Last month, I finally booked myself a weekend behind the wheel of the the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, fully loaded with Z51 performance package and painted a dazzling bright yellow.
With a base price of $53,800 (including the Z51) and loaded up with just about every feature available, my ride came with a $71,960 sticker.
I had planned several non-driving activities for that weekend, which I regretted as soon as I climbed into the Stingray (this requires the same muscles you use to get into a crawl space).
Simply put, I've never had more fun in a car. The Stingray is hugely powerful. Frills are limited, everything is designed to keep you focused on the road. And people absolutely love it. Even in January, I kept the window down, because so many people caught me at red lights and wanted to talk/shout nice things at me.
Their collective spirit is summarized by the first guy who spoke to me: "Dude, your Corvette is sick, bro."
First, let's just take it in. Gorgeous. The color, by the way, is "velocity yellow." I heard the working title was "look at this thing!" yellow.
The car's interior is simple, and focused on the driver. I felt like a fighter pilot sitting in this thing.
Partly, that's because of the head-up display — it gives you speed and RPM, right in front of your eyes. I think every car should have one of these.
This is where the fun happens. Yes, you're looking at a seven-speed manual shifter. Chevy's engineers did a great job making a car that moves between gears smoothly — driving the manual Corvette is effortless.
For extra smooth shifting, turn on Active Rev Matching. When you downshift, it adjusts the engine speed so there's no jolt.
This chart covers the specs of the 6.2-liter V8 engine under the Stingray's hood. You can top out at 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque.
Those numbers are hard to appreciate without driving the car, so I've included a rough approximation of what my face looked like the whole time I was behind the wheel. Joe Biden, by the way, loves Corvettes. Good man.
The Stingray comes with lots of features that let you test your driving skills, like a 0 to 60 mph timer. (This time was recorded in Manhattan traffic.)
There's a lap timer, too, if you head to the track. Or just spend a lot of time racing around your block.
The G-force meter shows how much gravity you're feeling when you whip around a tight turn or slam on the gas pedal or the brakes.
And the onboard computer offers tons of information you'll never need for everyday driving, like tire temperature.
All that power and the ability makes this car a blast. But here's the best bit about the Stingray — people absolutely love it. All weekend, I had people running up to me at red lights, asking me to rev the engine.
I don't know what people thought when they saw me driving this Bentley convertible for an earlier test review. But I wouldn't be shocked if it were something about how rich my parents must be and how obnoxious I definitely am.
But because the Corvette is 1) relatively affordable, and 2) a muscle/sports car, I don't think people saw me as obnoxious. They just wanted to be part of the fun. For the record, the attention was almost all from men. The women at this parking garage didn't care about the car.
But whatever. I'm just desperate for the snow to melt so I can convince GM to let me drive it again.
Now check out another ride that's definitely a lot of fun.