A revered icon with an international legacy of design, performance, and technology, the Corvette is the world's longest-running, continuously produced sports car -- and the best-selling sports car in America -- commanding 33 percent of the segment, proudly boasts General Motors.
The seventh-generation model is fully redesigned and takes as its given name, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Introduced 60 years ago, Chevy's designers and engineers have kept the Corvette's heritage and overall imprint intact.
This "enemy of the same" has a strikingly beautiful, more angular expression to the exterior; notably upgraded interior quality; more power and improved fuel economy; a more refined ride quality; plus new technology features. Only a base coupe and Z51 models are available at the present, with the Z06 and ZR1 on hiatus; a convertible will arrive later in the model year. The Stingray coupe has a starting price of $51,995.
The newest Corvette shares only two parts with the previous-generation model. The rear-drive, two-seater is low-slung and has a long front end, a short back end and rides on massive rubber and 18- 20-inch wheels, depending on the trim. Built on an aluminum frame, the traditional fiberglass body is supplemented by a hood and removable roof panel that are made of carbon fiber.
The magic happens under the hood where power comes from a revised 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 engine with direct injection, Active Fuel Management, continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system. The Corvette's horsepower is 455 and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. Gears are shifted through a new 7-speed manual or slightly revised 6-speed automatic, with paddles and rev-matching. Both transmissions have a launch control mode. It gets EPA-rated fuel economy of 17 city/29 highway mpg.
The heartbeat of the powerplant is a collection of driver-focused technologies that are controlled by a cockpit-mounted Driver Mode Selector with five settings: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track.
Our first drive of the 2014 Corvette Stingray was so pleasurable and confidence-inspiring we have to borrow Chevy's quip that "it's like a road-going private jet for two with first class seating.
Getting in we appreciated the more premium cabin, but were smitten when the engine came to life and we motored some 200 miles through California's coastal countryside. We tried the distinct driving modes on the road and saved the track mode for a circuitous coned-course that Chevy set up on the tarmac of a closed airport.
The new Corvette is even more track-ready, leaving us with an authentic track experience that shows of the car's talents. At the same time, the sports car is more highway-friendly than ever with an eco mode that brings fuel savings, as well as a touring mode that smoothes the bumps.
The astutely engineered suspension responds efficiently to the vehicle's different drive modes. Also, of note, the new Stingray has technology that monitors the temperature of the specially made Michelin tires and adjusts the stability and traction control systems to take advantage of warm rubber's extra grip. Chevy says this is a unique new technology that carries over from racing.
Inside is an upscale new cockpit designed with a jetfighter-like vibe that is more driver-centric, with a canted center stack, genuine carbon fiber and aluminum trim, hand-wrapped leather materials, dual 8-inch configurable driver/infotainment screens, and two new seat choices: a GT for all around comfort and a Competition Sport with aggressive side bolstering for the track. Also new is a smaller, 14.1-inch-diameter steering wheel to improve steering feel.
The Vette's frame is 99 pounds lighter and 57-percent stiffer than the previous structure, which helps with suspension tuning and crashworthiness. Of note, the new model has an optimal 50/50 weight balance that supports a world-class power-to-weight ratio, says Chevy. The Stingray has a zero-to-60 time of 3.8 seconds; its quarter-mile sprint is 12 seconds at 114 mph, and it has track-worthy brakes in 107 feet when stopping from 60 mph to 0.
This pure American muscle car has been both a stalwart in the world of racing and a dream car for millions of enthusiasts ranging from teens to baby boomers, who seek the surge of adrenaline that comes with open roads, open throttles and the roar of hundreds of horsepower.
2014 CHEVROLET CORVETTE STINGRAY
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 2-passenger RWD sports coupe
BASE PRICE___________________ $51,995 (as tested: $)
MOTOR TYPE__________________OHV V-8 w/DI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 455 at 6000 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)________________ 460 at 4600 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 7-speed manual
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 176.9 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb)___37.7 ft.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 3,298 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 18.5 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 17 mpg city, 29 mpg highway