I recently decided to take my first trip to California. Decided that since I am in the land of sun, desert, and mountains I should rent something a little better than a Dodge Dart. I called the folks at Enterprise Exotic car collection. I really wanted the 911 Targa they had but since this trip was off the whim without any prior planning, I asked about the Ferrari Califonia or Lamborghini Huracan but everything was sold out except for a torch red C7. I figured this would do. It's a convertible and felt like a good car for California.
Let me preface, I have drive n the C7 previously but didn’t really get to use it to the potential.
The variable engine control is one of the best I have ever used. When switching to the Eco mode it really makes the car feel comfortable, quite, and it settles into what feels like a long cruising missile. As you switch through the modes and find yourself in TR or track mode, it really didn’t leave this mode, the car becomes twitchy and angry. The flap opens up on the exhaust and it goes from a comfortable GT car to a thoroughbred sports car, the steering tightens up, suspension gets firm, and the throttle response sharpened. Its night and day from Eco to Track, in eco its like driving a Cadillac and when in track it becomes a back firing, fire breathing, fighter jet.
The infotainment (at least for an apple user) is awesome, soon as I plugged my USB into the car it automatically pulled up the apps on my phone. I’ve never used appleplay before and it was seamless, my text messages displayed on the infotainment and it read it outloud and let me reply via voice. The buttons on the steering wheel is a little overwhelming. They could use with less buttons and a more simplistic dash board setup. I accidently changed the HUD mode, and it took me 2 days to figure out where to adjust it (I had to look in the owners manual).
I am only going to speak about being in track mode - since 99% of the time I was in track mode with stabilitrak competition mode engaged. That said, I couldn’t find a way to disable traction control, stability control 100%. When in track mode it opens up the flaps on the exhaust, its quite possibly the best sounding stock car I have ever driven. I really believe that it rivals the Gallardo I drove around a couple years ago. We all know that rental car companies will not rent a stick, so unfortunately I was rocking around the paddle shifting 8 speed. Unlike the Gallardo’s single clutch system the Vettes transition between gears is rough but not as savage as the Lamborghini.
The stock C7 rocks 460 hp and 465 ft/lbs tq, Chevrolet states 0-60 in 3.7 seconds but I think thats in the stick not the automatic. I also looked for launch control to try the 0-60 but couldn’t find it. (I heard its only on the Z06 but someone fill me in if I’m wrong) The best 0-60 I clocked using the in car tracking system was 4.3 which isn’t shabby, but my old Evo was able to click of 0-60 in 4.0 with 376 dyno’ed whp. The biggest problem with the Automatic is having to mitigate wheelspin and no way to launch it.
We decided to hit the mountains. So we drove from Marina Del Ray to Angeles Crest highway. I was not expecting it to be one of the best roads I’ve ever been on. I instantly wished I had my Ducati 899 or my Ninja 636. I can see it being a great motorcycle road, but I couldn’t have imagined a better car to carve the canyons with. Using the onboard diagnostics, we were able to calculate G’s through corners. It wasn’t uncommon to be pulling .80 - .95 G’s through some of the hard hairpins. What was most impressive is that that new Vette is extremely balanced! The revised suspension allows it to be firmly planted and the chassis ridged enough to inspire confidence when flying at speed.
When exiting, typically rear wheel drive with almost 500 hp, you have to be careful or you can get yourself into trouble quick. With the C7, the grip was some of the best I have ever experienced out of a rear drive front engine application. When exiting, I wouldn’t hold back and not once did it give me the lack of grip. That said, its still 460 horsepower and you can make it act like a unmannered child and break the back end out on demand. When it does spin sideways, its extremely controllable and it doesn’t give you that scary feeling like the Viper that’s extremely unforgiving. It doesn’t want to kill you, but it does reward good driving.
I have never been a Corvette fan. I always thought of it as a mid life crisis, fat, middle aged, man's car. They say 50 is the new 40 and that middle aged men are now working out, so maybe Chevrolet took the same approach. I was so impressed that in 2-3 years I will be looking for a C7, 7mt, Z51, with the competition seats. :-)