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Fish out of water: The 2014 Corvette brings back the Stingray

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January 18, 2013

2014 Corvette Stingray

2014 Corvette Stingray

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You'd have to go back in time a long way to find the very first rumor about the C7 Corvette; the next-generation Corvette has been one of the most anticipated and talked about new car debuts of the past several years. At the Detroit Auto Show, Chevy finally ended the speculation and opened the seventh chapter of the Corvette, a chapter that's driven by a story of past meeting future. Like it or leave it, the new 'Vette is officially here.

As has been reported for years, the new Corvette is a very thorough redesign. The exterior relays this message to the naked eye, but it's also true inside, underneath and around the corners. Only two parts are carried over from the sixth-generation, and GM says that the car is actually more all-new than the very first 1953 Corvette, which borrowed some parts from its contemporaries. From the chassis, to the body, to the powertrain, to the interior; this is a glistening new sports car.

While it's been completely overhauled and modernized, the 2014 Corvette is still inspired by legends past. The new model brings back the Stingray nameplate used on the second- and third-generation Corvettes.

"Stingray is one of the hallowed names in automotive history," said Ed Welburn, GM vice president of global design. “We knew we couldn’t use the Stingray name unless the new car truly lived up to the legacy. The result is a new Corvette Stingray that breaks from tradition, while remaining instantly recognizable as a Corvette the world over."

Exterior Design

2014 Corvette Stingray

There's plenty to talk about here, but it's hard to start anywhere but the body. You can argue that the past few Corvette generations have been relatively evolutionary updates with one or two notable changes in each – the loss of classic pop-up headlamps on the C6, for instance.

The seventh-generation leans far more toward revolutionary. While certain lines, curves and angles are classic Corvette, the overall package comes across like a completely different beast – arguably more Ferrari than Chevy. In fact, between the big grille and LED-lined headlamps, I felt like I was staring at an F12 Berlinetta with body kit when looking at the Stingray head on.

While GM might want to sidestep any comment intimating it copied Ferrari, it would certainly agree with the assessment that the 2014 Corvette Stingray is very different from past generations. It explains that, while elements like the profile and dual tail lamps are familiar, no single element is repeated from previous generations.

"For the new Corvette to be called a Stingray, it had to deliver an incredible, purposeful visual impact – just as the original did in 1963,” said Tom Peters, exterior design director. "That visual impact is evident in fighter jets and the Stingray animal itself. Their beauty comes from their purpose, designed to cut through air or water as quickly and efficiently as possible. As with aircraft and living forms, every transition on every surface of the Corvette Stingray serves a purpose executed with beauty and proportion."

2014 Corvette Stingray

Corvette landed short of bringing back the iconic split rear windshield of the 1963 Stingray, but it gave the new car a distinct profile arrived at by aerodynamic optimization from the Corvette Racing program. The aerodynamics show up in the new grille, hood vents, front fender vents, tail lamp vents, rear fascia air outlets and rear spoiler on the Z51 Performance Package.

As I walked around the perimeter of the Stingray under the bright, relentless lights of the Detroit show floor, certain design elements spoke quite loudly – specifically, the low, swept-back profile that melts into the shoulders, the vertically oriented headlamps, and the sinister tail lamps that look like they belong on a Batmobile-inspired concept car. Unlike in the C6 and predecessors, where the cabin stood distinct from the well-defined, undulating profile line, the C7 cabin blends more seamlessly with the rest of the body. The car stands lower than the last generation at 48.6 inches/1,234 mm (versus 49.1 inches/1,247 mm of the C6). There's also a removable roof panel.

Powertrain

2014 Corvette Stingray © General Motors

The 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard-model Corvette ever. The new LT1 V8 engine displaces 6.2 liters and puts out up to 450 horses and 450 lb-ft of torque – up from 430 hp and 424 hp in the 2013 model.

The engine has an all-aluminum block; new cylinder-head design; new sculpted piston design; optimized oiling system; tri-lobe camshaft; and domed rocker covers. It also integrates new technologies like direct injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing. Active Fuel Management shuts down half of the cylinders when they're not needed during light-load driving, helping to conserve fuel. GM says that this technology does its thing without interrupting the driving experience.

"The Corvette LT1 represents the most significant redesign in the small block’s nearly 60-year history – building on its legacy to make one of the world’s best engines even better," said Sam Winegarden, vice president, Global Powertrain Engineering. "More than just great horsepower, the LT1 has been optimized to produce a broader power band. Below 4,000 rpm, the torque of the Corvette LT1 is comparable to that of the legendary, 7.0L LS7 out of the current Corvette Z06."

All that means that the new Corvette promises to be both the quickest and most fuel efficient standard 'Vette ever. GM estimates the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) time at under four seconds and believes the 450-hp Stingray will get a grade of 26 mpg highway from the EPA.

