Cars of Fall, the Review: 2013 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible
September 26, 2012 | 4:01 pm
(Updated: March 18, 2013 | 5:43 pm)
These is just something about the rumble of a Corvette that gets my blood pumping; if it were a man it might just be love at first sight. Now a regular ole Corvette is one thing, but a Grand Sport is something else; add to that a Convertible and what you are on the brink of is one of the most powerful and capable Corvette models on the market. The “Big Daddy” to them all is the ZR1…and it only starts at a mere $112K base MSRP. I think I will take two (at least in my dreams). So if you can’t have the top of the top, then let me tell you the 2013 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible isn’t a bad place to look. It has the body of a Z06 (the step under a ZR1) and the standard 436-hp V8, which let’s face it is enough power for most people. Heck it can run the 0-60 mph sprint in about 4.4 seconds.
Okay, so even the Grand Sport Convertible isn’t cheap at $78,485 as tested, but I wanted to include it in this Cars of Fall grouping because it truly is a piece of Americana and the Corvette is celebrating its 60th Anniversary for the 2013 model year. Think about that, the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette was the beginning of something that would continue to create passion among Americans for the next 60 years and likely beyond. Ironically, the Corvette started out as a convertible or roadster style vehicle and didn’t even have roll up windows. Like many of its 1950s competition it had side curtains as it was originally trying to compete with the European roadsters like the MGA, Austin Healey and Jaguar XK120, just to name a few. Imagine what it was like to motor around the Colorado Rockies in the Fall of 1953 in the brand-new Corvette; those trendsetters probably didn’t have a inkling of the long history the Corvette would write in America.
Fast-forward back to today and what you will find in the Corvette line is one of the most powerful and advanced American sports cars on the market. Actually, it is hard to decide whether the Corvette is a sports car or a muscle car. In the ZR1 package it certainly breathes fire and even in the base Corvette you have a car that will grab rubber under many different circumstances. Whether you opt for calling it a sports car or a muscle car or perhaps just a “Vette”, the experience is certainly unique.
While it is a piece of Americana, the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible doesn’t get off the hook easy; no, it still has to be critiqued like any other car that I review. From the outside the Corvette Grand Sport is a beautiful design with a low and wide stance, air intake in the front nose, flared-fenders (the main upgrade to the exterior from the base model) and classic twin circle taillights. Add the 60th Anniversary design package and outfits the Corvette with Anniversary design badges, silver racing stripes, Diamond Blue interior and a matching blue top with racing stripes built into the fabric top. You also will see special edition 60th Anniversary wheels and the anniversary logo stitched in the headrests of the seats.
Speaking of the interior, this is really where the Corvette Grand Sport and Chevrolet should do some expectation setting. The outside can compete with any German car on the market and is a unique vehicle out on the road (though the new Dodge Viper might be out for blood). The inside, however, is well appointed, but still suffers from classic Corvette syndrome; in other words it seems dated. Sure it has power adjustable seat bolsters, cool electronic doors that you open with a push a button (with manual back-up levers on the floor), navigation, climate control, Bluetooth and Heads-Up Display, but what it is missing is the refinement that these options are executed with in competing Japanese and German cars. When you put a $78K Corvette Grand Sport Convertible up against a BMW or Mercedes convertible, the look, touch and perception of quality is totally different and in favor of the competitors.
So why do people over looks this and still buy a Corvette? There is nothing like it once you get out on the road. The 2013 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible is heart-throbbing, neighbor annoying fun. If you can’t get a date rolling up in this car, then you might need to consult someone about your planetary and moon alignment. It is just a car people recognize as hot and obviously you have to have a little bit of green to buy it, run it and live with the limited functionality it provides. As I said though, the driving experience is one that you won’t find anywhere else. It is raw, yet has enough safeguards to keep you safe. One of the features that takes it from “King of the Track” to “Urban Cruiser” is the magnetic ride control. With the turn of a knob you can go from a more harsh sports suspension to something that is actually comfortable to cruise around the cobblestone and pothole dotted streets of downtown.
Out on the curves the Corvette may seem a little heavy to some, but you have to consider this is a large car, with large wheels, so it isn’t going to be as nimble as say a MINI Cooper Coupe. It is also very evident that this is a rear-wheel drive, something enthusiasts still rejoice over. Okay, we will admit, it is pretty could to snap the Vette around in a cloud of smoke and tire squealing. Ahem, not that we recommend that or…anyway, so the driving aspect really gets back to being a drivers car with the exhaust note from the Dual-Mode exhaust that sounds like the muscle cars of yesteryear.
Add to all of what I have said above that our test car was the convertible with the power top and what you have is an American made and American loved weekend cruiser perfect for a cool fall evening (thank you heated seats). Then once Spring is back in full swing, oh the places you can go.
It would be easy to end there huh? I know, I know, some of you are saying, but what about the economy figures. Might as well end on a “bomb shell” like Jeremy Clarkson; the 2013 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible gets 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg out on the highway. That is right inline with SUVs, Trucks and other high-powered sports and luxury cars. Again, we find ourselves choosing between style or substance.