There’s no doubt that the 6.0-litre V8 engine is a powerhouse of American muscle. It's described as a ‘small block’ engine, but there’s nothing diminutive about the 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds and top speed of 175mph. At sensible speeds, the Corvette Roadster is happy to rumble through town, though the six-speed manual gearbox and heavy clutch will require you to build up the strength in your left leg.
The optional automatic gearbox solves this problem and suits the Roadster’s more laid back cruising attitude. Whichever gearbox you prefer, the V8 engine is fuss-free at low revs, yet it responds instantly to every input of the throttle and bellows in the way only a big V8 can when given a free rein.
The Roadster has been well engineered and loses none of the Coupe’s rigidness. Over rough roads, there’s no vibration or creaking from the open-top body and nor is there any detectable flex through the steering or around the dashboard. However, in solving one problem, Corvette has created another in the Roadster’s over-firm ride. Every bump, ridge and dip is felt by the car’s occupants and mid-corner ruts can throw the C6 off-line too easily.
There’s plenty of grip from the massive tyres and fantastic brakes, but cornering balance is further undermined by the car’s steering, which is very quick to react to even the smallest input. It leads to a nervous feel, even on the motorway, and doesn't deliver the same level of confidence that a Porsche does.