There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to the C7 Corvette’s portfolio. There are four main models — Stingray, Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR1 — with three engines, two transmissions and a number of optional performance packages. Each variant is available as a coupe or convertible. The drop top is a $4,500 premium across the board. An 8-speed automatic will set you back $1,995. That’s all before getting into all the colors, wheels, carbon-fiber accents and various trims that add features like heated seats and a heads-up display. Here’s a brief breakdown of the various models along with a few deals we’ve found.
The base Corvette Stingray starts at $56,995 and packs a naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V8 making 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Power on all Corvettes is sent to the rear wheels through either a 7-speed manual or 8-speed automatic. The Stingray will hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 185 mph. There are three basic trim levels — 1LT, 2LT and 3LT — with each adding more and more features, though performance remains basically the same.
While the standard Stingray is plenty capable, we highly recommend the $5,000 Z51 performance package. In addition to a 5-horsepower bump, Z51-equipped cars come with larger brakes (13.5-inch front and 13.3-inch rear rotors), an upgraded suspension, a dry-sump oiling system, revised gear ratios, an electronic limited-slip differential, Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires, a dual-mode performance exhaust, differential and transmission coolers, and revised aero to improve high-speed stability. You can go even further with Magnetic Ride Control and Performance Traction Management for another $1,795.
Corvette Grand Sport
The $67,490 C7 Grand Sport is the next step up in the Corvette lineup. It, too, comes in three separate trim levels. The Grand Sport retains the Stingray’s 460-horsepower 6.2-liter V8, but gets the wider bodywork from the Corvette Z06. The two-piece 14.6-inch front and 14.4-inch rear rotors are straight off the Z06, too. A dry-sump oiling system, Magnetic Ride Control and the eLSD are all standard equipment. The suspension has been tuned specifically for the Grand Sport. Zero to 60 mph times drop to 3.5 seconds, though fuel economy remains unchanged.
Of course, you can go even further with the optional Z07 package. At $7,995, it’s not cheap, but we recommend it for those who plan to track their cars regularly. On the Grand Sport, the Z07 package adds carbon-ceramic brakes, Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires and a revised suspension setup. The value of those tires can’t be overstated. In our first drive, we described the Cup 2s as “round donuts full of dark magic” that increase lateral grip to 1.2 g and, along with the brakes, reduce stopping distances from 60 mph to less than 100 feet. You might call it a parts-bin car, but it might just be the best value in the C7 lineup.
Here’s where things get really bonkers. The Corvette Z06 starts at $81,995, a significant step up from a base Grand Sport. That said, Z06 comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 making 650 horsepower and 650 pound feet of torque. For those counting, that’s 190 more horses than a Grand Sport or Stingray Z51. Performance figures reflect the bump in power. The Z06 will reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and tops out at 195 mph. The Z06 is available in 1LZ, 2LZ and 3LZ trims, each one adding similar features to the LT packages on the Stingray and Grand Sport.
The Z06’s optional $7,995 Z07 package is essentially the same as the Grand Sport’s, as the latter was swiped from the former. You get the brakes, tires and revised suspension, though Magnetic Ride Control is tuned specifically for the Z06. The biggest difference between the packages is the addition of a few extra adjustable bits on the rear wing to improve stability.
When it comes to top trumps, few cars can match, much less beat, the Corvette ZR1. It’s 6.2-liter V8 sports a supercharger that’s even larger than the one found on the Z06. Total output is up to 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque. That’s 105 horsepower and 65 more pound-feet than the Z06 and 295 more horsepower and 255 more pound feet than a Stingray Z51 or Grand Sport. It packs a large rear wing, necessary to keep it stable on the way to its 212 mph top speed. It will hit 60 mph from a dead stop in 2.95 seconds, nearly a full second clear of the base car.
The ZR1 starts at $124,095 with destination and the gas guzzler penalty. That’s more than twice the price of a base Stingray and $42,100 clear of a base Z06. Unlike the rest of the Corvette lineup, the ZR1 comes with just two trim packages, 1ZR and 3ZR. The ZR1’s ZTK track performance package will only set you back $2,995, far less than the Z51 and Z07 packages on lesser ‘Vettes. The ZTK pack adds a stanchion-mounted rear wing, Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, a revised suspension and removable carbon-fiber end caps for the front splitter. Chevy says the latter should only be used on a track.