with the luxury sports imports from Audi and Porsche.

Added to that, this two seats sports vehicle was designed with cargo room in mind. We had room to store luggage and groceries, no matter if the top was up or down.

Furthermore, this is the most fuel efficient Corvette to date. With the standard engine, the vehicle can achieve close to 30-mpg. This is unheard for a performance car. Surprising, there are number of brand new non performance compact crossovers that can achieve such a number.

And lastly, the all-weather vehicle is ready for any change of temperature. The It only takes a few seconds to open or close the fully automated soft top. The seats can be ventilated or heated within a matter of seconds, too! 

Cons:  Our biggest regrets it that the Corvette Stingray audio system doesn’t appear to be the best in the class. It lacked the crystal clear concert sound we were expecting.  Furthermore, the infotainment system doesn’t allow for traditionalist like us a place to load in our CDs. Why bring back the Stingray name if we can’t keep old school features like a CD player? It’s not like we’re asking for a cassette player or an 8-track player.

Verdict:  The well-built current generation Corvette Stingray is priced below the competition and provided us with a thrilling and eye-catching experience many could only dream of. Yes, this current generation Corvette is worthy of reclaiming the Stingray name which hasn’t been used in decades. In fact, the vehicle is selling so well that the higher priced Viper is making plans to back out of the segment in 2017.

Competition: Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R