The new LT1 will be assisted by buyer's choice of a new seven-speed manual transmission or a six-speed paddle-shift automatic optimized for fuel savings. The seven-speed manual includes a driver-selectable Active Rev Matching feature that anticipates the next gear and readies the throttle for smoother shifting.

Chassis and Engineering

2014 Corvette Stingray © General Motors

Not only does the Corvette Stingray look different, it should drive different. At least that's the what GM intended. In an effort to make a more intimate driver-road connection, the automaker began by stretching things out. The 177-inch (4,495-mm) overall length is more than 2 inches longer than the outgoing Corvette, and the 106.7-inch (2,710-mm) wheelbase is an inch longer. The tracks are widened by nearly an inch, and the 73.9-inch (1,877-mm) overall width is more than an inch over the 2013 model. The model is more stable as a result, and GM says that it will be more adept at tight turns.

Moving upward, the new aluminum frame is 57 percent stiffer and just under 100 pounds (45 kg) lighter than the old frame. The increased torsional rigidity improves handling and reduces noise. The body that covers that frame is also lighter and uses carbon fiber in the hood and removable roof panel. The underbody panels, meanwhile, use carbon-nano composite construction, a blend of carbon fiber and traditional composite material. Overall the new body is 37 pounds (16 kg) lighter than the C6 body.

2014 Corvette Stingray © General Motors

The Stingray retains the short/long-arm suspension design in the front and rear, but does get new suspension components, including hollow lower control arms, which cut about 9 pounds (4 kg), and new aluminum rear toe links, which save 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg) over the previous steel links.

The new electric power steering system was honed for responsiveness and control and includes a stiffer steering column. Available in the Z51 package, a smart electronic limited slip differential uses a hydraulically actuated clutch to shift torque based on factors such as speed, steering input and throttle position.

2014 Corvette Stingray © General Motors

The driver can adjust 12 drive parameters at the twist of a dial. The Drive Mode Selector located next to the shift knob shuffles between five driving modes: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track. The different drive modes change settings related to the gauge cluster configuration, Active Fuel Management, steering, active exhaust, electronic limited-slip differential and others. The system encompasses launch control, traction control, Magnetic Ride Control and StabiliTrak stability control.

Other standard equipment includes Brembo brakes, 18 x 8.5-inch front wheels and 19 x 10-inch rear wheels. GM hasn't listed a curb weight just yet, but it does say that the C7 has a 50/50 weight distribution.

As a result of all the redesign and tweaking, the new Corvette with Z51 Performance pack can ring up 1g of cornering acceleration – comparable to the 2013 Corvette Grand Sport.

Interior Design

2014 Corvette Stingray

The Corvette interior has been the subject of much derision over the years, and GM was determined to change perceptions in the new generation. It started with a wraparound cockpit inspired by a fighter jet. The pair of magnesium-framed seats feature enhanced rigidity for better support. The steering wheel has been downsized to 14.1 inches (360 mm) to give the driver a better connection with the wheels and road.

Two high-resolution eight-inch screens display driver information, and the center screen has touch functionality with gesture recognition. The car's infotainment system includes Chevrolet MyLink, high-definition radio, and enhanced OnStar with 3D navigation maps. A premium 10-speaker audio system is available as an option.

2014 Corvette Stingray © General Motors

The Stingray delivers better comfort and support to both passenger and driver. A steel-reinforced grab bar on the center console gives the passenger an extra point to grasp during fast sprints and corners. It also provides a separation between passenger and driver, similar to the one used in the Jaguar F-Type. Soft-touch materials on the edge of the driver-side console provide a comfortable bracing point.

Available interior materials include Napa leather, aluminum, carbon fiber and microsuede.

"An honest interior starts with authentic materials," Chevy explains about its approach. "If it looks like aluminum, it is aluminum. If it looks like carbon fiber, it is carbon fiber. When it's leather, it's Grade A leather."

Availability

2014 Corvette Stingray

The 2014 Corvette Stingray will be built at GM's Bowling Green, KY plant later this year. It goes on sale in the third quarter. Prospective buyers will have to wait to find out just how much sting this ray will inject into their bank accounts. The first model – Model 0001 – will be auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale collector car auction this weekend with proceeds going to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

Source: General Motors

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
24 Comments

Interesting to see the dash is curved around the driver like in a 94 Toyota Supra. This was very unique in the day and nice ergonomics for the driver, it's a wonder it wasn't done more often, but then the design of the Supra is nice it hasn't be copied to death.

Steelnerve
18th January, 2013 @ 07:17 am PST

It has literally been decades since the Corvette DIDN'T look like complete crap - and have an interior fit and finish that was worse.

This car looks good, the specs portend excellent performance and if it can corner well and the interior doesn't begin falling apart as soon as you drive off the lot then I will be excited to put this nameplate back in my garage - it has been too long.

