Apologies to Prince – that would be the singer and not Harry or William – “Little Blue Corvette”. Come on, sing along with me.
I know, I know. The artist formerly known as crooned about a red example of Chevy’s iconic sports car.
But seeing that I’ve just spent a joyous week piloting the latest Corvette Stingray Coupe, painted a stunning shade called Elkhart Lake Blue, I’m happy to take the liberty of switching Prince’s preference from red to blue.
Man, oh man. I test-drove a new mid-engined Corvette back in 2020 when it first debuted. I loved it then and gushed about it to anyone who’d listened.
Getting back in one after three long, pandemic-infused years, I was prepared to temper my enthusiasm. Not a chance. If anything the car feels even more thrilling, even more dynamic, more agile, and even easier-on-the-eye.
Of course, this C8 ‘Vette has been evolving nicely since the original. Last year, Chevy unleashed the rocketship Z06 version, packing an insane 670-hp. Pedal to the metal it can hit 60mph from standstill in a blink-of-an-eye 2.6 seconds. Prices from $114,395.
And this past spring, the bow-tie brand pulled the wraps off the first-ever gas-electric hybrid Corvette, badged the E-Ray, with all-wheel drive and a combined 655 horseys. It can slingshot from 0-to-60 in just 2.5 seconds and has a sticker that starts at $104,295.
The C8 I’ve been driving is the 2023 Stingray 2LT Coupe that packs a non-trivial 495-hp punch from its glorious naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V-8. Click the stopwatch and you’ll see 0-to-60 in a rock-out-of-a-catapult 2.8 seconds.
This is truly supercar performance. Yet what still astounds me about this latest Corvette is its continued, and still remarkable, value for money.
Take the latest 2024 Corvettes that are now being built. A base 1LT Coupe, with all the power and performance of its more expensive brethren, stickers for a hard-to-believe $68,300. Heck there are Chevy pick-ups that cost way more.
The LT2 we’re driving adds such bon-bons as a 14-speaker Bose stereo, heated and cooled seats, a head-up display, front and rear cameras, and power-fold mirrors. All for $75,400, which is a $3,600 increase over ’23.
Extras can get a little pricey. But you’d really want the $6,345 Z51 Performance Package with uprated suspension and brakes, stickier tires, heavier-duty cooling and performance exhaust.
Add the lovely 20-spoke forged alloys ($1,995), GT2 Bucket Seats ($1,695), Carbon Fiber interior trim ($1,500) and bright red brake calipers ($695) and it’s easy to get up to the $90-grand of our tester.
But tap the shiny chrome start button, hear the obnoxiously-loud, neighbor-annoying whoooph from the exhaust, select ‘drive’ and you’re on a stairway to Heaven.
All Corvette Coupes are so-called targa models, with a removable composite roof panel that stows in the trunk. If, like me, you think the lift-off panel is heavy and a pain to wrangle, there’s a Corvette Convertible with a power-folding top. It costs an extra $6-grand but well worth it.
Top on , or top off, the ‘Vette is an absolute joy to drive. You sit in body-clamping bucket seats, hang on to a funky, rectangular wheel, and feel like you’re in the cockpit of some military jet.
The beauty here is the car’s duality. Yes, you can take it to the track and feel like Mario Andretti hot-lapping Sebring, reveling in the laser-precise steering, and playing with the paddle shifters to manually work the eight-speed automatic.
Or, you can use the car as true daily driver, courtesy of its easy-going manners, smoothish ride, refinement, luxury and practicality.
For a supercar, the C8 is surprisingly accommodating. With the top in place, the rear trunk can easily swallow a couple of golf bags, or roller-boards. Now pop the “frunk” at the front and there’s more space.
Three years after its debut, this C8 Corvette continues as an All-American performance masterpiece. And like a good wine, it just gets better with age.