End of an Era: C7 Corvette Grand Sport

By Michael Satterfield & Reginald Ganious

The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Heritage Package is the perfect balance of luxury and performance. With a base price of $65,900, it might just be the best sports car value of 2019. It has all the right looks, in bright red with black racing stripes draped over the fenders, a functional hood scoop, and targa roof for when you require the wind in your hair. With the options like Z07 Ultimate Performance Package, Upper Trim Package, and a few other select options, our test car's MSRP of comes to a total of $87,525 including destination. 

Inside the snug passenger compartment, you find copious amounts of leather, contrast stitching, and an overwhelming aroma of fiberglass resin (it goes away after a few minutes). The trunk is large enough to hold luggage for a long road trip for two, making it a true grand touring car. The 8-way power driver and passenger seats are comfortable and provide excellent lateral support when cornering on the country roads outside of our hometown of Groesbeck, TX. Like all special packages from Chevrolet the cargo shade, floor mats, and just about everything else is emblazoned with the Grand Sport logo.

For the long drives, the Bose Premium audio system plays your favorite tunes in stunning clarity and enough power to be heard over the roar of the exhaust. Most will overlook the clunky function of the dated factory infotainment system because it does at least offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Streaming music and podcasts works well with the built-in 4G LTE wifi, which comes in handy in rural sections of Texas, in extream cases, Satellite radio can still find you.

The 6.2-liter V8 produces 460 hp and 465 lb.ft of torque, this car is equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission with pedal shifters, but a 7-speed manual is still offered, the last Corvette (at least for now) to offer a proper manual transmission. The dry-sump oil system and an electronic limited-slip differential mean that the Grand Sport can transition from grand tourer to track day beast with just the flip of a switch. 

The car offers five distinct drive modes:

     Touring Mode - this is the default/normal mode when it comes down to driving the car on a daily basis. The suspension is softer and the noise, less extream.

    Weather Mode - for harsh weather, these settings adjust the traction control and throttle progression to make the car more manageable, in the rain, ice, and snow.

     Eco Mode - conserves fuel and changes the shift points in the transmission it also switches the car to run in V4 mode when the engine is at low strain by deactivating four of the cylinders. 

     Sport Mode - for a spirited drive on the back roads, the suspension is firmer, the dash displays change giving you visual indicators for shifting, and exhaust and engine noise get louder as the valves open up on the GM Performance exhaust.

    Track mode- the most aggressive setting from the factory, with more responsive throttle, shift points, and suspension the Grand Sport is ready for a track day or an ultra-aggressive canyon run, not meant for the novice GM really removes the training wheels.  

Driving what might be the last front-engine, rear-wheel-drive Corvette ever is a something special, the car is clearly a descendant of the classic Corvette that came before it, completely modern. Driving a car like this comes with all the history and heritage of racing at Le Mans, the car Astronauts and Playboys drove, a car that is an icon. It is a car from another era, packed full of all the American bravado that you would expect from a V8 sports car from the Motor City, with an overwhelming sense of presence.  

Driving through the countryside, under an endless Texas sky, being pushed back into your seat with every blip of the throttle, it is hard to imagine the Corvette ever being anything but this; A long hood, big hips, and gnarley growl in a conspicuous bright red. But while the next generation of Corvette is a major shift, and everyone is excited about the first affordable, mass-produced mid-engine sports car,  the C7 is still one of the best sports car values money can buy and a future classic.