For more than 40 years the Corvette has flown the flag for the old-fashioned, all-American sports car. And for more than 40 years it has defined the way we Europeans have tended to think about American cars. Which, if we're being brutally honest, has never been with all that much respect.

During that time, the Corvette has been many things to many men and women; fast, powerful, on occasions breathtakingly beautiful and, compared with its European opposition, often exceptionally good value. But at the same time it has also been thirsty, overweight, underachieving in terms of suspension composure and decidedly non-cutting-edge technically compared with its Euro rivals.

Worse still, it has only ever been available in wrong-hand drive, and this more than any other factor has curtailed its appeal to just a handful of enthusiasts prepared to import their Corvettes to the UK.

Demand at home for the car (still made in Bowling Green, Kentucky, by the way) far outweighs any desire to spend money tooling up to make it in right-hand drive. As ever, then, the Corvette is still a left-hand-drive-only experience.

Except this time there are several compelling reasons to sustain your interest in the latest, sixth-generation (C6) Corvette, even if you are a UK-based sports car enthusiast with a hefty five-figure piggy bank to splash on a new toy.

For starters, GM claims genuinely to have gone to town on the car's underpinnings, having reasoned finally that to keep its legend alive it has to enable it compete head on with the very best the Europeans can offer. Hence this Corvette is lighter, smaller and significantly faster than the model it replaces, not to mention better made, more economical and a great deal more sophisticated beneath the skin.

Top 5 Affordable sports cars

  • Porsche Cayman
    The Porsche Cayman is now in its second generation

    Porsche Cayman 2013-2016

    1
  • Here is the fourth-gen Mazda MX-5 - the definitive small sports car

    Mazda MX-5

    2
  • Toyota GT86
    The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

    3
  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

    4
  • Lotus Elise S Cup
    Road-going version of the racing Elise. Suspension mods help make it an unbridled joy.

    Lotus Elise S Cup

    5

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