A storied name in Corvette legend returns for 2010 when a new Grand Sport model joins the lineup. A de facto replacement for the Z51, the Grand Sport boasts bolder visuals and more functional firepower than the standard LS3 Corvette and promises even better handling than the outgoing Z51. The 2010 Grand Sport will be available in both fixed and lift-panel Coupe configurations as well as a full Convertible. All will feature unique wide-body styling set off with a Z06-type front splitter and a taller rear spoiler. In addition to offering the full Corvette exterior color palette and 1LT/2LT/3LT/4LT trims, Grand Sport buyers can opt for a Heritage Package that brings front fender hash marks and custom two-tone seats with embroidered "Grand Sport" logos.
While the LS3's standard 6.2-liter V8 engine carries over unchanged, so does the available sport exhaust system that bumps peak output from 430 to 436 horsepower and takes torque from 424 to 428 pound-feet. However, the gear ratios on cars fitted with the six-speed manual transmission have been reshuffled and Grand Sports that have the optional paddle-shifted six-speed automatic get a different rear-axle ratio, factors Chevy says will lead to a 0.2-sec drop in 0-60 times. In homage to the original 1963 Grand Sport racing cars, the Coupe version also comes suitably prepped for impromptu track-day duties with a dry-sump oiling system, differential cooler and a rear-mounted battery.
The 2010 Grand Sport will raise the Z51's already lofty handling benchmarks to near-Z06 levels courtesy of revised spring/shock/stabilizer bar calibrations plus a unique and more-aggressive wheel/tire package (18-inch alloys with 275/35 Z-rated tires up front and 19-inchers wrapped in 325/30s out back). In addition to enhancing overall stability, these upgrades should ensure all Grand Sports can generate at least 1.0g of cornering grip. Stopping power also promises to remain formidable, thanks to its upsized Z51-style anti-lock disc brakes. Pricing won't be announced until closer to the Grand Sport's late-summer on-sale date, but we expect that the Coupe will likely remain close to the current $50K figure of the existing Z51, while the Convertible should reflect a similar $5,000 premium that's now commanded by an LS3 drop top.