Joseph Boe
18th January, 2013 @ 08:23 am PST

29 MPG on the highway sounds impressive for such a powerful drivetrain but I question how easy or difficult it is to repeat such fuel efficiency under normal operating conditons during the life of the car.

Perhaps in future models, more focus will be placed on sustainable performance specs and will chart out projected losses in more realistic figures.

Also, those who live in more corrosive environments such as near saltwater coastlines with atmospheres higher in salt content can face up to 10 times more wear. Such environments beg for alternative salt immune materials with similar properties to be used instead.

Gary Richardson
18th January, 2013 @ 11:02 am PST

How is this a stingray? I would much rather have a Nissan GTR. Am I wrong? what is good about this car?

Michael Mantion
18th January, 2013 @ 08:40 pm PST

Yes, and the OnStar is the electronic spy that prevents you from going over 55mph because if you speed and get into a crash, OnStar will testify AGAINST YOU and put you into jail or major financial harm.

If you buy this car just for the looks rather than use its capabilities then it is ok - useful like a cigar that you don't light...

GoodLife03
19th January, 2013 @ 08:23 am PST

I'm not sorry to say that it is even uglier than the last one it is replacing.

They would be better off doing a retro-version if they really want to call it a Stingray.

"Recognizable as a Corvette the world over"...

give me a break!

The chassis,etc. sounds fine but why is it so ugly?

I know beauty is subjective but I am confident that most of its target market would agree with me.

Only the teenaged tuner car crowd would get excited about this sort of design and they sure don't buy a lot of new 'Vettes....

Why not do a split window instead?

Griffin
19th January, 2013 @ 09:23 pm PST

@Michael Mantion

The GT-R is amazing for a 4 seater but in raw performance it is a little behind the current Corvette.

The GT-R launched around $75 but currently it starts closer to $97k.

The $75k Corvette Z06 is about 2 seconds faster around Nürburgring (at 7:22). The $112k Z01 is a little faster still at 7:19.

Who knows what performance/price will look like for the Stingray but I think it looks sharper than the GTR at least.

Daishi
20th January, 2013 @ 12:02 pm PST

I'm pleasantly impressed. More power, less weight, better efficiency and still great styling (in my humble opinion).

Christopher Benton
20th January, 2013 @ 09:02 pm PST

Well, I do not see any Stingray here. Sorry. (I'm a designer and should be able to recognize it, if it was there ...) This car is one of the most useless cars existing, and it is not even beautiful, will not even be a bit iconic, and we'll forget it as soon as the media coverage fades away. Just another tired attempt trying to live up to it's past.

Remember: The original Stingray was not made for the past! Make a car for the present or maybe the future, and do it good, then we can talk.

martinkopplow
21st January, 2013 @ 02:03 am PST

450 horsepower. Really. That's the best GM can do? Or is that the limit imposed upon them by the administration as part of the bailout?

morongobill
21st January, 2013 @ 08:49 am PST

Who the hell designed the exterior, Michael Bay?!? I guess we've met the automotive star of whatever Transformer movie comes out next. The engineering is awesome, but the exterior looks like a tarted up Camaro. I'll take a Viper please... I like my cars, sails, and women to have sultry, sensual curves, not origami folds.

Mike Barnett
21st January, 2013 @ 08:59 am PST

What a total Chumpmobile. Coyote ugly -- why? Oh -- maybe stealth sabotage by the designers, who might need the jobs, but also care that in the time of global warming, buying a car that gets this kind of pitiable fuel mileage is just a way of thumbing your nose at the rest of humanity. Totally luckless. Compare it to the sleek Chinese sport hybrid, and ask yourself: "Why would I want to self-identify as a clueless teen motorhead from the 1950's?" It would look good to someone like that. Well, at least it will act as a repellant for anyone with two x chromosomes and a functioning brain. But then, if you were gonna buy this piece of wrinkled-skin junk, you probably didn't need such an expensive repellant. Good luck with this one, guys. How soon can I buy a coupla dozen puts on GM?

cancerbites
21st January, 2013 @ 09:02 am PST

There's just no pleasing some people.

Mark Keller
21st January, 2013 @ 10:15 am PST

This 'vette will go in the ugliest car Hall of Fame to sit beside the Pontiac Aztec.

Clearly an idiot in management dictated "brand" with the Camaro lights, which is really dumb on the FLAGSHIP car that has always had round taillights, not to mention the top is not "hammered" wheras the Camaro is, which justifies its squashed lights.

The car is all around ugly. Beautiful styling peaked at the C5. Then they appear to have hired the Dodge Viper stylist.

I miss my 2001 Z06...31MPG (yup, not a typo, 29MPG with the a/c on, 0-60 in 4 sec, 1G skidpad. Then they lost that magical combination.

