The 2014 Corvette Stingray was introduced to the world tonight before a special crowd in Detroit, each of whom had paid $1000 to attend in person for the first-ever look at the all-new car.
And all-new it is, very clearly nothing was carried over, although likely the suspension geometry was an evolution rather than a complete replacement (leaf springs remain). We heard all sorts of facts and figures, including a 58% increase in structural integrity.
It’s clear beyond any doubt that the design and engineering teams worked very closely to make this by far and away the most significant new introduction of the 7 generations of the Corvette. Every problem area in the current car has been addressed including the poor steering feel, lousy seats, lousy base car brakes (as shown in spy pictures, now 4-piston at all 4 corners), weight (new frame is 99 pounds lighter), interior accommodations (all-new seats, including a much-needed sport seat), aerodynamics, and more. Including a heavily electrified dash, with 8 inch LCD display panels in the center for the main gauges and to the side for information and entertainment/connectivity. The usual Corvette heads-up display remains, possibly as an option, and likely updated to match the instrumentation.
We know all about the engine already as it was introduced several weeks ago, and like the current base Corvette engine will be shared across several GM products including the upcoming new line of trucks. This is the only engine available at the moment, and it’s an all-aluminum 6.2 liter OHV engine, with direct injection, cylinder shut-off (to a V-4 configuration), cam phasing (call variable cam timing by Chevrolet, which is technically incorrect), and optional dry-sump.
The frame in the new Corvette is all aluminum, and there is apparently only 1 frame – at least for now. In the current car, there is both a steel and an aluminum frame (base car and convertible – steel; Z06 and higher – aluminum). As enthusiasts, we might hope that there is only ever 1 frame, to reduce manufacturing complexity and therefore costs. And the steering mounts are 5 times stiffer than before, directly addressing a long-time Corvette issue of poor feel and vagueness.
Purists will recognize the front of the car as a Corvette… the side not at all, and the back as perhaps a Camaro “Transformer”. It’s that different. Reception of the styling as it came out in spy pictures and service diagrams was mixed… in person it looks much more sophisticated and almost exotic. As we said before, almost Italian in some ways form the side vents to the flat and long rear window. And, purists beware, side windows. Windows you can actually see out of! They also serve to visually lengthen the car.
And there is more: a Tremec 7-speed transmission with rev-matching. Exactly what Nissan was criticized for with the 370Z’s 6-speed manual (and 7-speed auto). The presenters made it very clear that perfect rev-matching is a help to enthusiast – not a hinder or Band-Aid. We can see the buff-books writing their supporting explanations for this now and Corvette traditionalists shaking their heads and feeling their manhood threatened. But lets face it… this writer has driven the Z in anger on the track, and it’s a huge help.
Nothing was said about suspension options, although magnetologic shocks. were mentioned and clearly there are much bigger brakes than before. ANd it was said that the new car will pull over 1 G on the track. With a 50/50 weight balance, turn-in will be excellent.
Look at the stunning red Corvette below! Very clearly 100% Corvette from this angle. Note that the center roof panel (removable) is carbon fiber, both to reduce weight as well as to lower the center of gravity. Both advantages were stressed.
Two cars were shown on stage… oddly one was left covered and the hot red car was driven onstage. It wasn’t explained which model the red car was… but we’ll suggest it was optioned with a performance package. Same engine, bigger brakes (6-piston up front), the magnetologic shocks., sport seats, dry-sump, and the add-on rear spoiler shown below.
Very significantly, the new car is now known as the Stingray (note the emblem above the side vent). A name from the past, and the presenters claimed that this car was the first Corvette in a very long time to be worthy of the name.
The rear has what is obviously an add-on spoiler. The rear hatch glass is very nearly flat, and also contributes to the long and angular look of the car.
What wasn’t said:
- pricing (current base: $49,600).
- availability (as a 2014, it could well be the summer of 2013, although we do know the plant has been shut-down for retooling for some months)
- exact HP and torque (still “estimated” at 450/450, to be finalized “later in the year”)
- convertible model availability
- any future editions such as Z06 (although it was said that this new car out-handles the current Z06).
We would hope that this information will be released this week when the formal press introduction takes place. Meanwhile, Chevrolet has released a web site (which was instantly buried) here: http://www.corvettestingray2014.com/ – an hour later and we still can’t get into it. Doubtless a million (likely literally) Corvette fans worldwide and trying to see it right now.