Best Performance Value on the Market?

2011 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Corvette Grand Sport hits the sweet spot

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, a corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship used by the French Navy since 1670.

When General Motors needed a name for its all-new, small, maneuverable two-seat sports car, a photographer reportedly suggested the Corvette name, thus transforming the term into an American icon nearly overnight.

When the first Corvette arrived back in 1953, though, there wasn’t much about it that could justify the “sports car” label. While current iterations of the ‘Vette might be described as “firebreathing,” the original inline 6-cylinder was hardly more powerful than the pilot light on my aging furnace.

Obviously that all changed when Chevrolet introduced a small-block V8 engine in 1955 and embarked on nearly six decades of continuous improvement to America’s sports car.

Today the Corvette Grand Sport just might be the best performance value on the planet, with a starting MSRP of just over $55K.

For that, buyers get a 430-hp V8 and the same six-piston front brake calipers and four-piston rears (with cross-drilled rotors all around) that the wicked $74K Corvette Z06 sports. Launch control even comes standard on models with the 6-speed manual gearbox.

911, Z06 or ZR1?

On either side of the Grand Sport trim, though, offerings from the competition might make more sense. On the low side sit the Porsche Boxster, Nissan 370Z and Audi S5, all formidable competitors to be sure. Spending upwards of $80-$110K for the Z06 or ZR1 is also questionable when the Porsche 911, BMW M5 and even the Audi R8 are within reach.

The Grand Sport hits the sweet spot in the middle and becomes even more desirable on the used market. DealFinder suggests late-model used Corvettes hold their value quite nicely, which makes an investment in some value-priced American speed all the more attractive.

Let’s say you were given up to $60K to spend on a sports car. Would a Corvette be on your shopping list?


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  1. @ Randy
    Interesting how you are not a Corvette fan Randy, yet over 51 years you keep going for rides….. (1957 – 2008). Corvettes are what they are, a fun car to drive with a long history and you either like them or you don’t.

  2. I guess GM markets the Corvette the same way Harley Davidson markets their hawgs, which is the motorcycle equivalent of big SUV’s and Corvettes. The people who tend to buy them want big, loud, lead-footed thrills and the qualities of a Lotus (shucks you can even get a used Ferrari for $60K), Porsche or BMW are lost on such folks.

  3. A Lotus Exige or Elise, any year, any specification; a real sports car. Too bad the Lotus factory is stopping production in order to make more automotive jewelry for those with too much money.

  4. The first ‘vette I ever drove was a 1963 split-window with the standard 327/4 speed. Since then I think I’ve been able to ride in or drive virtually every model of the Corvette from 1957 to 2008, including the Z models. If I can say anything about this car, it’s a sports car only in the sense that it has 2 seats. My impression of the Corvette has always been that it is a blunt instrument. Big, overpowered, heavy, imprecise, loud, hot, with huge sticky oversize tires and a few models have even been a bit ugly. In other words, pure GM ersatz sports car. Frankly, Pontiac and Saturn did better with their 2-seater, and even the Buick Reatta was more of a sports car than the Corvette. I remember a driver training session at the track a few years ago when one of our best test engineers was able to overtake a C6/Z51 with our stock BMW M3. Sure, the big V8 in the ‘vette had a bit more straight-line speed, but the M3, especially in the hands of a good driver, handily out handled the Corvette.
    I can think of a long list of cars I’d rather have than a Corvette, and many are a lot cheaper than $60 grand. Audi TT, Acura NSX, classic Austin Healy, BMW Z3 or Z4.

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