THE RIDE: Two-door, two-passenger 2008 Chevrolet Corvette hatchback coupe.
DOWN THE ROAD: A 55-year-old icon, America's sports car keeps up its tradition with a boost in engine size and horsepower for 2008. As expected, the rear-wheel-drive coupe is a blast to drive, going from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. And just as the Corvette can get up to speed in a hurry, the car also can slow down just as rapidly and with poise. However, the sports icon performs incredibly well while attacking sharp twists and turns on the road with tremendous confidence.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: As soon as you press the start button, you will hear the menacing rumble from the all-new 6.2-liter V-8 engine (up from 6.0 liter). The sports car pumps out 430 horsepower (increase of 30 hp) at 5900 rpm and 424 pounds-feet of torque at 4600 rpm. It is mated to a standard 6-speed manual or an optional 6-speed automatic transmission. Taking up the front and rear suspension is a short/long arm (SLA), double wishbone and monotube shock absorbers. A speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering ensures the driver a firm on-center feel. Grip from the run-flat wheels, which come shod with 245/40ZR18 up front and 285/35ZR19 at the rear, are unyielding regardless of the road conditions.
LOOK & FEEL: The familiar Corvette badge sits centered amid xenon headlights with fog lamps underneath. The rear displays four round tail lamps and center-exit exhaust outlets. Newly designed metal-finish door sill plates invite you into the cabin. Slide behind the three-spoke power telescopic steering wheel and your eyes will fall on a revised instrument panel center trim plate and bright surrounds for the shifter knob and cup holders. All the instruments and gauges are easy to read and within the driver's reach. I found two standard features in this Corvette quite useful: the auto-dimming rear mirror with compass and the keyless access and start. Also standard is a driver information center, dual air-conditioning and a six-way power driver seat.
SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights, antiskid system and limited slip differential.
OUT THE DOOR: $45,170, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. Corvette enthusiasts can opt for the $1,695 Z51 performance package, which comes with larger cross-drilled brake rotors and performance-tuned tires, stabilizer bars, shocks, springs and gear ratios.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 245/40ZR18 front, 285/35ZR19 rear, both run flat; wheelbase, 105.7 inches; length, 174.6 inches; weight, 3,217 pounds; fuel capacity, 18 gallons; highway, 26 mpg; city, 16 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Sports car enthusiasts, the Corvette should be on top of your list of vehicles to test-drive. It is an awesome-performing coupe, which doesn't compromise in handling, ride or comfort. Kudos to General Motors for keeping the icon alive in our hearts for more than five decades.