Weeks later, the rains came. I shouldn’t have been surprised – somebody up there has a sense of humour.
You know, the Apollo astronauts all drove Corvettes. Let’s light this candle.As anyone knows, a long dry spell followed by light rains creates possibly the most treacherous road conditions this side of sheeting black ice. Oil seeps up from the tarmac, mixing with the water to create a slick sheen that turns highways into slip-n’-slides. And, unlike when there’s actually a bit of snow on the ground, everyone forgets this and drives 200 km/h while texting cat pictures to their mom.
What you want is something with all-wheel-drive, the curb weight of an M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank, and modest power. A cruiser, not a bruiser. A surefooted refuge. Heck, maybe you should even just stay home.
However, what I have instead is a 455 hp small-block-powered cruise missile that looks a bit like Megatron’s private robot region. It’s got slats and edges and scallops and vents and rear-wheel-drive and something of a poor attitude towards traction. It’s a Corvette, the car that put the smack down on Aston-Martin and Ferrari at this year’s 24 Hours of LeMans, except this one’s missing the fire-suppression systems and I’m not supposed to wear a helmet.
You know, the Apollo astronauts all drove Corvettes. Let’s light this candle.
As luck would have it, I’ll have the chance to drive the new Corvette in both the rain and the dry. A week or so before this, weather conditions were just about perfect and I ran the car up to Squamish with Dan Heyman for a comparison shootout against the Boxster GTS. That’s pretty stiff competition, and there was a certain sad-trombone effect felt upon entering the Corvette’s cabin and seeing the sliding shifter of an automatic transmission; but the ‘Vette more than held its own.
As with the last Camaro to pass through the fleet out here, this Corvette is optioned skewing to greyscale. It’s not the autocrossers’ special, but the always-wanted-one empty-nesters’ delight. Thus, while this car wears fat tires and staggered 19-inch/20-inch alloys, they’re here as part of an appearance package, not the Z51 performance upgrade.
Despite the lack of tell-tale aerodynamic enhancements, this new Stingray still looks great, all boisterous American swagger. The single fussiness to the detailing is a somewhat flat-mouthed gawp in the front end, but aside from that, the car as a whole looks great.
A closer look: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: In Pictures
But then, always assuming you got one with exemplary fit and finish, the exterior of the Corvette was never a problem; it was the inside that really hurt. The exterior yelled “performance!”, but the seats of the old car yelled “bargain!” even louder.
This car smells the same, but immediately feels different. The seating position is a tad on the high side, but the surroundings are well above what they used to be. This instrument cluster needs to go in the Cadillac ATS as of yesterday, and the infotainment could also teach CUE a few lessons. Never mind the Caddy slogan, the Corvette is where GM dares greatly, and in here, they’ve done greatly as well.