Weekend Wheels: The new Corvette Convertible is the best ‘Vette yet
OK, wrap it up, stick a big red bow on the top, tie a ribbon around it maybe. Now park that beauty right under the tree. Yo, Ho, Ho.
If Chevy’s all-new mid-engined Corvette Stingray Coupe wasn’t already tempting enough, this latest retractable hardtop convertible version is the veritable icing on the mince pie.
No, it’s not really a convertible in the usual cloth-top sense. At the press of a button, the rear deck opens up like a clamshell, the two-panel roof rises and splits, then glides back into a well.
Six beefy electric motors take care of business and transform the new ‘Vette from closed to open in a mere 16 seconds. About the same time it takes to sing a couple of verses of “Jingle Bells.”
Of course the regular C8 Corvette Coupe comes standard with a removable composite hardtop panel to deliver the same open-air feel as the Convertible.
But it takes muscles-of-Rambo to lift it off — better with two of you — and it then sits across the top of the rear trunk, reducing trunk space.
And the big problem with this arrangement — as I found out in my week with the Coupe — is that a sudden Florida downpour can leave you looking, and feeling, like drowned rat.
As the heavens opened, by the time I’d pulled over, unlatched the rear trunk, extracted the top and locked it in place, I looked like Hugh Grant in that classic scene with Andie MacDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral, totally, utterly, soaked to the skin.
My wife in the passenger seat was not amused.
But the beauty of the Corvette Convertible is that this top-levitating mechanical ballet can be carried out while you’re happily zipping along at speeds up to 30mph. So no need to stop.
Trust me, it will be the best $7 grand — that’s the price of the convertible over the coupe — you can spend.
Now about that color. If you want to turn heads, our test car’s absolutely jaw-dropping shade of French racing blue called, what else, Rapid Blue, is a true feast for the eyes.
And just wait till you gaze inside and take in the matching, and completely outrageous, electric blue hue that Chevy calls Tension/Twilight Blue Dipped. I kid you not.
It’s a work of art, with bright blue leather cascading down the center console, on the doors, and edging the seats. The rest is a rich dark blue. The overall effect is simply breathtaking.
In a Ferrari or McLaren, this kind of bespoke leather in this kind of color would probably set you back $10,000, maybe $20,000. Because this is a Chevy, the option costs a mere $500.
Talking of cost, car enthusiasts are still aghast at the sheer affordability of this mid-engined Corvette. In the case of our new Stingray Convertible tester, the base sticker was $67,495, including destination.
Yes, you can pile on the options. Our car came with the $11,450 3LT Premium Equipment Package that equipped it with a kitchen sink of features: everything from fabulous, deep-bolstered GT2 bucket seats to an ear-bleeding Bose sound system to a high-def front curb view camera.
Then there was the must-have Z51 Performance Pack, a steal at $5 grand. Everything from even beefier brakes, sportier suspension, a louder exhaust.
With a few other baubles, bangles and bright shiny beads, the car topped out at $90,775. Or roughly $100,000 less than the cheapest McLaren, the 570S. Before any options.
As for driving the beast, just how many ways can I say how do I love thee? Got a couple of hours?
Suffice it to say, it is a true adrenaline-pumping, finger-tingling, punch-in-the-solar-plexus thrill ride. I love that honking 6.2-liter V8 behind your right ear, love the pulmonary-pounding 0-to-60-in-2.9-second acceleration, love the poise and balance and sheer precision of the handling.
Yes, it’s a specialist, enthusiast sports car. But the 2021 Corvette Stingray Convertible was, without doubt, the best, most fun car I’ve driven all year.
So Santa, better not scratch it as you park it under my Christmas tree.
Test drive the new 2021 Corvette Convertible at Ferman Chevrolet, or Jim Browne Chevrolet in Tampa, Dimmitt Chevrolet or AutoNation Chevrolet in Clearwater, and Maher Chevrolet in St. Pete.