At first blush, the Chevy Corvette and the Porsche 911 couldn’t be more different. One’s a venerable symbol of the finest German engineering, the other’s a flag-waving symbol of the American auto industry. But refinements to the newest Corvette allow it to compete on the Porsche’s turf with commendable success.
The Porsche 911 will forever stay true to its heritage as a rear-engine 2+2 sports car with relatively small, yet power-packed motors and sophisticated drivetrains. The Corvette Stingray keeps its monster motor up front and carries only two passengers.
The outgoing 2016 911 holds the No. 2 spot in our rankings of luxury sports cars and luxury convertibles. The Corvette is earns the No. 3 slot the luxury convertible segment, and is tied for the No. 3 slot in luxury sports cars. The 2016 Porsche Boxster holds the No. 1 slot in both categories.
The 2017 models of the Porsche 911 started arriving in dealerships in March, and the rollout of the 14 different 911 variants will continue through the summer. The 911 models are available with rear- or all-wheel drive and in 2+2 coupe and convertible models. Recently introduced was an ultra-lightweight 911R model.
The current generation of the Chevrolet Corvette was introduced in 2014, bringing back the Stingray moniker first used on the Corvette in 1963. It’s available in coupe and convertible models and an ultrahigh-performance Z06 version.
Both sports cars are nearly the same length, but the Corvette is 2.7 inches wider and 2.3 inches lower than the 911. Though the 911 officially seats four, the rear seat is too cramped for all but the smallest children. The base model of the Corvette weighs 145 pounds more than the base Porsche 911 Carrera.
Pricing – Winner: 2016 Chevrolet Corvette
It’s a slam dunk when comparing prices for the two sports cars. The base price for the Corvette is $55,400, while the base model of the 2017 Porsche 911 lineup, the Carrera, starts at $89,400. Corvette convertibles start at $59,400, while the Carrera Cabriolet’s base price is $101,700.
The range-topping Chevrolet Corvette Z06 has a base price of $79,400. Porsche’s top-end 2017 911 Turbo S Cabriolet starts at $200,400. Limited production runs often drive dealer prices for high-end Porsche models higher than their suggested retail prices.
Performance (Speed) – Winner: Tie
It’s a mixed bag of results in the speed category. The base Corvette is faster than a 911 Carrera in the race from zero to 60 mph. The ‘vette can get there in 3.7 seconds versus the Porsche Carrera’s 4.0 seconds. With Porsche, more speed costs a lot of money.
You have to step up one model in the Porsche lineup to equal the Corvette’s time. The $103,400 Porsche Carrera S matches the Stingray’s 3.7 second sprint. Spend another $85,000 or so, and you can buy a 911 Turbo S that can launch from zero to 60 mph in an epic 2.8 seconds, compared to the Corvette Z06’s 2.95 seconds.
Standard in the Corvette Stingray is a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 455 horsepower. Z06 models use a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that cranks out 650 horsepower. All Corvettes are rear-wheel drive. 2017 Porsche Carreras now use a twin-turbo horizontally opposed 3-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 370 horsepower, and both rear- and all-wheel drives are available. It’s the first turbocharged engine used in the base 911, and it’s downsized from last year’s 3.8-liter non-turbo engine.
The Porsche 911 Turbo S employs a 3.8-liter twin turbo horizontally opposed six-cylinder capable of producing 580 horsepower. Its time is improved by using all-wheel drive to ensure massive amounts of traction as it leaves the start line.
Performance (Handling) – Winner: Porsche 911
Although the Corvette Stingray’s handling sharpness is excellent, especially compared to previous models, it doesn’t exhibit the Porsche’s legendary handling prowess and lacks the option of all-wheel drive that Porsche offers or includes on most 911 trims. Despite its athletic performance, the 911 is refined enough to drive every day.
Standard on even base 911s is Porsche’s Active Suspension Management which actively adjusts the shock absorbers. All-wheel steering is available. Though the last generation brought 911 aficionados kicking and screaming into the age of electric power steering, Porsche does it right, with proper weight, feedback, and linear feel.
The seventh generation Corvette has gained world-class handling characteristics, excellent grip, responsive steering, and powerful brakes. A day-long journey in a Corvette was once cruel and unusual punishment; now it’s pleasant. An electronically controlled suspension allows the driver to select just the right chassis personality for their level of enthusiasm.
