2008 Corvette New Car Test Drive
The Corvette is the great American sports car. It's thrilling to drive, with breathtaking acceleration performance and excellent grip for hard braking and high-speed cornering.
Value isn't the first thing that comes to mind when talk turns to the Chevrolet Corvette, but the Corvette is one of the best bangs for the buck when it comes to high performance. For the price of a midsize luxury sedan, the Corvette delivers supercar performance. It's easy to drive on a daily basis, and maintenance costs are not exotic.
2008 brings an all-new V8 engine for the Corvette Coupe and Convertible. The new LS3 V8 is larger, at 6.2 liters versus the previous 6.0-liter LS2 engine. Output is now 430 horsepower, an increase of 30. An optional dual-mode exhaust system raises horsepower to 436.
Indeed, the 2008 Corvette can lap a racing circuit nearly as quickly as the previous-generation Z06, a legendary car. The new LS3 engine rumbles wonderfully, and the acceleration it produces is intoxicating.
We love the standard Coupe, with either the manual or Paddle Shift automatic. It quickly infuses a driver with confidence. Its brakes are fantastic. And, it's blazingly fast. The six-speed automatic transmission works great and lives up to the advanced technology in the rest of the car; it can be shifted manually with levers on the steering column.
And the convertible is plain wonderful. Drop the top on a nice day, pop in your favorite CD, and you might have what psychologists call a peak experience, a moment where you revel in being alive. It's a fantastic feeling, and at those moments the Corvette more than justifies its price. The aural sounds of the burbling V8, the body-colored trim that surrounds the cabin, the feel of power beneath, it's automotive heaven.
The Corvette can be a reasonably comfortable daily driver in most locales, for at least three of the four seasons. The latest-generation Corvette is not a crude car, and its performance does not exact a painful toll on driver or passenger. It gets an EPA-rated 26 mpg Highway, better than most SUVs.
The Corvette Z06 is a true supercar for a price that's merely expensive, as opposed to insanely expensive. The Z06 gets the 505-hp LS7 V8, a lightweight chassis, and upgraded brakes. If any $70,000 car can be called a bargain, this is the one, at least in terms of raw performance. The Corvette Z06 accelerates faster, grips better and stops shorter than European sports cars that cost twice as much. And we find it easier to drive than a Viper. It takes an expensive machine to compete with a Z06.
For 2008, Chevrolet Corvette gets more standard features, including OnStar tele-aid service, XM Satellite Radio, an auxiliary audio input jack, and auto-dimming mirrors. A more luxurious leather package has recently been added as well.
The 2008 Chevrolet Corvette is available as a coupe or convertible, with either a manual or automatic transmission. The Z06 model is available only as a fixed-roof coupe.
The Corvette coupe ($45,170) and convertible ($53,510) are powered by a 6.2-liter V8 with 430 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard; a six-speed Paddle Shift automatic ($1,250) is optional. An optional dual-mode exhaust system ($1,195) raises horsepower to 436.
The Corvette coupe features a one-piece removable roof panel in body color (standard) or transparent plastic ($750). The dual-roof option ($1,400) includes both. The convertible comes standard with a manually operated soft top; a power soft top is part of the 3LT option package ($5,100) and has a heated glass window in back.
Standard features for the Corvette include leather seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control with a pollen filter, power everything (including seats), cruise control, tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry and starting, AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack, XM satellite radio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlights, alarm, fog lights, xenon headlights, OnStar telematics, and P245/40ZR18 front and P275/35ZR19 rear run-flat tires on alloy wheels. The Convertible adds sport seats with adjustable lumbar support and side bolsters. The sport seats are included with Preferred Equipment Group 2LT ($1,495) for the coupe, which also adds six-way adjustments for the passenger seat, side airbags, a rear cargo net and luggage shade.
Two suspension options are offered for both coupe and convertible. The Z51 Performance Handling Package ($1,695) is designed for track events, while Magnetic Selective Ride Control ($1,695) automatically switches from extra-firm to more comfortable touring settings with electronically controlled variable damping.
Preferred Equipment Group 3LT ($4,505) includes a head-up display, heated seats with position memory, a premium Bose stereo with 6-disc CD changer, redundant steering wheel controls, a power telescoping steering column, universal garage door opener, and rearview mirror with compass. Preferred Equipment Group 4LT includes 3LT and adds custom leather upholstery on the top of the instrument panel, upper door panels, and console cover, as well as extra armrest padding, crossed flags seat embroidery and a special console trim plate.
Options include DVD navigation ($1,750), which includes the Bose audio and voice recognition; chromed aluminum wheels ($1,850); polished aluminum wheels ($1,295); and dark gray painted wheels ($395). Customers can also opt to take delivery of their cars at the Corvette Museum ($490). The event is broadcast on the internet and customers receive a plaque, special door badges, and a one year membership to the museum.
The Corvette Z06 coupe ($70,175) comes with a 7.0-liter V8 producing 505 horsepower, with dry-sump lubrication and coolers for the power steering pump, gearbox and rear differential. Beyond the engine, the Z06 package includes a host of high-performance components, starting with hydro-formed aluminum frame rails (rather than the hydro-formed steel rails used in the standard Corvette). The Z06 hardtop is fixed in place. Its brakes are upgraded, its tires are huge (P285/35ZR18 fronts and P325/30ZR19 rears), and it's offered only with the six-speed manual transmission. The head-up display comes standard.
Two option packages are available for Z06. The 2LZ Preferred Equipment Group ($3,045) has side airbags; power telescoping steering column; steering wheel audio controls; heated seats; memory for the seats, mirrors and steering wheel; the Bose audio system; universal garage door opener; cargo net; and cargo cover. The 3LZ Preferred Equipment Group ($6,545) has the 2LZ equipment plus the 4LT package items. Polished aluminum wheels are available ($1,495).
Safety features that come standard on all models include dual-stage front airbag.