What’s New – The quintessential American sports car gets significant updates for the 2008 model year. A bigger engine, an all-new steering rack, an upgraded automatic transmission and an optional exhaust upgrade enhance performance, while a new leather-wrapped dash significantly adds to the Corvette’s feeling of refinement.
Why It Matters – Chevrolet is serious about its sports car and is addressing longstanding criticisms regarding its refinement and character against cars like the Porsche 911. With this model, the company has seriously upped the ante, making the Corvette desirable beyond its current loyal fan base.
Chevrolet Corvette Convertible – 2008 Review: There are two Chevrolet Corvettes. The first is as the quintessential American sports car, as classically Yankee as baseball and apple pie. It exudes power and performance from every angle. The engine’s idle is a basso profundo note that you feel as much as you hear, and it pours out power and torque as thick and sweet as an overturned jar of honey. The handling will have your neck muscles straining. Yet all of it at a price thousands less than anything else that can approach the kind of performance Chevy’s sports car muscles up.
Then there’s the other Corvette, the one Chevrolet and the car’s legions of fans would rather you forget. The one with the plasticky interior, junky build quality and poor reliability. The one that became synonymous with gold-chain wearing mid-life crisis guys and the trophy wives who love them. The one that Porsche drivers laugh at because they know that deep down inside, the Corvette is just another product from GM and will never be as purebred as a 911.
Chevrolet of course promotes the former image, but is keenly aware of the latter and over the past decade has worked hard to erase it from buyers’ minds. The fifth generation “C5” Corvette that lasted from 1998 through 2003 indeed changed a lot of minds, but not enough. The current generation C6 has gone even further, refining the Vette without filtering the driving experience.
The 2008 model year brings us a significant host of updates to the current car, enough that we want to call it a C6.5. On the surface, it looks much the same as the 2007 model, yet Chevrolet has put money where it counts, improving on the stuff that makes the Corvette great, and addressing the areas that make Porsche owners point and laugh. The steering feel is greatly improved thanks to a new mechanism. The automatic transmission offers up a more involving driving experience. An optional leather-wrapped dash is as nice as anything we’ve seen from Stuttgart. There’s even a new engine with even more power. It’s still not perfect, but Chevrolet’s sports car is better than ever, able to hold its head high against its rivals in both performance and refinement.