DETROIT--Chevrolet has pulled the covers back on what is easily the most hotly anticipated (and worst-kept secret) of the 2013 Detroit auto show: the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
Only three Corvette models have ever borne the name Stingray: the mid-'60s second-generation model, the third-generation car produced through the '70s and into the '80s (arguably the most iconic), and now the seventh-generation (C7) 2014 model. Chevrolet states that it's reviving the name for the 2014 model year because it is the best 'Vette ever. Well, it's not like Chevy would claim anything less of its newest halo car, but the automaker does seem to have the numbers to back it up.
The new 6.2-liter, direct-injected V-8 will make an estimated 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. The automaker is estimating a 0-60 time under 4 seconds and over 1G of cornering grip. Making use of cylinder deactivation technology, Chevrolet is also claiming better fuel economy than any generation of Corvette before it.
Power flows through a seven-speed manual transmission that uses an Active Rev Matching technology similar to that of the Nissan 370Z's. As the driver moves the shift lever into a gear, the 'Vette's computer blips the throttle to match the wheel speed for a smooth ratio change when the clutch pedal is released.
The new Corvette also makes use of lightweight materials, helping to keep the sports car light on its toes. The chassis is an aluminum frame that is 57 percent stiffer than the previous generation and about 99 pounds lighter. The hood and roof are made of carbon fiber, shifting the center of mass lower and rearward, and the body and aerodynamic elements make use of composite materials. Even the seats use magnesium frames to shave valuable grams.
Technology plays a larger role in the new Corvette as well. A five-position drive selector lets drivers adjust 12 vehicle systems, including throttle control, magnetic adaptive suspension, and exhaust sound, to for economy, comfort, sport, track, and poor weather driving. Changing driving modes also changes the configuration of the Corvette's 8-inch LCD instrument cluster, displaying information relevant to the chosen driving style.
We expect that even the base-level Corvette Stingray model will be a capable sports car, but drivers itching for a sharper track tool can opt for an announced Z51 package that adds an electronic limited-slip differential, a dry-sump oiling system, upgraded cooling systems for the differential and transmission, an upgraded aero package that boosts high-speed stability.
The specifics of the 'Vette's infotainment system have not been discussed by the automaker, but we're expecting some version of Chevrolet's MyLink system to make an appearance on the 8-inch color touchscreen that occupies the center of the dashboard. Will it include the Best of CES winning MyLink 2.0 system? All signs point to "yes."
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will be roll onto dealers' lots in Q3 of 2013. Pricing and packaging have not yet been finalized or announced.