For nearly three decades, the Chevrolet Corvette has been America’s most revered sports car. And, we’ve driven every new Corvette to come along over our last 29 years. But now time to add one more to our list, the Corvette Grand Sport. Only twice before has the Grand Sport name adorned a Corvette. Both efforts were limited editions, and are highly prized by collectors. Now the new GS won’t be as rare, but it might be just as much fun.

The ‘Grand Sport’ name carries a lot of historical significance within Corvette’s famed racing lineage. But, for 2010, the moniker returns as a step up from the standard Corvette with track worthy performance enhancements. Available in coupe and convertible, the GS model replaces a less capable Z51 suspension, brake, and tire package.

But before we jump into this car’s improved agility, let’s talk power, starting with the Corvette’s pushrod LS3 6.2-liter V8, punching out 430 horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque. But, add our car’s Z06 inspired, dual-mode performance exhaust, and output gains six more horses to 436. Oh, and it sounds like a beast, too.

Trannys are either a six-speed automatic or our tester’s six-speed manual, both tweaked with tighter gear ratios for more positive shifts.  The automatic is mated to a specific 2.73 rear axle. But our manual coupe is clearly aimed at competition. Its hand-built V8 sports dry-sump oiling, and for better balance, the battery is in the rear.

Down the straights, our Grand Sport raced to 60 in a brief 4.3 seconds– or about two-tenths faster than the standard 'Vette, and only three-tenths slower than the Z06. The GS also made rapid work of the quarter mile: 12.6 seconds at 115 miles per hour. As expected, the GS leaps off the line and feels like a rocket. Launch Control, standard on all manual Corvettes, was easy to initiate and worked flawlessly.

But the true test of the Grand Sport was managing the fast curves of Georgia's Roebling Road Raceway. The GS, with its standard steel Corvette frame, weighs in about a hundred pounds more than the Z06 with an aluminum frame. Most suspension parts, including roll bars, are closer to the Z06, but with softer tuning for springs and shocks. Track width and tires sizes are a match for the Z06: super grippy 18-inch run flats front, 19s in the rear.

The result is a car that comes close to the Z06 on the track, but is far more livable on the street. The amount of front push is a fine compromise between standard Vette and Z06. But the softer tuning did allow for a bit of side-to-side floating at speed.

The speed-sensitive steering is nicely weighted and very responsive, and the rear of the car stayed very planted; almost too planted. We had to work fairly hard to break it loose for any sideways slide. That may be attributed to an electronic stability program that stepped in a bit too soon, even in Competition Mode.

But, once we got the hang of it, the Grand Sport ripped around Roebling Road with a high degree of confidence. Exits in particular were menacingly fast, but still sure-footed. Overall, the Grand Sport is fast and fun. The setup is a huge improvement over the Z51, yet still more predictable than the Z06.

To clamp down on the Grand Sport's momentum are Z06 brakes, with six-piston calipers up front, four-piston in the rear. Fade-free stops averaged just 118 feet from 60 to zero. They were strong with good initial bite, plenty of feedback, and no ABS pulsing.

Visually, the Grand Sport shows off a number of aggressive add-ons. Up front, the mean look begins with a Z06-style splitter. Bulging front and rear fenders also infuse a more muscular look. And the fiberglass front fenders don 'Grand Sport' badging. The rear brake ducts enhance both form and function. They provide the extra cooling desired for hard charging. And the rear spoiler is also inherited from the Z06.

Inside, the Grand Sport presents a familiar and classic Corvette cockpit. Our extremely well-equipped 4LT came teeming with standard features.

The sport bucket seats are well-bolstered and plenty supportive for the fast and furious. Ours also had optional heat, perforated leather inserts, and power adjusters for the passenger. Notable options include a Bose premium seven-speaker sound system and a head-up display.

Government Fuel Economy ratings for the Corvette Grand Sport are 16 city/26 highway on premium fuel. Not bad for a track demon.

And price-wise, you can call the Grand Sport a bargain within the spectrum of world-class sports cars. Its sticker starts at $55,720 for the coupe and $59,530 for the convertible. That's near Z06 performance for less than six grand more than the base 'Vette.

With the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, the gap between the base 'Vette and the hot-shoe Z06 has been tangibly filled. The Grand Sport adds track-capable prowess at a true bargain price, and is yet another reason the Corvette faithful stay excited.


  • Engine: Ls3 6.2-Liter V8
  • Horsepower: 430
  • Torque: 424 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 4.3 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 12.6 Seconds @ 115 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 118 Feet
  • EPA: 16 MPG City/ 26 MPG Highway