The car is a committee design, the a mishmash of incorent styling cues. It, and the C6 were never cars I have yearned to own. This one can have 40MPG and 500HP and it still wouldn't matter 'cause it's UGLY.

Meanwhile, where's the performance and efficiency boosting hybrid electric powertrain? The 'vette and Caddy used to lead in tech. Now it's all Caddy's torch...the new ELR is gorgeous and almost hits the 'vette's top speed...180MPH with a 1.5L four banger.

A sad mishmash of incoherent components with the C7...GM's execs and marketers will have succeeded in killing the model, IMO

solutions4circuits
21st January, 2013 @ 11:52 am PST

Same style body overall, looks beefier than past models

BUT No Real design changes

Nice Interior cockpit though

Id rent this Yes, maybe buy after 2014 USED.

Miss prior Vette concepts that never worked IE mid engine model

Stephen N Russell
21st January, 2013 @ 05:50 pm PST

I just wonder when they come out with a really fast car that is impervious to laser and radar that the police and state troopers use? LMAO

Sonya Jones
22nd January, 2013 @ 09:33 am PST

@Mark Keller. Very true words. So now its my turn................Datsun 260Z reborn also springs to mind

bf_308
24th January, 2013 @ 08:57 pm PST

I think a lot of people have envy problems. They know they'll never be able to afford one so they dis it. It looks great, inside and out. It has more performance capabilities than anyone is ever going to need on the street.

kuryus
28th January, 2013 @ 09:49 pm PST

@kuryus

Yes, it does...if you always wanted a Michael Bay TF version of the F12 Berlinetta with the rear of an optioned out Camaro.

Definitely.

The Corvette has always had a smoothness to it. Lines were there there that needed to be, nothing more. This does the opposite of that. It was as Ed Welburn decided that GM needed to replace to the gaudiness in the lineup due to the absence of the Trans-Am. This doesn't remind me of the namesake...the car or the animal.

The basic redesign of the interior is good. The Corvette should, however, have it own fricken switchgear.

As someone mentioned above, I've been waiting for the 'Vette to go to way of the mid-mounted engine since the CERV III...and that's just when I was introduced to it.

(poster on the 'tween-aged wall? check. Rocked it on the Tandy via TD3? yup)

Maybe we have to wait for the 100th anniversary for that, though.

Perhaps I'll feel differently in person. The un-painted wheels and body color vents help. Some.

Criticism does not mean jealousy.

C. Walker Jr.
29th January, 2013 @ 12:48 am PST

P.S.: @ those above who claim the Vette has been ugly for decades:

THIS is ugly?

http://www.gizmag.com/chevrolet-corvette-z06-coupe/14615/picture/112645/

C. Walker Jr.
29th January, 2013 @ 12:51 am PST

I thought, "I thought" when the Tranformers movie came out, the Stingray that was used then, which was an awesome looking ride, was going to be model put into production? Now llike every car manufacturers, we get another product then what was advertised. What a let down.. Not to say that I think this is ugly, just not what Chevy made me and I'm sure others thought was going to be sold...

Gargamoth
29th January, 2013 @ 11:59 am PST

I've no axes to grind, however I'm taken aback by the number of negative postings trashing what is unquestionably an outstanding design achievement with the introduction of the new C7 Corvette Stingray.

While attending USC's school of architecture on a Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild Scholarship, its then head of industrial design, Sal Marindeno, once stated, "Never say never, because what if?"

It was difficult to understand how GM lost its design footing, slid perilously to near oblivion; with my GM stock losses, I stated I'd never purchase another GM car.

The new C7 Corvette speaks clearly to me of its thoughtful design resolution; Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter and design director Tom Peters need not concern themselves with gray hairs and youth wanting to own one, great design reaches all ages...

Which brings me back to Sal Marindeno's stated "Never say never, because what if?" As a designer I will purchase this iconic C7 Corvette Stingray.

Charles Gibilterra Designer

Charles Gibilterra
29th January, 2013 @ 02:40 pm PST

Chevy ,like Scion and other manufacturers aren't the first to advertise one model, wether it was in the movies or an autoshow and then make something else. That said. I still think Chevy did a good job making this car even though it wasn't the Stingray model they advertised on youtube and other places. I'd buy it.. Scion is a brand I could afford, unfortunately they let many people down with their cheap fit and finish of the new FR-S. Advertised a hot sports car for 25k then made a cheap mock up worth 12k still selling for 25k.. Chevy is giving us something new and different, even if I can't get it now, it's worth saving up for a good down payment.

Gargamoth
30th January, 2013 @ 08:06 pm PST

I kinda like this new 'Stingray', all the way around - but (sorry) I still think my completely stock red/white '58 fuelie is the handsomest 'vette ever. When they finally out-do that one, I'll trade up.

OuldBill
15th February, 2013 @ 11:49 am PST
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