Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible review

New version of classic Chevrolet Corvette Stingray sports car drops its top

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The latest Corvette Stingray Convertible offers straight-line performance and handling that are a match for cars costing far more. It’s dripping with character and style. It’s not just a brash brute, either. Left-hand drive will limit its appeal in the UK, but those who do opt for a Corvette will be making few other compromises.

Even though Chevrolet is pulling out of Europe in 2015, the Corvette Stingray – and this convertible version – is still coming over here. And Auto Express has been behind the wheel.

Aside from its roof, the convertible is mechanically identical to the coupe, so it benefits from the same ultra-stiff structure. Over even the roughest roads we could find in southern California, the Stingray’s chassis didn’t once shake or twist.

With the top down, the car’s roaring exhaust sounds great – and an even louder one is available as an option. Yet with the thickly insulated hood in place, the convertible is nearly as quiet as the hard-top model – there’s only a hint of wind roar around the rear seals of the side windows. Naturally, luggage space suffers, but 283 litres is still pretty generous, even if there is no external boot release.

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The convertible uses the same 449bhp V8 as the coupe, paired with a seven-speed manual gearbox that features rev-matching downshifts as standard. Although the Corvette isn’t quite a cut-price Ferrari, it comes awfully close. Its electric power-steering is a little light in standard mode, but a spin of a console-mounted dial brings up track settings that offer more weight and quicker responses. The convertible gives up little to the hard-top in terms of outright handling over winding roads – grippy tyres and sharp steering responses make the Corvette easy to drive fast.

Its suspension is firm, but comfortable enough in standard configuration – it’s stiffer still in the optional Z51 set-up that will more than likely be standard on European models. Z51s also feature Magnetic Ride Control.

The Brembo brakes stop the car well; choose the Z51 package and you get larger discs that are even more effective. Trouble is, the Corvette comes up short inside. The car is only available in left-hand drive for now, and while the finish is much better than before, some hard plastics remain. That’s fine for a US price of around £34,000 ($56,000), but in the UK, this car will cost more than £60,000.

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