Friday, August 16, 2013

Is the C7 Chevy Corvette Stingray Really a 911 Killer

I recently read a brief, rather uninformative article on CNN about how the Stingray Corvette is finally a Porsche 911 "killer." The author of the article did not really explain how that was, so I was left wondering how the Stingray accomplishes such a task.

I grew up idolizing both the Corvette and 911. As I grew older I realized they are different beasts. The Corvette is like a sledge hammer, brutally powerful but lacking the incredible finesse of the 911. The Corvette relies on a big V8 engine in front while the 911 has a relatively small straight six in the rear. Despite what the public at large thinks, the 911 is not the best handling car on the road. To an extent handling is a preference, but even the most rabid 911 fans have to admit the car is the undisputed king of oversteer. That can be a fun thing, but it also makes the 911 a tough beast to wrangle on a track, unless you have a model with all-wheel-drive.

The  911 also comes in many formats. The new 991 architecture, which boasts many improvements over the impressive 997, is also rolling out. So far only the race-hardened GT3 version of the 991 has been unleashed on the world, but it has picked up tremendous praise (despite its lack of a manual transmission). For the Stingray to hang with the 991, it will have to be as good as some are saying. I haven't had the chance to drive one yet, so for me the jury's still out.

One thing that annoys me about the claim that the Stingray "kills" the 911 is that there is no mention of what version of the 911 it does that to. I can only assume people are referring to the 997, since the GT3 is simply in another class of vehicle. But to just say the one car "kills" the other is quite oversimplified. There are many performance aspects to a car, and no car is perfect in every sense, yet none of these aspects are cited as  reasons the Stingray is superior. Usually professional car reviews are more meticulous.

Here's my opinion: GM loves to make wild, blanket claims. How many times have I heard that some new GM model will turn the company around? Far too many. Wasn't that what Saturn was supposed to be about? Add to that the list of brands the company has killed due to gross incompetence, or in Saab's case pure sabotage, and I have become pretty cynical about GM's wild claims to out-engineer companies that have long track records for superb engineering.

So forgive me if I don't join in the ranks of American automotive writers who are eager to declare the quintessential American sports car beats the legend from Germany. Besides, the thing nobody is mentioning is how the Stingray stacks up against Nissan's Godzilla, or have we all forgotten about that incredible car?