Chevrolet's Corvette Convertible offers one of the most formidable blends of performance, panache, and price on this planet. (Or, as far as we know, any other.) Granted, the Corvette Coupe can put the wind in your hair. The one-piece removable panel (body colored or translucent) that makes up the middle of the roof lifts out easily when it's time for motoring al fresco. And it costs about $7,000 less than the Convertible. But there's an essential difference in style here, a carefree brio that no coupe can match, no matter how many roof panels are removed. And in this case, the brio is not only carefree, it's also hair-raising, literally, as well as figuratively. Unlike most convertibles, the new Corvette ragtop weighs the same as its coupe counterpart, which means its acceleration performance is undiluted: 0-to-60 mph in less than 5 seconds with the 6-speed manual transmission, about 0.4 seconds slower with the automatic. The automatic is standard in all Corvettes, the six-speed an $815 option. But automatic or stick, the new Vette is fast traffic--quick at the starting gate, beautifully balanced, surprisingly comfortable, and built to a far higher standard than any Corvette in history.