GM’s Magnetic Ride Control is available on many Corvette models, constantly adjusting the suspension to rapidly changing road conditions.
Safety – Winner: 2017 Porsche 911
Neither the 2016 Corvette nor 2017 911 has been evaluated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration or by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but each features or offers a broad array of passive and active safety features, including some of the strongest brakes available in any car in the market.
For 2017, the Porsche gains available forward collision intervention, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot warning.
Seat Comfort – Winner: 2017 Porsche 911
While the 2016 Corvette Stingray has certainly improved in terms of interior comfort, it simply can’t match the quality of the materials used in the much more expensive Porsche 911. Testers report that the seats in the new 911 provide excellent comfort and support.
The Corvette comes standard with eight-way power leather seats and a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel. More supportive Competition Sport seats are available that include openings for multipoint racing seat belts. The center console of the Corvette is rather wide and can get in the way for some drivers.
Partial leather-faced seats are standard in the 911, and several grades of full leather surfaces are available.
Interior Tech – Winner: 2016 Chevrolet Corvette
Both the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette and the 2017 Porsche 911 feature interior technology that rivals larger, less sporty cars. Apple CarPlay connectivity is available for both, though Android Auto is not yet available in either car. New in the Corvette for 2016 is a standard 8-inch Chevrolet MyLink infotainment interface.
The 911 gains a new version of the Porsche Communications Management System, a 7-inch infotainment system that responds to touch, swipe and finger-written character inputs.
Electronically controlled driving modes are included on both models, with the Porsche’s using a steering wheel-mounted controller. The Corvette’s console-mounted controller adjusts more facets of the car’s setup, however, including steering response, Magnetic Ride Control, and the multifunction instrument panel’s information displays.
What really sets the Corvette apart is the available Performance Data Recorder. It records high definition video and interior audio, with an overlaid stream of the vehicle’s performance, g-force, and position telemetry.
Trunk and Storage Space – Winner: 2016 Chevrolet Corvette
Cargo space a factor in which sports car to buy? Absolutely. When you decide to hit the road for the weekend, your stuff has to fit somewhere. The Corvette takes this category with 15 cubic feet of usable cargo room in the coupe and 10 cubic feet in the convertible.
The Porsche 911’s cargo space is split into two parts, with 5.12 cubic feet of space in the front trunk, plus 9.18 cubic feet in the back seat (assuming that you’re not carrying any kids back there). If you’re comparing the Corvette convertible to a 911 Cabriolet, the 911 has slightly more total space, though the Porsche convertible’s 5.65 cubic feet of rear-seat space is hard to access when the top is up.
Fuel Economy – Winner: 2017 Porsche 911
With EPA-estimated fuel economy as high as 22 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway, the Porsche Carrera with the PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) transmission tops the Corvette’s best mileage numbers. The Corvette earns EPA estimates of 17/29 mpg city/highway when equipped with a seven-speed manual transmission.
Naturally, more powerful models of the two cars trade-off power for mileage. The Corvette Z06 with a manual transmission has EPA-estimated mileage of 15/22 mpg city/highway. The Porsche 911 Turbo S earns estimates of 19/24 mpg city/highway.
Premium fuel is required for all Corvette and Porsche 911 models.
Reliability – Winner: 2017 Porsche 911
While reliability scores for the 2017 Porsche 911 are not out yet, we can deduce how it will likely rank from the brand’s previous performance. The 2016 Porsche 911 was rated a five on a five-point scale using J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study and Predicted Reliability data.
Porsche is also the No. 1-ranked brand in J.D. Power’s 2015 U.S. Initial Quality Study. The Corvette is still rated above average with a score of 3.5 on the same five-point scale.
Which car should you buy? 2017 Porsche 911
As great as it has become, the Chevy Corvette Stingray is simply outgunned by the range of Porsche 911s available. The 911 is a technical marvel, with exceptional driving dynamics that only get better as the car is refined from generation to generation.
Of course, there are Corvette fanatics and Porsche aficionados with very little crossover between the two groups. Will the 2017 Porsche 911 be awesome enough to get Corvette buyers to switch, or will the reasonable price for the excellent performance of the Corvette continue to drive strong sales? Only time will tell.
If you’re looking for the best deal on a new luxury sports car, be sure to check our latest new car deals and leasing pages, and then use our Best Price Tool to make your car buying dollars go further.