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California Cruising

Flying down the Pacific Coast in a 2015 Corvette Stingray Coupe Z51

Author Justin Goldman Illustration Barry Bruner

Anyone who’s seen Bullitt knows that SF—with the hills, the traffic and the techies emailing while crossing the street—is a hairy place to drive. But the Corvette’s five drive modes helped us tackle everything from the foggy Golden Gate Bridge (weather mode) to curvy Lombard Street (track mode—kidding!).

On a quiet stretch of highway just north of Santa Barbara wine country, we cut the ’vette’s 450 horses loose; let’s just say that the car gets up to 140 waaaaay faster than we were prepared for. Needing something to calm our nerves, we stopped at Alta Maria Vineyards, in Los Olivos, for a glass of pinot noir.

The Stingray’s seven-speed manual transmission will warm any driving purist’s heart. We fired through the short throws as we came through Gaviota Pass, zipping in and out of traffic like Dustin Hoffman on his way to break up Elaine Robinson’s wedding in The Graduate.

On the winding PCH, south of Ventura, with the shimmering Pacific on our right, we took the top down to feel the sun on our faces. The carbon-fiber T-top came off with the flip of just three latches—though it was good to have a friend to help stow it in the trunk.

We put the car’s track chops to the test on the winding canyon roads of Malibu. The only thing more insane than these curves was how tightly the Z51 performance suspension package kept us glued to them. The hair on our necks stood up, but we never came close to fireballing into the bottom of the canyon.

It was our last chance to show off, so we rolled past the gallery- and bar-hopping crowds on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. We gave the heads something to bob to, firing up the Bose premium audio system to bump 2Pac’s “To Live & Die in L.A.”

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