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

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

    Porsche Cayman

    1
  • The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

    2
  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

    3
  • Costliest car gets the deftest chassis to ever underpin a TT - the best reason yet to buy into Audi’s coupe.

    Audi TTS

    4
  • Peugeot RCZ R
    The front-drive RCZ R packs a 266bhp turbocharged engine

    Peugeot RCZ R

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Chevrolet range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Space and practicality has never been an issue for the Seat Leon ST, and thanks to a Cupra 280 engine it's now fast, too - but does it gel as a package?
  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Ariel's third model is the best yet - in fact, it's one of the best driving experiences we've ever had
  • Car review
    23 April 2015
    Mazda's Skyactiv tech revolution transforms its cheapest model
  • The new Espace is a seven seater and described by the company as a 'crossover'.
    First Drive
    23 April 2015
    Renault replaces its classic flagship MPV with a new take on the seven-seat utility vehicle, but it's not for sale in the UK
  • First Drive
    23 April 2015
    You won't find another premium, all-wheel-drive, seven-seat compact MPV like BMW's xDrive 2 Series Gran Tourer, but is there a reason for that?