Once the butt of mid-life crisis jokes, the Chevrolet Corvette has finally reemerged as a true global performance car icon thanks to the C7, and as I recently found out, you don’t have to drop big money on the Z06, Grand Sport and ZR1 to have a wicked good time in the seventh-generation Corvette.
Sure, these models will essentially give you a Corvette racecar for the street, but if you’re looking for a car you can enjoy as a daily driver with a decent amount of performance, then the Corvette Stingray equipped with the Z51 Performance Package should be more than enough for the majority of buyers. In addition to spending a week in a not-so-little, red 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible for this review, at around the same time, I was also able to test out a Z51-equipped C7 on a road course. Keep reading to see how the C7 Corvette performs on both the road and the track.
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible Exterior:
Designers are never going to be able to make everyone happy, but it’s hard to argue that the C7 body style isn’t the best-looking body style in the Corvette’s existence. Every inch of this car’s body was sculpted with aerodynamics in mind including the vented hood and front fenders as well as the vents near the taillights and the rear diffuser. The 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible looks good with the top up or down, but this car looks even sportier with the top down thanks to the roadster-style tonneau cover behind the seats and the body-colored waterfall between the seats with the Corvette logo on it. The in-your-face Torch Red exterior paint job of this 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible was made even better with the staggered-width, black-painted aluminum wheels (a $495 option) and the bright red brake calipers (a $595 option).
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible Interior:
While the styling and performance of the C7 Corvette are its core strengths, it’s the interior that allows the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible to be a world-class sports car. All 2016 Corvette models come standard with leather interior, a Bose audio system and power tilting/telescoping steering column, but this fully loaded tester was equipped with the 3LT trim level that included heated and ventilated seats, perforated leather seating, head-up display and standard navigation. This tester was equipped with a black interior that features red accent stitching, and it added carbon fiber instrument panel trim as a $995 option.
In terms of high-tech goodies, the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible comes standard with OnStar with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot (with a free trial period), but the best technology is the new-for-2016 options like the Performance Data Recorder and Curb View forward-mounted parking cameras. The PDR uses a camera mounted behind the rearview mirror and an SD card slot in the glove box to record the Corvette while it’s being driven including a valet mode. This system is easy to use and is a great alternative to expensive aftermarket systems.
Comfort is also key for the Corvette’s cabin with a surprising amount of legroom and headroom with the top up. Passengers will appreciate separate HVAC and seat heating and cooling controls, which are located on the instrument panel. Finally, the retractable top can be lowered remotely using the key fob and can also be operated while the car is in motion at speeds of up to 30 mph. Unlike the car itself, though, the top is surprisingly slow to open or close taking more than 20 seconds each way.
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible Performance:
Under the vented hood of the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible is a 6.2-liter LT1 V8. The base Corvette Stingray packs quite a punch with 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, but the Z51 package increases power output to 460 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque thanks to a performance exhaust system with four-inch outlets, and the Z51 package also upgrades the engine to include a racecar-like dry sump oiling system. An automatic transmission is available as an option, but the seven-speed manual transmission is definitely the way to go especially when taking advantage of the Active Rev Match. Like any modern sports car, the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible also has a focus on fuel economy thanks to Active Fuel Management allowing this car to deliver EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway**.
As a daily driver, the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray remarkably refined with a smooth ride and quiet interior, but this car feels at its best when pushed to its limits. The Z51 Performance Package comes with improved aerodynamics and bigger front brakes with slotted rotors, and the optional $1,795 Magnetic Ride Control gives this car amazing handling. Normally, a convertible would add significant weight over a coupe, but the C7 Corvette adds less than 70 pounds to the overall curb weight for the option of an open-air driving experience.
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible Safety:
The 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible starts with a hydroformed aluminum frame to give it a rigid yet lightweight chassis, and builds on the car with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components as well as composite and carbon-fiber body panels. The Z51 package adds technology to improve both safety and performance like the electronic limited-slip differential and Performance Traction Management, but it is the latest OnStar technology that gives the Corvette its true safety advantage with the OnStar Guidance Plan (complimentary for six months) providing Automatic Crash Response, Stolen Vehicle Assistance, Roadside Assistance and Turn-by-Turn Navigation.
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible Overall:
The Chevrolet Corvette has been around since 1953, but after driving this 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible, it’s easy to say that the C7 is the best Corvette ever. Not only is the C7 Corvette extremely fun to drive and surprisingly affordable of a performance car, it also exhibits a level of luxury and sophistication that puts it on par with European sports cars like the Jaguar F-Type and Porsche 911. With a starting price of just $59,400*, the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible is an absolute bargain against these two performance rivals, and the Z51-equipped Corvette Stingray Convertible is still packed plenty of bang for the buck starting at $64,400*. Even with an as-tested price of $79,415, this 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible loaded with options represents impressive value among high-performance vehicles.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Chevrolet dealership and test drive the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.