Chevrolet used the occasion of the Geneva International Motor Show to introduce a new C7 variation, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport. A quick look at the spec sheet reveals a car very much like the C7 Z06, minus the 650-horsepower supercharged LT4 under the hood. Instead, the C7 GS gets the naturally-aspirated LT1 rated at 460 horsepower to go with the standard Magnetic Ride Control, wider Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, six-piston, 14-inch front and four-piston, 13.4-inch rear Brembo brakes, electronic limited slip differential, and GS-specific wheels, anti-roll bars, and springs.
Visually, the Grand Sport will share grille styling and some aero elements with the Z06, as well as receiving wider rear fenders, a GS-specific front fender insert, and available Heritage package fender hash marks in a half dozen different colors. There will be a Z07 option package as well that adds carbon ceramic-matrix brakes, carbon fiber aerodynamic elements, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, upping the claimed cornering capability from a sustained 1.05g to 1.2. Chevrolet says that the GS Z07 is within a second of the lap times of the C6 ZR1 around the Milford Proving Ground road course, despite being down more than 175 horsepower.
Both coupe and convertible Grand Sports will go on sale over the summer domestically and will reach Europe this fall, with a special “Collector Edition” to follow. That option adds an exclusive Watkins Glen Gray Metallic exterior with Tension Blue hash-mark graphics, satin black full-length stripes, black wheels and a unique Tension Blue full leather and suede-wrapped interior.
A C7 Grand Sport was inevitable; the C6 Grand Sport, introduced in the 2010 model year, ended up being the most popular Corvette model of that generation, accounting for more than half the total sales by 2013. What’s interesting is how similar in both specification and place in the C7 Corvette spectrum the new Grand Sport is to the old Z06. Though down on horsepower by comparison (the C6 Z06’s LS7 was rated at 505 horsepower), it’s likely that the C7 GS will appeal to the same sort of buyer that preferred the C6 Z06 to the ZR1, and isn’t convinced the C7 Z06 is right for them.
Chevrolet has yet to release pricing information; it’s logical to assume, however, that the Grand Sport will fall mid-way between the base car’s $55,400 MSRP and the Z06’s suggested starting price of $79,400 – let’s call it $65k as an educated wild-ass guess. The Z06’s Z07 option adds $7,995 on that car, plus another 3-4 thousand for one of the two prerequisite carbon fiber aero package, and we’d expect similar pricing on the GS. That means a well-optioned C7 GS Z07 will be competing, at least in financial terms, with a “stripper” Z06, making for an interesting dilemma for would-be buyers.
Which would you choose: A new Grand Sport with the upgraded aero and magic ceramic brakes, or a plain-Jane C7 Z06 with another 190 horsepower on tap?