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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible: First Drive Page 2

 
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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

When you start up, the car defaults to the Tour setting, but a twist of the Drive Mode selector can allow Weather, Eco, Sport, and Track modes—each of which change the powertrain and stability control characteristics.

Sport and Track quicken things up considerably. We spent most of our time in Sport mode, which allowed us to comfortably 'learn' the Stingray. Sport mode also allows the exhaust valving to open up at the 455-hp, 6.2-liter V-8's higher revs—something you definitely want to savor with the top down, following along a cliff wall.

What we said of our first drive of the Chevrolet SS is also true here: The six-speed automatic is one of the weak points of the current setup, mostly because of its moment of hesitation for downshifts. Stick with the excellent seven-speed manual gearbox and you get a neat, precise linkage and surprisingly light clutch takeup (far lighter than in the Camaro SS 1LE that we drove right afterward).

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Nearly flawless—and satisfying when you're not racing along

The Stingray Convertible's driving experience is best described as what the Corvette's been for a couple of generations now: an accessible exotic with none of the expected flaws—and a lot more forgiveness than you might expect given its performance numbers. The driving position is low, and you sit at what feels like mere inches above the ground, with a miraculously low hood just ahead. While the steering is isolated, it builds weight as the suspension loads and unloads slightly and conservatively.

That said, smoothness is rewarded, especially here in a car with such capability. You don't barrel into a corner expecting to 'learn' the Corvette's dynamics; you need to ease up toward its limits. And they are mighty.

With a ride that's just comfortable enough; open-air thrills; and a heck of a lot of attitude and exotic-roadster performance at your beck and call, the Corvette Stingray Convertible is very edgy ragtop that sacrifices surprisingly little.

And part of what makes the high-value Z51 the no-brainer pick of the lineup is that you can take it to the track on the weekend, charge along back roads, or simply cruise and still enjoy it.

More than we might have ever guessed--especially for a convertible--Chevy got it right.

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Disclosure: General Motors covered accommodations, meals, and some travel expenses in order to facilitate this report.




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