I figured it was about time to write a follow up about this thing that I bought.
TL;DR - this is really long. I’ve spent a lot of time with it. The car is still blisteringly quick, and I understand it better. Android Auto is glitchy but otherwise the tech is almost as impressive as the drivetrain. It drives like a supercar but it isn’t one. It’s also incredibly flexible for a 2 seater sports car and well sorted, but it’s occasionally missing random quality of life touches.
Note: All the pics are mine unless otherwise noted. Ask me anything you want in the comments.
Well, you’re going to do it, so get on with it.
Disclaimer: I’m not Doug Demuro and I don’t care about quirks and features. He’s already got a video for that, too.
I’ve been driving the hell out of it - already at 1200 miles added, which is a lot considering I work from home - and I’ve managed to figure out a lot of things about it I didn’t understand on my test drive and confirm a lot of other things that I suspected but could only confirm now.
The car is magnificently mental. Phoenix is a city that is like an adventurous girl. Late at night when you’re on off peak hours, you get lots of chances to just try things with her. And she, for the most part, should be as capable and accepting as you hope her to be.
Here are the things I might have allegedly done so far:
1. Followed a Hellcat up to 165 over 3-5 straight miles of “Let me lose this Chevy real quick”
2. Scared the shit out of myself through a 60 mph curving freeway interchange at 125 (the car seemed bored)
3. Drove it through intensely heavy rain with low visibility at flow of traffic at 65 on bald rear Cup 2s to have NEW rear Cup 2s mounted elsewhere
4. Drove it to a LAN party with my computer and my friend and his equipment as well with 0 issues
5. Took it to two local Cars and Coffees to almost no attention (which is totally great!)
6. Bought a SD card at 3 am in a drugstore to use in the Performance Data Recorder
You’re obviously mentally handicapped.
That might be true. But the truth of the matter is that this car is more capable than my feeble meatflesh and grey matter put together will probably ever be.
It is still a 650 horsepower human shit extruder. Forget 3D printers - nothing will produce material in such linear fashion faster than this thing with traction control disabled. And it would be stupid as hell to disable the traction control without being on a track and having lots of extra insurance.
Despite that ringing endorsement I have still not disabled the traction control. However, my friend is trying to get me to sign up for an autocross next week, so we’ll see how stupid I really am.
Did you ever figure out the stereo and head unit?
Actually, yeah I did. I was going to cancel my SiriusXM membership after I traded in the Lexus, but this car also has it, so I ported my account over. They still have lame packages and almost inconsiderate pricing. And you still get commercials half the time, so I don’t see the point behind it. I might cancel it or at least talk to their retention department and get my membership rate reduced for another 6 months. SiriusXM comedy stations are, ironically, an unfunny joke and only come with the mid rate package or higher, which also includes about 300 sports channels I will never use.
That aside, here is a list of things that the head unit supports:
3. AM/FM/SiriusXM radio
4. Apple Carplay/Android Auto (more on this later)
6. PDR settings
7. Native Pandora
8. Front camera manual enable
10. Engine exhaust note, Dash gauge settings based on sport setting, sound EQ, and about 18,000 other things in the settings
Now, the most recent Infotainment unit I’ve used before this car is the 2010 IS-F that I used to have, and it’s true the Lexus was behind the infotainment curve for several years. So I had no idea what I was missing even in this already three year old car. The 3LZ comes with a Bose 9 speaker system and it’s loud, but doesn’t always sound great.
I did the old man thing where I turned up the subwoofer, put on some classic Fitty Cent, and then immediately turned it down because it was too loud. It was a humbling moment.
The buttons still feel Chevy flimsy but the touch screen, aside from the fingerprint smears I have put on it, has been working great. Now that I’ve practiced with it, I can use it pretty easily, but the issue remains that I have to take my eyes off the road to see what I am doing, which I don’t have to do with the hard buttons.
Speaking of which, the way that you press the steering wheel mounted “Skip next” and “Volume up/down” buttons are actually not pressing down with your thumbs, but to press them from the bottom up with your fingers on the far side of the wheel. It’s an interesting choice, and honestly, I can see why they did it. The wheel is just too damn busy to lay it the other way and without it your hands look too much like they are masturbating, not skipping the song you’ve already heard 30 times.
