2019 Grand Sport — A better choice for most Corvette buyers

By Jim Prueter

(September 20, 2019) It’s no secret that with the Corvette, Chevrolet delivers one of the best performing sports cars in the world with the best horsepower per dollar and bang for the buck. For 2019, Corvette is offered in four different trim levels, from the base Stingray starting at just $55,900 all the way to the super high performing 755-horsepower Corvette ZR1, reintroduced for 2019 with a starting price of $123,000.

In between those two models is the supercharged 650-horsepower Z06 priced at $80,900 and the 460-horsepower Grand Sport coupe starting at $65,900, with the optional convertible tested here for an additional $4,500.

The Grand Sport is best described as an amalgam of the base model Stingray and the asphalt- and tire-shredding Z06. Many of the aerodynamic components and other DNA are borrowed from the Z06, like the more aggressive gearing in the transmission, larger Brembo brakes, and a larger cooling system. The Grand Sport is almost four inches wider than the Stingray and equal to the Z06. The power is delivered to the rear wheels by way of the standard seven-speed manual shifter, however our test Grand Sport came equipped with the $1,995 optional eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.

An electronic limited slip differential and Magnetic Ride Control suspension are standard on the Grand Spot, and available on the base Stingray with the optional Z51 Performance package. Our Blade Silver Metallic convertible was trimmed with a jet black leather upholstered interior and black convertible top.

It was accented with the optional Grand Sport Heritage package ($4,795), a nod to the previous Grand Sports that includes torch red fender racing stripes, aluminum hash marks about the interior, and Grand Sport logo floor mats. We didn’t particularly like the red fender stripes that seemed to detract from rather than enhance the outward appearance. Overall, the Grand Sport exterior is definitely a looker with the wide body, massive tires, and ground-hugging stance.

Absent the fender stripes, the front end of the Grand Sport doesn’t look any different, maintaining the standard LED daytime running lights. 19-inch wheels are standard up front and 20-inches at the rear, with a choice of up to five different wheel styles for an additional up charge. Our test car came equipped with Michelin Pilot Super Sport P285/30ZR19 front and P335/25ZR20 rear, performance, run-flat summer-only tires, included in the optional 3LT Preferred Package. The tires are extremely wide; probably the widest I have ever driven on a press car.

The interior is the weakest feature of the Grand Sport, but it does look better with the upgraded 3LT package, with suede microfiber-wrapped upper trim package, NAPA leather seat inserts, leather wrapped door panels and center console. It’s not as outrageous as the Z06 or ZR1 and does look better than the base Stingray and certainly better than the previous generation Corvette, but still doesn’t feel special or especially up market.

Also know that the cabin is especially small and a complete deal breaker for taller drivers like myself (6’6”), with leg, shoulder and hip room akin to an economy class seat on a commercial airliner. Just getting in and out of the low sitting cabin burns about the same number of calories as 15 minutes of activity at the fitness center.

Standard operating features can be handled via the center-stack-mounted MyLink touchscreen infotainment system. It’s easy to use, with quick response to commands and features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G LTE mobile hotspot. Redundant infotainment controls are located on the steering wheel and cheap-looking buttons that accompany the operating screen. There are three USB ports. 

As expected, the Grand Sport delivers quick acceleration with force, but actually not as much as you might expect. Handling reflexes are quick and certa
in with performance cornering that’s flat and thrilling. Further, with the adjustable driving modes, you can dial in the driving experience to match your mood and be pleased with your choice. Like all Corvettes, the Grand Sport comes equipped with a Performance Data Recorder (PDR) that appears on the eight-inch touchscreen with a mere tap of the finger. Data from speed, RPM, throttle, and steering angle, track position, g force and lap times while in track mode, including 0-to-60 and quarter-mile times can be displayed. Plus, it’s stored on an SD card so you can upload it to your computer.

Overall, the Corvette Grand Sport occupies the precise middle of Corvette offerings with some of the good stuff from the Z06 grafted to the also good things from the base Stingray. You’ll enjoy putting it through track paces with adjustable Tour, Sport, and Track driving modes including improved throttle response and the performance of the standard magnetic ride control and performance suspension, along with the mellifluous exhaust notes courtesy of the selectable multi-mode adjustment. The Corvette remains a genuine value with a legitimately affordable price, given its value for the money.

Additionally, Chevrolet has just introduced an all-new eighth-generation Corvette that was introduced to the automotive media this past July, and will switch to a mid-engine layout. It will go on sale by the end of the year.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $70,400
Price as Tested: $84,030
Engine: 6.2-liter 460-horsepower V-8 connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 15-mpg City – 25-mpg Highway – 18-mpg Combined
Seating: 2

Crash Test Results: Like most luxury sports cars, the Chevrolet Corvette has not been crash tested by either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Where Built: Bowling Green, Kentucky

Competes With:
Alfa Rome 4C
Jaguar F-Type
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Cayman

Fab Features
Massive acceleration
Superb handling
Selectable/adjustable drive modes