To some, it’s America’s automotive sweetheart, while to others, it’s a mid-life crisis on wheels. To car guys, it’s one of the world’s best sports cars, while others see it as a pretentious dick-size compensation device. As a person who reviews cars for a living, I see it—as do many of my fellow car journos, gay and straight—as the most impressive new automobile of 2014. I’m talking about the bawdy, bitchy and brutally fast Chevy Corvette Stingray.
While its new styling is unmistakably Corvette, it has been genetically spliced with exotic Italian DNA, with its long, beveled hood, angular body sides, and a bad boy backside with huge, can-sized quad exhaust pipes poking out from below. Especially in the searing Torch Red adorning my convertible test vehicle, the ‘Vette looks a whole like a Ferrari, and that’s no accident.
It drives like one, too. All new Corvette Stingrays are powered by the same, inappropriately loud, 450-hp V-8, with excellent manual and automatic transmissions doing the shifting (I prefer the manual). They’re not just fast in a straight line, either: brilliant steering and scintillating handling make bombing along LA’s Mulholland Drive just as enjoyable as bursting from stoplight to stoplight along Las Olas. It is fast everywhere, a license-eater if ever there was one.
Fortunately, the ‘Vette is marvelous even idling in a parking lot, with the huge V-8 rumbling beneath you, tickling your naughty parts while you savor its world class interior, the first time since the 60s that its interior could be characterized as such. The Tron-inspired décor and computerized gauge cluster are more science fiction than Euro-chic, but most of the materials used match the stuff found in similarly pricey sports cars from Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The seats are body-hugging buckets that shame the floppy lounge chairs found in prior models, and there are not one, but two low-mounted “oh-shit!” handles for the passenger. And they’re going to need them, at least with someone like me at the wheel.
The Corvette has a practical side, too, with hatchback models offering Costco-trip cargo space, and even the convertible boasting a broad, capacious trunk. And did you see that fuel economy? It’s no Prius, but for a car with such a huge V-8, it’s pretty stellar. And unlike the Prius, it can get you laid. Trust me.
If there’s one problem with driving a Corvette, it’s other people. Apparently, nothing brings out the asshole in some drivers like seeing a red Corvette—that they’re not in. No matter how deferent I was driving down the street in this car, or how much I smiled at other drivers, I was constantly being cut off, blocked from merging, whatever.
Anecdotally, I’ve found that we gays appear split into three camps: clueless haters, obsessed maniacs and guys who pretend to be haters but secretly are obsessed maniacs. I can’t speak to the first camp because they’ll never understand, but to the latter, I can say that your obsession is fully justified: the new ‘Vette is absolutely terrific.
By The Numbers
Renowned automotive journalist and gay car geek Steve Siler has turned his life-long love of cars into an enthusiastic career traveling the world to report on new automobiles as they are introduced. Siler pioneered automotive writing for the LGBT community in the late 1990s and is a regular contributor to Car and Driver Magazine, AutoTrader.com, AOL Autos, Yahoo! Autos, and the New York Daily News. You can follow his musings @silerroad on Twitter.