2006 Corvette Convertible Review / Road Test

A great looker on the road

It's a beast. And so is the Corvette.

Our dog, L.B.

After a week hotdogging in a fire-red Corvette Convertible, I had a lot to wag my tongue about, but not as much as my pup in the front seat, photographed opportunely when I took her for a walk at the local dog park.

She (the dog) is not feeling well right now, she was spayed a couple of days ago and now wears one of those big plastic cone-shaped collars, which brings to mind the image of the dog with the gramophone, only our dog looks like she swallowed the gramophone. Or it swallowed her, whichever.

She still runs pretty fast, collar and all, though above 10 mph I think the bigger dawg will have her licked.

Best time I had in a week-long test of the Corvette was giving its wheel-mounted paddle gearshifts a workout on freeway and coastal roads, powering its pedigreed muscle with my right foot as close to the floor as physics and the speed limit allow.

And you've gotta be pretty nifty with those shifters to not get caught in the wrong gear, the car is so quick off the mark. You can top out at 30 mph after a blistering 1.8 seconds with the foot flat on the floor and your head pushed back in the headrest as the tachometer redlines at 7,000rpm.

White knuckles still gripping, you hit 40mph just over a half second later, and you've pretty much just changed from 1st to 2nd.

You can stay in 2nd up to 60mph  - hit in under 4.4 seconds  - and on to the speed limit, but the less maverick will have shifted down to 3rd by now, easing off the gas while peeling their eyelids from their foreheads.  The rest of the acceleration is pretty much immaterial, unless you plan to take one  to a private track soon, though figures suggest this sprinter will hit 100mph in under 10 seconds.

Sculpted muscle

You can toggle from touring suspension and sports feel, taking advantage of one of the biggest upgrades this Corvette got from its Bowling Green, Ky., plant in the last few years: its reworked suspension, which felt tight enough fettered and delivered enough give for comfortable riding in touring mode.

Only the near-suicidal will switch off the traction control.

Which regulates the wheels and their grip while reacting to the massive  grunt of power that emanates from the Corvette's torquey 6-liter big-block V8, which delivers a shudder to the driver and anyone within hearing distance, perhaps up to half mile away.

Seldom in cars do you breathe a sigh of relief after accelerating a car to its limits, and the speed limit, on safe, near-empty roads.  This car can be very scary in wrong, or should that be inexperienced, hands.  It's one of the purest speed monsters out there, and will likely beat most everything you encounter on the roads save for its sister Z06, a fraction quicker, or a Viper. And it will do it in a refined, smooth manner that belies its looks and reputation.

Classic hood

19" wheels at the back, 18" at the front

You can wring out every ounce of acceleration in manual, but you can also flip to automatic for a more comfortable freeway experience.  It's surprisingly calm to pilot at low to average speeds, making it a pleasant car to meander along at low speed, hood down, calmly observing who is quietly observing you.

Inside is all luxury but, like the back-end, there are certain things that remind you that this is still a GM-built car. The dash for one, though there is always the nifty speedometer which projects on to the front windshield, a nice touch.  The seats are leather, power and heated, and the cabin space is excellent for a two-seater, another improvement in recent years, and the trunk will easily swallow a weekend case for two.

All of which bring  the Corvette Convertible to a shade over $64,000 on the road, a decent price for what could be the purest sprinter out there, Doberman included.

Larger cabin

Paddle-shifters: great for quick changes

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