I forgot to take a picture of what my friend calls the Batman screen. The center screen is retractable for a fun little cubbyhole. I put my USB mp3 drive in there since the elbow placed center console is very shallow, but my Pixel 1 XL with rubber case does NOT fit. Just by a slight margin.
It actually makes me want to upgrade my phone to one with a smaller screen, which I never considered before. Honestly, my friend really likes the horsepower that comes out of my car, but he won’t stop banging on about the Batman screen- and I don’t mind.
I put all my drugs in there instead. A hardcore OG like me only carries the finest - Dramamine, Ibuprofen, and Lactaid.
The car has no CD player, and for the first time, I don’t miss it. You can Audible books from your phone via Auto or Carplay.
Okay, fucking shut up about the infotainment.
No. The front cameras are amazing, and they help you see everything in front of the bumper, and it’s super easy to use. They even come on automatically if you reverse up a bit and put the gear back in first. The only real problem with them is that they won’t engage over a certain speed, which appears to be about 3 mph. It forces you to close in, and then turn it on manually, which is a bit annoying. But it is a lifesaver for a short guy like me who always struggles to see over hoods no matter where the chair is.
My wife really likes that the seat warmers are so damn fast. It was 85 degrees yesterday, and she still had them on. She has a medical condition.
Also, I still find it a serious omission that I can view how often my E-Diff has engaged its limited slip clutch over the time the engine has been on, but I can’t have anything like lane blind spot watching, a panoramic supplementary mirror, or any side camera or visibility at all. You wind up craning your neck around like on the parallel parking portion of the driving test.
The dash will tell me ridiculous things - it’s got a G meter, separate oil, engine, transmission fluid and coolant temps, oil pressure, oil life, it’s got tire temp status (warm and cold), TPMS psi, E-Diff engagement, overall engine RPMs over the life of the car and the two resettable odo MPG. It’s got a compass and a digital tach that can go circular or logarithmic.
This is getting tiresome.
Okay, okay. But see how much shit they’ve crammed into the computers here? My Chevy Mylink app on my phone allows me to lock and unlock my doors remotely, see how many miles I have left until I run out of fuel, will allow me to configure automatic maintenance and troubleshooting alerts and automatically send them to my preferred dealer to book an appointment. I can send turn by turn navigation directions to my car from the app or request roadside assistance.
My OnStar membership allows my car to have a 4G LTE hotspot built in with unlimited data (it costs $30 a month by itself.) And as such, I have named it “Compensating Wifi” and the password is about a tiny penis. If you can access it and guess the password, you’re welcome to use it to your heart’s content.
The Android Auto car interface is kind of troublesome and doesn’t work very well. It’s good at running Google Maps navigation on the screen, can port FB messenger and text message notifications and read them out loud via text to speech and responding back with speech to text, and will play Pandora through as well as Spotify and Amazon Music, but it will on occasion randomly crash out when doing something, and playlist support in the apps are noticeably spotty. Once it even desynced my phone with Bluetooth and just sat there until I rebooted my phone.
There is a 40% chance that it’s my phone, though, which has been more problematic lately, but I just think they could do so much more with the technology. I wonder if Apple Carplay works better.
Also annoyingly, the rev matching on downshifting located on what are normally the flappy paddles for an auto transmission disable the mode every time the car shuts off. You have to turn it on again when you start the car again, every time.
Enough! Talk about something else. What about ergonomics?
Okay, okay. Ergonomically, there are only a few quibbles - when I get in an out, occasionally my stupid knees hit the trunk release button and there is no delay in button engagement, so 5% of the time I get in, and then immediately get out to close the trunk. The traction control button is right next to it and IMMEDIATELY disables the traction control, so I’ve had to be more careful there. Also, I have 2 memory settings (one for each of the two key fobs) for mirrors, seat, and steering wheel adjustments. The passenger has zero memory settings.
