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2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (the Michael Jackson Car)

I have always tried to keep my car review posts to one photo that I believe encompasses the car; but with Car #15, a 2015 Corvette Stingray 7speed I bought new in late 2014, I’ll attach two photos. Yes, they are the same car.

For obvious reasons, I always referred to this car as my Michael Jackson Car. I had it wrapped in a satin white – an awesome matte white look that served double as paint protection – I went off-track once into the dirt at Thunderhill, and the wrap took all the scuffs and saved the paint. Totally worth it. On the downside, I had to always carry a diluted alcohol spray bottle and towel around, as the wrap is porous; insect guts need to be wiped off right away otherwise it stains. There was one I missed, and it left a very lightly yellow spot on the white. This car taught me the meaning of *loud*. Yes, it had a loud exhaust and made all sorts of wonderful noises, which I enjoyed. What I did not enjoy was the visually-loud aspect. This was not a car of subtelties whatsoever. Everywhere you went, it was screaming for attention – the lines, the shape, the flares, the vents; you couldn’t be inconspicious whatsoever even if you wanted to – imagine walking into a quiet library and screaming “I AM GOING TO QUIETY READ THIS BOOK.”

As crazy as it looked, it wasn’t prepared to cash the checks it wrote with its looks. Yeah, it was awesome at stoplights and went from 0-60mph in 4 seconds flat. Even in 7th gear on the highway it would pull forward if you laid into the throttle. The torque was immense, and it shoved you into the seat hard even as it rolled off the line from a standstill – no need to wait for the engine to rev up to the higher RPMs. Letting off the gas after a hard acceleration, it was always fun to watch your passenger pop “out” of their seat – during hard acceleration it feels like an invisible hand on your chest pushes you about 3 inches into the seat. The 6.2 liters producing 436 direct-injected horsepower didn’t mess around.

But, there were two flaws about the car. It still wallowed about a bit on turn-in; there was quite a bit of noticeable weight transfer as you changed direction, and it didn’t feel quite as nimble and eager to zig zag left and right as a 911 or Boxster. Perhaps the Z06 is better here, but with a big V8 engine up front, this kind of weight shifting delay is unavoidable – just minimizable. Chevrolet knows this as well, which is why they’re finally changing the platform to move the engine behind the driver.

The second flaw was partially my fault. I got this without the Z51 package, which meant there was no extra oil/trans cooler. On the 3rd session of my day out at Thunderhill Raceway, I heard a faint dinging sound, and looked down at my gauges – the temperature gauge was pegged in the red, and the car was blaring an overheat warning at me. I had to pull off, hit the hazards, and watch all the cars I had passed earlier whizz by me (even a stock nb miata) as I limped it to the pit lanes. If you plan on tracking a Corvette, make sure you get the Z51 option upgrade.

Three tidbits about the car that most non-car folks may not know:

1) The transmission, usually bolted on right to the engine, is in the back of the Corvette. The engine is in front, but there’s a shaft (aka Torque Tube) that runs down the body of the car to connect it to the transmission. This was done in the name of even front/rear weight distrubution for better handling, so that all the mass of the car wasn’t concentrated in the front.

2) The leafsprings. Contrary to popular belief, this car does not use leafsprings in its suspension; at least not in the traditional 1970’s oxcart sense (thanks, Clarkson). It uses one transverse leafspring to tie the left and right wheel suspensions together. Traditional leafspring suspensions run from front to rear per wheel.

3) The car has a heads-up display (well, if you option it that way). The speedometer, tachometer, g-meter, gas levels, etc, all float in front of you, seemingly right at the front of the car hovering over the road. I loved turning all interior lights off at night and driving in complete darkness, using the heads-up display only. Kat called this “batmobile mode.”

This was also the last Corvette I ever owned. I sold this one when I decided I wanted something cheaper, more subtle, less “loud” (visually), and easier to drive day to day. But for the right person, this car is a fantastic one – compared to the 5th and 6th generation Corvettes, this 7th gen fixed almost everything about the interior, improved the steering feel (though not perfect), and was a clear improvement over the past generations. I’ll wholeheartedly agree that this is the best corvette ever; though the 8th generation, mid-engined C8 corvette is looming on the horizon and it looks quite promising.