2011 Corvette GS Convertible Review

Front 3/4 view of blue 2011 Corvette GS parked with top down
The 2011 Corvette GS Convertible.

Gotta hand it to Chevrolet. They know how to keep things interesting. Even as the current generation Corvette ages and the buff books begin trotting out artists' renderings of what the next one is likely to look like, the bowtie boys find ways to keep you from sitting it out until then.

Case in point: The Corvette GS Convertible.

We'll get right to the stuff that matters. It's the LS3 V8...6.2 liters and 430 horsepower with a six-speed manual transmission. Same basic setup as the standard Corvette Convertible. But instead of 4.2 seconds to 60, the GS gets it done in 3.95 and will pull 1 g on the skidpad. The price? Five grand more than the standard model.

Rear 3/4 view of 2011 Corvette GS Convertible driving with top up
The 2011 Corvette GS Convertible looks good even with the top up.

That, by the way, works out to a base price of $59,045. So what's the difference? Bigger brakes, a dry-sump oiling system, differential cooler and a rear-mounted battery. All of which works together for that fractional improvement in the standing-start run to 60 and the improved handling.

Not a bad package for a shade under $60K. But the option list beckons...and it can bite you big-time. Chevy's press-fleet folks loaded our tester up by clicking just seven little boxes on the order form...and added $16,255 to the bottom line...which wound up reading $76,245.

Interior of 2011 Corvette GS Convertible
The (improved through options) 2011 Corvette GS Convertible interior.

What'd they do? Well, there was the 4LT Premium Equipment Group: Custom leather-wrapped interior (which was nice, given that the inside is still the 'Vette's Achilles Heel), a Bose Premium 7-speaker audio system (helpful with the top down), an extra 9 months on the SiriusXM satellite subscription, heads-up display (hmmm...), power telescoping steering wheel, heated seats, a memory package, universal home remote, adjustable sport bucket seats with perforated leather inserts, power passenger seat, a cargo net, Bluetooth and a power convertible top.

That package alone was $9,700 of the damage. If you could do it a la carte, I'd say yes to the interior upgrade (maybe...depending on the price), the audio upgrade, the telescoping wheel, the adjustable seats and Bluetooth.

We could save $1,250 right away because GM made this one a six-speed automatic. I'll shift it myself, thanks. That also eliminates $270 for "automatic transmission pedal covers".

$1,195 for "dual-mode performance exhaust"? What part of the 0.25 second improvement in the 0-60 runs is that responsbile for? Not enough for five bucks shy of 12-hundred. Pass.

That pretty blue is called "Jetstream Blue Metallic Tintcoat". It's $850. I'm sure I can find a no-extra-cost color I like just as much.

$1,795 for a nav system. Regular TireKicker readers know what comes next. Guys: It's 2011. My GPS system is in my pocket (no, I'm not talking dirty)...there's an app (or 20) for that.

And finally, $1,195 for the Grand Sport Heritage Package. Two-tone leather seats, GS logos embroidered into the headrests and the fender stripe hash mark design (applied by the dealer). That one I'd actually go for. This is a special edition...the first GS since the C4 Corvette. That means some level of collectibility is at least possible, and any feature that is exclusive and relevant to the GS is worthwhile.

Unfortunately, true a la carte isn't possible. There's 1LT, 2LT, 3LT and 4LT. And what I would want is scattered throughout. Not selecting 4LT loses you the interior upgrade. The better audio system and the telescoping steering wheel are a part of 3LT.

The sport buckets (which I'd like) and Bluetooth (which I think is mandatory) are a part of 2LT...but you have to swallow the power passenger seat (which adds weight), power top (ditto) and cargo net (which I'm okay with).  But it adds $3,190 to the price tag. Cave in and get 3LT for the audio system and scoping steering wheel and it's $6,200 more than the base GS Convertible.

Still, either of those would get the 'Vette in under $70K...and that's a bargain for this level of performance.

EPA estimate: 15 city/25 highway.