Like I mentioned in a previous post the gloss covered carbon fiber and suede touches are very welcome, but underneath the suede occasionally you find that the material underneath is still hard. It’s not that bad, but it just doesn’t scream luxury. However, if you bought a Corvette for luxury reasons, I have a bridge and timeshare you can obviously afford to buy off me.
The color HUD still works well, and will also output what music track is going to play next if you use the steering wheel to skip to the next track.
I love the fact that I can change the car settings from Eco, Touring, Sport, and Track to customize the ride, steering heaviness, and engine sound level. Driving around in Eco with my wife I honestly thought the engine sounded like garbage, it was quiet and kind of raggedy. I dropped her off and put it into Track mode, and what a difference! It sounds like the beast everyone knows it is. The steering in Track compared to Eco makes Track mode feel virtually unassisted.
One thing about the electric steering - yes, the C7 comes with electric assisted power steering! - there is steering feel through there. It’s weighted well and is pretty precise. I realize now that while I was ok with how the IS-F electric powered steering was, I wasn’t really feeling anything through that Lexus wheel. The C7 wheel is a telegraph reporting on the Hindenburg explosion in Morse code by comparison. And I realize now what I was missing. The manual even explains that with the steering in the Vette, it’s normal for the wheel to track on ruts in the road. It was a little surprising to feel the wheel pull that way, but after a while, I realized how useful this was in telling me how the road was going to go. I’m loving all of it.
Finally, something interesting about how it drives.
You betcha! The car is still a pleasure to drive and I’m still managing 24 mpg on good behaviour on the highway. Now that I have brand new Cup 2 tires on it, the rear end has stopped being terrifying and more just sort of reliably threatening. It’s so damn stable at speed I’m approaching speeds in turns (at 70% effort) 10-20 mph higher than what I knew the Lexus was capable of at maximum effort. When you brake, you can yank out eyeballs and send things in bags flying. When you turn, it pulls on your face and arms.
I have yet to understeer in the thing, and it’s not for lack of trying. The rear end has slipped out on me a few times before the traction control caught me, but front end grip has been consistently massive.
What I find really interesting aside from the massive G forces this thing applies to humans, is its impeccably docile nature. Aside from the crashing thunderstorm of road noise that the Cup 2 tires generate, the inside rides really comfortably and squishy in Eco and using less than 20% of throttle makes the whole thing seem calm to the point of surreal. The seats are cushy and comfy and you can set them up to be as soft or as brutal as you want. Nearly the entire car is configurable in a driving sense and it just makes any drive, slow or fast, just excellent to be participating in.
And once you’re done being a goodie two shoes fuddy-duddy, you can drop it down to 3rd (you can do this at 85 mph!) and flatten the pedal and be at 125 right before redline and into 4th in about 3 seconds. This kind of bipolar nature is only seen in eyes of hurricanes and extremely good looking men and women with some deep-set emotional issues that haven’t received treatment yet.
4th can take you all the way to 150 mph if you’re brave enough. Your irises dilate and your pulse quickens. You start to scream internally and a bit externally like an overexcited Star Wars Porg. Everything starts to blur and you are just there. However you wanted to be in whatever speed you wanted to be in, whichever direction you wanted to be pointed in at the time, you are there within a few seconds without compromise, ambiguity, or hesitation. I’ve seen jet planes take off with less confidence.
For once, the guy with the expensive sports car is in control
Speaking of control, the car responds to brute strength the best. You want to hit the throttle hard, you want to shift with force, you want to clutch in strongly, and you want to turn the wheel with confidence. The stronger you go, the smoother the parts mesh for you. If you drive it like a weenie, the transmission will attempt to guide you from first gear into fourth to save fuel, and you will find that resisting that easy-shift mechanism requires some fucking strength.
Okay, what else? You must be loving all the attention you get.
