Tonight, Chevrolet took the cover off the 2014 Corvette in grand fashion. The event was broadcast online and has been publicized for months. One of the most surprising announcements of the night was the car’s name: Stingray. No Corvette has been given this badge since the late 1970s. Chevrolet felt this car was so special, that it was worthy of one of the most iconic nameplates in GM’s history. Stingrays are expected to begin hitting show room floors in September, and no pricing was announced. Nevertheless, a new Corvette is big news in the automotive world and the introduction of the C7 has been anticipated since the release of the C6 in 2005. Is the C7 worth the wait? Let’s explore the 2014 Corvette Stingray.
We will begin with the most important information. The drivetrain. The Corvette made the small block V8 into what it is today, and the 6.2 litre LT1 offered in the Corvette Stingray is all new. Producing 450 horsepower and 450 lb. ft. of torque, the numbers are not that much more than the C6. Paired with the LT1 are two new transmission options. Chevy is offering an all new seven-speed manual or a six-speed paddle shift. Both will offer impressive performance paired with that V8.
Chevrolet promises the new Corvette Stingray has 50/50 weight distribution and added stiffness to improve handling. In fact, the car’s entire frame is now constructed from aluminum, a feature once reserved for the Z06 and ZR1. Chevy claims that the new Corvette will achieve 0 – 60 in under 4 seconds and that the power to weight ratio of the C7 is better than the Porsche 911 and Audi R8. Those are some pretty big claims. Claims that will have to be tested in the future, but impressive for a base model. But nothing was said of independent suspension. Chevy will offer a Z51 performance package with a variety of improvements including Magnetic Ride Control, limited slip differential, dry sump system, close-ratio gearset, and additional coolers for the brakes, transmission and differential.
Since the C5, the Corvette’s interior has been problematic, no, cheap. The plastic dash and uncomfortable seats have made the Corvette’s interior one of the most hated in the industry. One of the promises GM made with the regards to the C7 was an all new interior worthy of a world-class sports car. Certainly the new interior looks better, but anything would be an improvement in this department.
What has changed inside the Corvette? Chevy claims that the interior is all new, and it looks it. The dashboard has an all new, driver centered design, a new instrument cluster, a new infotainment system, and all new seats. The seats of the C5 and C6 were poor and the Corvette Stingray will come with two seats, GT and Competition. Both look inviting, but the Competition seats will feature a magnesium frame to save weight and add strength. But there are some oddities. The blocky steering wheel looks like it belongs in the Impala, not a Corvette, and the carbon fiber trim pieces look out of place. Although it is not perfect, Chevrolet has paid more attention to the interior and it shows.
The exterior is where everything goes wrong for me. I have said on several occasions that if the Corvette was still made of fibre glass, in the world of aluminum, magnesium, and carbon fibre, that Chevrolet had already lost. Bad news: fibre glass it is. Why in the 21st century is a world class sports car still built from plastic?? I know, I know, carbon fibre is expensive, but aluminum is not and the entire frame of this car is made from it. If it is strong enough to frame the car, why can’t it make up the body as well?
Fibre glass aside, the Corvette now has the nose of a Viper, rear 3/4 of a GT-R, and the ass of a Camaro. The result of of an awkward three-way? There are too many lines on this car and it is hard for the eye to follow one line from start to finish with finding another. It reminds me of the current Hyundai Genesis Coupe in this regard. It is over-designed.
Angular design works well on Lamborghinis, but it has not worked here. Softer lines have been a part of the Corvette’s heritage since the first car was unveiled in January 1953. A curvy body has graced the Corvette for most of its life. The designers went for something different, and I am not sure if it has worked. From the side, this car is clearly a Corvette as it has a silhouette that has been familiar since the C3. But from other angles, the car is just bizarre. Perhaps the most unappealing angle is from the rear. The square rear with the square tail lights belong on the Camaro. My only wish is that someone had taken away the designers’ rulers.
I am sure that the majority of Corvette enthusiasts will love the C7, just as there will be some that hate it. I have been pretty critical, and I do not want anyone to think that my negative posts about GM has anything to do with my opinion of the Corvette. As a car enthusiast, I have always had an admiration for the Corvette, and I loved the C6. But I think this car’s styling will make it tough for some Corvette enthusiasts to like, and that is not a bad thing. Controversial design makes a car more interesting, and I am looking forward to learning more about the 2014 Corvette Stingray throughout the year, and there is still a lot to be revealed. When will we see the convertible? Z06? ZR1? What about the C7-R?
In the meantime, watch the full unveiling video below.