The recently released 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, also known as the C7, has gotten mixed reviews from the public. Some say the front looks too much like a Viper and some say the back looks too much like a Camaro, but from what I have seen and heard, I like it. The C7 features an all-new LT1 6.2-liter small-block V8 engine. It is the same displacement as the C6, but the C7 boats 450 horsepower and 450 pounds per feet of torque. Consumers can choose from either a six-speed paddleshift automatic or seven-speed manual transmission. The exact weight of the car has not been released yet but it is expected to be over 3,000 pounds, contrary to previous rumors.
Chevy claims their new Corvette will run 0-60mph in less than four seconds and, with the Z51 Performance Package, it will achieve cornering grip of over one g. The C7 will have a better power-to-weight ratio than the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Carrera. It also stays consistent with Grand Sport cars when it comes to 60-0 braking distance and lap times. GM notes that competitors like the BMW M3, Ferrari 458 Italia, and Porsche 911all are producing about 250 pounds per feet of torque at 2,000 rpm. At that same point, the LT1 is already putting out 400. The optional six-speed transmission is the same model number as before, 6L80, but has revised gears, active fuel management software, and a different torque converter.
The new seven-speed manual transmission is a Tremec unit and has rev-matching for both upshifts and downshifts. Usually rev-matching technology only adjusts the throttle on downshifts. The C7’s rev-matching system is also predictive and notices which gate the shifter is going to and adjusts its response in expectation. The Corvette’s engineers were also able to get cylinder deactivation to work well with the manual transmission. They are extremely proud of this feature because it is harder to get variable displacement technology to work well without a torque converter to smooth out shifts and this might be the automotive industry’s first application of it. The Z51 Performance package features important drivetrain components like a close-ratio gearset; dry sump system; electronic limited-slip differential; and added coolers for the transmission, brakes, and differentials.
On the exterior of the car, the Z51 package includes a rear spoiler specifically for this package, brake-cooling ducts, inch-larger wheels, Bilstein dampers with optional Magnetic Ride Control, and larger slotted brakes. For the exterior looks, it still looks obviously like a Corvette, but it is way more aggressive looking than the C6. It is about the same size dimensionally as a 911, but with a longer wheelbase of 106.7 inches. Chevrolet has also added a secondary side window to the C7, which has not been seen on a Corvette since 1962, along with air intakes mounted on top of the rear fenders for the rear-mounted heat exchangers on automatic models or models with the Z51 package. The new secondary windows and intakes caused the rear window to be flat and tapered instead of the big wraparound piece of glass. The design of the rear end of the C7 is causing the most controversy because of its similarities to the Camaro with the square taillights. To set it apart, though, it has four large exhaust pipes exiting in the center of the rear of the car.
The new Corvette Stingray sits on 18×8.5 inch wheels in the front and 19×10 inch wheels in the back. All four wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports, which are the same diameter as on the C6 GS, but an inch narrower in the front and two inches narrower in the back. This should improve steering response and aerodynamics and it should also reduce road noise and unsprung weight. The new wheels and tires also make the Stingray’s turning circle two feet tighter. The Stingray features an aluminum frame, just like the ZR1 and Z06, which shaves 99 pounds and adds 57 percent more rigidity. The front and rear cradles are now made in hollow-cast aluminum, shaving 25 percent of weight up front and 20 percent of weight in the rear compared to the C6. These cradles are also stronger and lighter than the magnesium ones in the Z06. Some of the weight lost by the new frame and cradles is added back on to the C7 in the form of new features for improved fuel economy.
The small-block V8 engine has direct injection, variable-valve timing and cylinder deactivation, which all add weight to the car. Thirty-five pounds are added due to the new engine management hardware. Another 5.5 pounds are added for the “Active Fuel Management” exhaust valves and 15 pounds more are added from the steel torque tube to help improve drivability with AFM. Good fuel consumption numbers were a top priority for those at Chevrolet. The new electric power steering system in the Stingray also helps save fuel. The engineers increased the stiffness of the entire steering system by 500 percent to help improve the “steering feel” while using the EPAS technology.
With all the subtracted and added weight to the C7, it will still wind up weighing close to the same as the C6, but engineers have taken the time to properly place the weight to guarantee 50/50 weight distribution. To achieve this 50/50 weight distribution, Chevrolet spent a little extra on items like carbon hood panels and roof; light sheet-molded compound for the rear quarter panels, doors, and fenders; and advanced carbon-nano composite underbody panels.
Like a lot of other performance and luxury cars on the road, the C7 has driver-selectable performance settings. The Drive Mode Selector, as it is known in the C7, controls features like active fuel management, exhaust note, throttle, steering effort, Magnetic Ride Control (on equipped models), and stability and traction controls. The five general settings are Tour, Weather, Economy, Sport, and Track. The different features can also be tailored to the driver’s driving style. Only the relevant information from the Drive Mode Selector is displayed on an eight-inch in-cluster screen and the information considered relevant differs from mode to mode.
Moving to the interior of the Stingray, consumers will find a completely redesigned cabin. Only the roof panel latch and cabin air filter are the same in the C7 as they were in the C6. Everything else was newly designed. The dashboard is driver-focused, some say that it resembles the visual design of a 1993-1998 Toyota Supra dash, and the steering wheel is a 14.1-inch smaller-diameter to give the interior more of an intimate look. The interior abounds with soft-touch surfaces, aluminum trim, and optional carbon fiber accents. Red, gray, black, and Kalahari brown are the available colors to choose from. Consumers also have two new seats to choose from, the GT and Competition Sport. Both designs will have more aggressive bolstering than current chairs, have lightweight magnesium frames, and should not have a problem getting five-point harnesses rigged to them for you weekend track warriors out there.
Pricing has not been announced yet and the 2014 Corvette Stingray should be arriving at dealerships in the third quarter of 2013.
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