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Grand Sport might as well be twirling a butterfly knife at the intersection of Performance Avenue and Value Lane with a pack of unfiltered smokes rolled up in the sleeve of a plain white tee. It’s an intimidating thug from the Bowtie Gang that both outperforms and undercuts the competition. It’s a bully that goads others into street fights they can’t win and starts just as many brawls among friends (or co-workers if you happen to work here). Nothing at its price comes close to putting up the performance numbers it generates.
Okay, maybe there is one rival. Less than a year ago, a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 knocked off a Z51-equipped Corvette Stingray in a two up comparison test. This Corvette Grand Sport, though, is a slightly different animal. With all the Z06’s go-fast bits except for the LT4 supercharged V-8, the GS proves that power isn’t everything. Our test car also lacked the Z07 package (carbon-ceramic brake rotors, upgraded suspension, nearly racing-grade rubber) and the competition seats. Combined, those options add $9990 to the price of a GS. The good news? You don’t need ’em.
Atop those braking and cornering scores, add the glorious engine that unleashes 460 horses when you crop the throttle—it propels the GS to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and through a quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds at 117 mph—and you have quite possibly the best performance value on the market. All of the car’s might is baked into the Grand Sport’s $66,445 base price. Headlining the options on our test example was the $4455 2LT package, which includes a lot of minor and pretty much unnecessary elements, such as a luggage net, front-view cameras, and heated and ventilated seats with memory. The $1795 Performance Data Recorder produces high-quality dash-cam footage of your pole lap at Watkins Glen—or keeps tabs on parking valets—and also includes navigation. Racing stripes ($995), Carbon Flash badging ($100), black wheels ($495), and the Heritage package, which adds fender and interior hash marks and floor mats for $795, add strictly visual horsepower, so choose your options wisely.
The only contemporary that comes close to matching the Grand Sport’s performance is the Mustang Shelby GT350R, which starts at $64,270 without a radio. Similarly optioned, the cars carry essentially the same price tag. Arguing the merits of one to the other’s fan base is a futile exercise, as blue ovals and bow ties won’t get along until a common enemy materializes.