Six decades and as many model generations of perennial sales success have already assured the Chevrolet Corvette of its place in the automotive hall of fame.

The Corvette’s heritage rivals that of any European sports car. The first generation was launched in 1953, but it was the second that was dubbed Sting Ray – despite the mako shark being among the inspirations for its appearance.

The name fell out of use from the mid-1970s, but the Corvette has continued as a staple of Chevrolet’s line-up. The C6 Corvette was sold for eight years. It included the ZR1 — the sole recipient of the LS9, the most powerful engine ever used in a GM production car.

The US’s favourite sports car is a legend in its own back yard, but huge popularity at home has held this car back by allowing it to dodge the advancing standards of Europe’s sporting best. General Motors simply never needed the export volume.

Until now, that is, and the arrival of this seventh-generation Corvette. With this car, GM has broadened its horizons and ambitions, which is why this ‘C7’ Corvette has got a lightweight aluminium frame, carbonfibre panels, direct fuel injection and a great deal more. It’s also why it has been renamed ‘Stingray’ – an honour bestowed on only two of its predecessors.

This version has been through an intensive retuning program for Europe, and it comes with a much richer standard specification on our side of the pond than it does in the US. Despite the European withdrawal of the Chevrolet brand, it’s a car us Brits can still buy – albeit in left-hand-drive form. So should we?

Top 5 Sport coupes

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

    Toyota GT86

    1
  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

    2
  • Peugeot RCZ R
    The front-drive RCZ R packs a 266bhp turbocharged engine

    Peugeot RCZ R

    3
  • The hot Scirocco that blurs the line between coupé and hot hatch

    Volkswagen Scirocco R

    4
  • Latest TT dares to shake the dust from the memory of the mighty five-cylinder Quattro

    Audi TT RS

    5

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