I have to talk about the reactions to seeing this car. A few friends have professed their undying love for it - which is genuinely pleasing to me. I like that my friends think it’s cool, even though most of the time I don’t really focus on other people’s opinions. In parking lots and in Cars and Coffees, I’m virtually ignored. There are usually 3 other Corvettes and a few Audi R8s and NSXes peeking over in the corner, and the Vette just does not have the draw power of one of those. I’m actually ok with this. I bought the car for me, so I can drive apeshit, not so I can garage queen it and open the hood once a month and sit in my lawn chair while people gawk.
But we have to talk about the attention I get when I’m actually driving it.
I have had more people try to race me in the last month than the entire combined attempts in my NSX, STI, and IS-F put together. Every single bro truck I have passed has immediately kicked down and gotten about 10 feet in front of me for no damn reason. Every single Dodge Challenger and Charger has made it a personal mission of theirs to ensure I hear their engine as LOUD as possible no matter how busy the traffic is.
It doesn’t matter where I go, or how I drive, or what lane I’m in or what speed I’m going. Someone is going to race me today and I’m going to have virtually no idea it’s going to happen until it’s too late.
I had a modded Golf R randomly just shoot up to 130 mph on an empty freeway, and I happily tailed it effortlessly all the way to my freeway exit. A random RC-F saw me PARK and then decided he was going to leave the lot at 6000 rpm in first gear.
It’s also true when it comes to parking. I now am parking about 60 miles away from the building I plan on entering on foot. I am starting to gain leg muscle and lose waist fat, due to the marathon I wind up walking to the front door of any building that isn’t my own house.
Despite only being inside for something like 15 minutes, I’ll walk out, and SOMEONE is parked right next to the car, even though it’s over in the neighboring town parking lot and we can only see our cars through a telescope. It’s mind boggling how far people go out of their way just to park next to the thing. I really don’t get it. This was not really the kind of attention I am looking for, if I wanted any at all.
The local Lexus gang have graciously allowed me to stay in the social group, despite my lack of natural aspiration and Lexus F badges.
Overall, though, the car is a dream come true. It’s actually almost as fun and direct as the NSX was, it’s way more technologically evolved than the IS-F was, and it’s one of the fastest street legal cars of all time, even with the manual 7 speed “slowing” it down. It has a weight to power ratio of 5.42 pounds to horsepower, which is just MENTAL. A Lotus Evora 400 is somewhere around 7.8, which is nowhere close.
After having lived with this thing for a month and dailying it and worrying about the windshield being a magnet for rocks, worrying about scraping the front splitter (Luckily plastic, but still a $600 replacement), and balking at the cost of tires, insurance, ceramic coatings and magnetic shocks, I am CERTAIN I have made the right decision.
It has lifted my whole mood and transported what I knew about myself to another plane. It is automotive Viagra and Prozac and Chantix all at once. It makes you really feel like you could be Batman or even Doctor Bong. Any day, ANY DAY where stuff winds up going poorly I can get in my car at night and drive it 20 miles and remember who I am and what I am working and living for, with a clarity that Mental Health professionals have been unable to provide at much higher cost. I really recommend this kind of retail therapy to anyone, no matter what the age.
Speaking of which, the car has a teen driving mode, which is ridiculous.
It needs for nothing except fuel and driving focus, and it makes me want for nothing aside from two working legs, two working arms, and two working eyes.
Oh, and don’t bother getting the WeatherTech trunk liner for it unless you REALLY want it and have money to burn. While it lays flat, it curls in a few places where fitment isn’t great, and covers up the rings used for the provided netting to clip into the trunk. I wound up slicing two slots into it to push the mounting rings through, compromising its water resistance in that area.
Next time, I’ll write fewer words and probably include a video that I pull from the PDR to see what that is like. Thank you for reading, Oppo.
If you want me to, I’ll continue writing about the car as well. I have a feeling that I have peaked at this age, and will never own another car as incredible and versatile as this, performance wise.
If the manual ICE sports car is going to die a quiet, whimpering death in the car market and be supplanted by the white walkers of Electric Auto-driving Power, I’ll rage against the dying of the light in my own personal Dino-oil powered Alamo, and it will have Z06 badges on it.
This one, THIS ONE, after years of buying cars every two years, I’m 100% committed to keeping. Even if I win the lottery, I’ll never let this one go.