By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
Chevrolet’s Corvette coupe and convertible for 2016 is a car just about anyone could love, be they buy-American diehards or the most meticulous enthusiast. Easily the rival of cars like the Porsche 911 and Ferrari 458 Italia, the Corvette leaves both in the dust with a ridiculously low price. And, while the upcoming 700-plus-horsepower Dodge Viper should prove a challenge, the Viper lacks the Corvette’s sophisticated suspension and interior that help make it a livable daily driver. From its sinister styling to its outrageous V8 engine, the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette is nearly untouchable. If you’re willing to pay more, the Corvette Z06 offers 650 horsepower and an even more aggressive suspension, making it the most powerful, best-handling model in Corvette history.
If you revel in the thought of attaining one of the most impressive performance machines on the planet and paying a paltry sum for the privilege, the 2016 Chevy Corvette coupe or convertible is the car for you. Given its stats, even the pricier Z06 remains a relative bargain.
About the only reason we can think not to like the Corvette may be its overly aggressive styling. Honestly, beyond its 2-person limit, the Corvette doesn’t have any real faults. At nearly 30-mpg highway, even the gas-guzzler argument falls by the wayside.
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Changes for the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette are mostly cosmetic. A new flat-bottom steering wheel is added, as is a power-cinch feature for the coupe hatch and convertible trunk. New options include a front curb-view parking camera, Magnetic Ride Control on Stingray models and Apple’s CarPlay capability via the MyLink app.
After a day behind the wheel of Chevrolet’s 2016 Corvette Stingray, you might come away thinking this thing has to cost $100K or more. But it’s a Chevy, so you’d...
... be wrong. What else does this miracle coupe deliver? How about a zero-to-60-mph run in less than four seconds, and highway fuel economy approaching 30 mpg. In the areas that matter most, those being steering, cornering, braking and acceleration, the 2016 Chevy Corvette easily equals the best in class. Chevy takes it one step further, however, with a driver-selectable program that allows up to five different programs for adjusting suspension, steering, throttle response and even the exhaust note. All this goodness also applies to the Corvette convertible, but with a drop-top time of just 16 seconds. In Z06 form, the Corvette simply rates as one of the best performance machines on the planet.
Regardless of which Corvette you pick, you’ll have the option of a robust 8-speed automatic transmission at the ready. Because it still uses a torque converter, the Corvette’s 8-speed automatic can actually shift faster than many dual-clutch auto-manuals.
The epitome of the Corvette lineup, the 2016 Z06 utilizes a supercharged V8 engine that holds the title of most powerful factory engine ever produced by GM. With a starting price around $80,000, the Corvette Z06 delivers more performance per dollar than any European exotic.
It used to be that the Corvette's interior was something drivers tolerated so they could enjoy the car's performance. Now, it's a primary selling point. The combination of leather, aluminum and carbon fiber is as easy on eyes as it is the body, and when combined with the available suede upgrades and the 8-inch color screen on the center dash, this Stingray's interior is a special place indeed. Details include two power USB ports in the center console and excellent cargo space under the coupe's rear hatch; even the convertible sports a big and usable trunk.
The 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray offers a road presence that has been absent in its predecessors for some time. Still uniquely American, the coupe and convertible also embody international cues, such as the decidedly Ferrari-esque front grille treatment. Even the iconic round taillights received a modernizing update. The Stingray convertible of course loses the sweep of the coupe's roof, but when the fabric top is lowered and stowed behind the rear seats, it offers a presence all its own. The 2016 Corvette Z06 adds wider fenders and other aggressive styling cues to signify its role as the Alpha Corvette.
Aside from dashing good looks, V8 horsepower and a 7-speed manual transmission, the Corvette Stingray comes with 8-way power-adjustable magnesium-framed seats, keyless entry with push-button start, a power-adjustable tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and 5-position Drive Mode selector that lets you adjust the Corvette's driving personality to match the situation. The dash houses an 8-inch touch-screen display for the standard 9-speaker Bose audio, Chevy MyLink infotainment system and the standard rearview camera. All Corvette Stingray coupes get a removable carbon-fiber roof panel, while the convertible's electronic top can be operated remotely using the key fob.
We strongly recommend the Z51 Performance Package for the Corvette Stingray, which upgrades the brakes, suspension, oiling system, tires and cooling system, while also adding an electronic limited-slip differential. Magnetic Ride Control lets the Corvette go from freeway commuter to racetrack-ready with the turn of a dial, while a dual-mode exhaust amps up the sound and adds a few horses. Interior upgrades include suede trim and a competition seat package. Corvette Z06 owners should opt for the Z07 performance package, which adds carbon-ceramic brakes and other go-even-faster hardware. The available 8-speed automatic offers paddle shifters and lightning-fast shifts.
Two engine options await 2016 Corvette Stingray buyers. First is the standard 6.2-liter V8 engine, with 455 horsepower, 460 lb-ft of torque and a hard-to-believe 29 mpg on the highway, thanks to its ability to imperceptibly shut down four of its eight cylinders at light throttle. The 2016 Corvette Z06 comes with a supercharged version of that engine, pumping out 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, the most of any production car ever made by General Motors. Both Corvette models come standard with a 7-speed manual gearbox that sends the V8's glorious power to the rear wheels. Optional is a GM-designed 8-speed automatic transmission that we feel is going to get a lot of takers.
455 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
460 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
460 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (w/performance exhaust)
465 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm (w/performance exhaust)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/29 mpg (manual), 16/29 mpg (automatic)
6.2-liter supercharged V8 (Z06)
650 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
650 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (manual), 13/23 mpg (automatic)
The 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray starts with a low Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $56,500. Convertible models start close to $60,500, and the Z51 package adds about $5,000 to either model. The super-high-performance Corvette Z06 starts at about $80,500 for coupes and $84,500 for the convertible, and the must-have Z07 performance package adds about $8,000 to the price of a Corvette Z06. There's not a bad car in the lineup, but whatever Stingray you select, be sure to get the Z51 package and Magnetic Ride Control. Regardless, the Corvette's price seriously undercuts competitors like the Porsche 911, Nissan GT-R, Audi R8 and Dodge Viper. Still, you probably want to save a buck or two, so check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area. Luckily, the 2016 Corvette should have one of the strongest resale values of any sports car.