2012 Chevrolet Corvette Centennial EditionEnlarge Photo
While the modern-day musclecar movement rages on unabated--with Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers nipping at each others' heels--the Chevrolet Corvette keeps picking its own fight with substantially more expensive Porsches and Ferraris.
The 2012 Chevy Corvette doesn't bring much change with it, as the car winds down operations in its sixth generation, but it's still so wildly capable, comfortable and cozy, it's earned our top rating of 10.
Still available as a coupe or as a convertible, the Corvette also comes in base, Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR1 editions. The standard 6.3-liter LS3 V-8 makes 430 horsepower (or 6 hp more with a dual-mode exhaust option). The Z06 ups the ante with a 7.0-liter V-8, rated at 505 hp. The king of the hill 'Vette, the ZR1, mauls pavement with its 638-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8. With launch control flicked on, the ZR1 will rip off 3.4-second leaps to 60 mph like clockwork, and the lesser versions aren't far behind.
With any version, the current Corvette's shock-and-awe feature is its docile nature. Any 'Vette can be driven smoothly, and with the magnetic ride control on some versions, can turn in amazing acceleration and cornering numbers without sacrificing a little everyday smoothness.
Fuel economy's another arrow in its quiver, at nearly 30 mpg highway on cars with six-speed automatics; the Z06 and ZR1 come only with a six-speed manual. On the down side, the Corvette's cabin hasn't been a paragon of readability and utter luxury--though it's quite roomy for two.
For the new model year, the Corvette earns a new set of Michelin Cup ZP tires, and its Performance Traction Management system now is offered on the Z06. A racing spoiler and magnetic ride control also can be optioned on the Z06, while the ZR1 has its gears tweaked for an improvement in gas mileage of 2 mpg. New seats and a new steering wheel, with assorted new trim, also are applied, and a technology package on some trims piles on Bluetooth, a USB port, a navigation system and a new nine-speaker Bose audio system.
For an in-depth review of its styling, utility, safety, features and performance, see TheCarConnection's full review of the Chevrolet Corvette.