Chevrolet Unveils 2014 Corvette Stingray
GM North America President Mark Reuss shows off the new Corvette for the first time
Chevrolet finally threw off the veil of secrecy surrounding the launch of the new 2014 C7 Corvette at a press event just one day before the North American International Auto Show press preview. The new sports car will resurrect the “Stingray” moniker first used as the name of a concept race car, and made famous by the C2 Corvette Sting Ray.
The C7 was a long time coming. Plans for the replacement of the outgoing C6 have been on the table since 2007, but the financial meltdown that occurred one year later threw a serious wrench in R&D abilities, and the project was shelved. A takeover by the United States government relegated the C7 in favor of models that had a broader market appeal, like the Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu, and bolstering Buick’s position in China. New Corvette variants were produced, however, such as the Grand Sport and 640hp ZR1 models. To keep costs down, the interior of all Corvettes was essentially kept the same, much to the chagrin of industry insiders and customers, who balked at the idea of a $100,000 Corvette with substandard seats and cheap plastic materials.
While keeping costs low is an essential factor of any business, Chevy had slashed costs so low that while the Corvette was mechanically competent, sports car aficionados reveled in exposing the C6’s numerous flaws. Not helping matters was the fact that while the ‘Vette was relatively affordable in America, exchange rates and import costs kept prices so high that it nearly competed with the BMW M3 in price in some markets.
Again, to keep costs down, the C7 will not be mid-engined, and the sole motor (for now) remains a large V8 that will send 450hp and 450lb-ft of torque through the rear wheels. That provides an incremental increase over the current 6.2L’s 630hp, but the all-aluminum chassis shaves off nearly 100lbs and a standard seven-speed manual transmission will allow the C7 roar from standstill to 60mph in less than four seconds. When not blasting away from stop lights, half of its cylinders will be deactivated to improve fuel economy; this feature is standard on many Chevrolet automobiles equipped with V8s.
“Stingray” name returns
The exterior is an evolution of the C6, so an upward-sloping, cab-back design returns, now complete with a hood scoop on all models and a wide grille that apes the SRT Viper. The rear is another story; quad adjoining exhaust pipes return, and Corvette borrows square LED taillights from the Camaro. Stingray badges adorn the area behind the front wheel vents.
When creating the C7, attention had to be paid to the interior, namely the materials composition and the seats. Two kinds of seats are available, so drivers can choose between a cruiser and a carver. The interior is now swathed in leather and soft-touch plastics, and a stingray-shaped steering wheel replaces the spartan unit from the C6. All dashboard controls, shifter, and 8-inch configurable display face toward the driver for easy access.
A leaf-spring suspension system remains but will be stiffer in the Z51 package, allaying concerns about the C6’s similar but not exactly track-worthy setup returning. The Magnetic Ride Control option, borrowed from the Cadillac CTS-V and Camaro ZL1, is also available on the Z51-equipped C7s, and allows dampers to read and react to road conditions 1,000 times per second.
The Corvette C7 will go on sale later this year, in late summer/early fall. Final prices haven’t been nailed down but will presumably be announced closer to the its release date. More photos can be found at the beautiful Motor Trend gallery.