C6 Chevrolet Corvette: Coupe VS. Convertible - A Tale Of Two Vettes

We Wring Out A Pair Of Supercars That Don't Disappoint.

Thomas J. Lyman Nov 1, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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Highway cruising is absolutely pure driving nirvana in the Corvette. We had the opportunity to drive the car from the SC headquarters building in Rochelle Park, New Jersey, down to the Super Chevy Show in Richmond, Virginia. For statistical purposes, that's a total distance of about 350 miles-roughly 100 miles of the New Jersey Turnpike, followed by a good stretch of I-95 through the outskirts of Philadelphia, then across the Mason-Dixon line through Baltimore and Washington, D.C. In short, it's not the most, shall we say "friendly" highway driving. However, the Vette made the trek in just 4 hours and 30 minutes, at an average speed of around 75 mph.

Now for the good part of that story. The LS2, which absolutely rockets the Corvette from 70 to 100 mph faster than the speed-sensitive volume of the Bose stereo can catch up (it's probably closer to 1.5 seconds), averaged over 22.5 mpg on the trip. That's carrying a payload of a 175-pound human being, coupled with some luggage in the trunk. Now do the math: 75 mph average (we were going considerably faster than that on some stretches, thanks to our trusty radar detector) + 350 miles = a car that can be driven confidently across long distances and still leave some green in the pocket.

Just a day before the long haul down to Virginia, Editor-in-Chief Campisano saw 32 mpg cruising at 70 mph on the highway. In this day and age where gas mileage is so important to so many, the 2007 Corvette gets such great fuel economy that it doesn't even carry the dreaded Gas Guzzler tax, a levy that people purchasing vehicles such as the Dodge Viper must address at the time of purchase.

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(How's this for speed: Another editor left for Newark Airport about an hour before we left the office, and only beat us to Virginia by 30 minutes in an airplane.)

Furthermore, and this is just for music lovers, the Bose 7-speaker stereo is highly recommended. It's like sex coming out of every channel, even with the removable roof panel tucked away in its perfect resting spot under the rear hatch.

Speaking of roofs, the '07 Corvette convertible, which appeared outside the SC offices in spectacular LeMans Blue metallic, is just as exquisite a machine as the coupe. It was equipped with mostly the same adornments as the coupe, but the added sophistication of a mechanical drop-top that goes from fully closed to stow in just under 20 seconds. On more than one occasion, we had enough time to switch from touring monster to cruising convertible in the time we were waiting for the red light to change. One major upgrade that the convertible model we received had was the optional Magnetic Selective Ride Control, which has two settings: Touring or Sport. Each setting adjusts the dampening of the suspension to tackle either the point-and-shoot characteristics of city driving, or the loose-is-fast nature of twisty road negotiation.

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While we are typically skeptical about such things, there was a noticeable difference in the ride and handling quality when you switched between the two settings. Most people will never find the limits of the car in the Sport mode, but the Touring setting was remarkably capable as well. Scheduling precluded us from track testing the ragtop, but we hammered it pretty hard on challenging country and mountain roads.

We came away amazed at how little it gave away to the coupe in ultimate road holding. We made a banzai pass or three through our secret undulating mountain pass with the suspension set to Touring and never felt ill at ease (can't say the same for our passenger). Switchbacks, off-camber turns, uphill, downhill-we tried 'em all and came away with a newfound respect for this setting. The car just gripped and split. We'd say that unless you're at an open track event, you'll find the Touring setting plenty entertaining.

For the record, the ride of both '07 Vettes was improved over the similar models we sampled last year. What little harshness there was has been banished.


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