2018 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Carbon 65 Edition Test Drive

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2018 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, Carbon 65 Edition            Photo: L Baures

 

Every once in a while, I get to drive and test out a bunch of new vehicles before they hit the market. I was fortunate enough to get to drive the 2018 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. Even luckier is that it happened to be the Carbon 65 Edition, which is a special edition released by Chevy to commemorate 65 years of Corvette.

Quick facts

  • 2 Seater sports car
  • Coupe or convertible
  • Rear wheel drive
  • ‘LT1’ 6.2 V8 Engine
  • Rated at 460hp
  • 465lb-ft torque
  • 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds
  • Aluminium block
  • 7-speed manual or 8-speed automatic
  • Weighs 3428 lbs (coupe)
  • Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension

Impressions of the look

The Corvette Grand Sport (GS) is in the middle of the Corvette model line up, above the Stingray and below the Z06. This car is no middle of the road machine though. It has that iconic sports car look. The styling is just beautiful. It could be parked up with a cover over it and still look fast. I’ve always been a sucker for sports cars in white, and this one looks like it is an ‘off-white’ or a matt white color. According to Chevrolet though it’s gray, Ceramic Matrix Gray to be precise, which is the limited edition color included in the Carbon 65 edition package. I like it, it gives it more of a race car feel as opposed to a gleaming pearlescent paint on road cars.

On top of the regular Corvette, the Carbon 65 package offers, even more, trim to give it that race car look. Graphic decals on the fenders and doors, black wheels, and blue painted brake calipers. Carbon-fiber spoiler and quarter intake ducts (coupe only) also added. Carbon Flash badges and exterior mirrors along with a black suede interior really take this styling up a notch. Wait for it though, the best part is…

The steering wheel

The steering wheel is about as good as gets before being a Formula 1 steering wheel. Some of you may know I kind of have a thing for steering wheels. Ultimately it’s what connects you to the car. Can’t say I’ve ever actually held an F1 steering wheel but I’ve seen on tv, does that count? The Carbon 65 edition steering wheel is perfect. It has carbon-fiber grips on the top and the bottom making it easier to catch along with suede on the sides. The perfect combination of two materials making it very grippy. The shape and size are also great making it comfortable even for little people like me.

Getting in

Speaking of being little (5’3″), getting in a car that’s so low to the ground wasn’t too tricky. The sills aren’t as high as something like a Lotus so it didn’t feel I like I clambered too much. Might be a little trickier if you are taller, however, once seated it does feel like the interior layout is geared towards a more average-sized to taller person. I had to move the seat a fair bit forward to get a good press on the clutch. This only became a problem when trying to turn and the seat bolsters were right behind my elbows. If this a car you’re considering, make sure you go sit in one first.

The drive

The Corvette was a blast to drive. I’m sure this has been said many times before but after testing lot’s of other cars that day and the day before, it was refreshing to note that the Corvette is still a drivers car. Lot’s of feedback from the steering and rear wheels. Being naturally aspirated, the acceleration power band is very linear and smooth. I did accidentally go from fourth-gear to seventh, looking for fifth though. Apparently, I wasn;t the only one that did this. The suspension is a short/long arm double wishbone set-up with transverse-mounted composite springs and Magnetic Selective Ride Control. You may want to visit the restroom and/or remove dentures before driving. The suspension is very stiff and it will rattle your kidneys. This makes it all the better and responsive for tight turns though. I had it set to Sport (and traction control turned off). The grip on the dry roads is incredible. The 19″ Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (summer track tires) held on and held on and on. Can’t comment for the guy that took it out in the torrential rain a couple of hours later. I also got to the drive a Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody that same day and someone asked which one did I prefer. It’s not really fair to compare them. They are completely different cars, but if you are more into smooth acceleration, fast, tight turns, predictable handling, and hard suspension, the Corvette has it all.

Limited edition really means limited on this Corvette

Only 650 of the Carbon 65 edition will be made available worldwide. Prices start at $66,490 for the Grand Sport in the Coupe and $70,490 for the convertible. The Carbon Edition package is $15,000. For more information, or to see if you at least fit in one, give Fremont Motors Chevy a call.

 

Corvette back end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“2018 Corvette Carbon 65 Edition Marks Milestone.” Media.gm.com, General Motors, 10 Apr. 2017

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