We’ve previously gone out on a limb to predict what the 2015 and 2018 Mustang specifications will be. We provided a chart showing the 2013 Mustang specifications against comparable models expected in 2015 and 2018 (yes, we are predicting that in the spring of 2017 an update will occur for the 2018 model year since Ford’s latest and greatest engines and transmissions will not be available in the spring of 2014 when the 20157 Mustang is expected to launch). We created an extensive spreadsheet based on what is known about the 2015 Mustang, and it wasn’t too difficult since we know the new chassis is closely based off the old, and since spy photos have supported what we call “education extrapolation”. Educated because as a member of the press we’ve been watching Mustang launches for many past generations, education because we’ve been an owner of many of those cars ourselves, and extrapolated because of course almost noting is announced – other than that there will be a Mustang. So, yes, we’re out on a limb, and we’re prepared to eat crow next spring when the car arrives. But, generally, enthusiasts who have gone thru out chart agree with most of what’s there.
So now it’s time to go even further out on a limb for the next Camaro, which we think will arrive for the 2016 model year. That could be as early as the summer of 2015, or as latte as the spring of 2016.
Facts: what do we know? Read more
Excellent news today from Cadillac, of great interest to driving enthusiasts. A twin-turbo V-6 had long been rumored for the ATS and CTS, and even an entry-level Corvette. Now GM has introduced one for the upcoming all-new 2014 CTS as a premium option. With 420 horsepower and 430 torque and a brand-new 8-speed automatic, the CTS will be a very complete sports sedan. We’ll see where this engine goes in the longer term, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see it stay exclusive to Cadillac for a year or two. Also of interest is the state-of-the-art 8-speed automatic: a feature dearly needed across the lineup of Cadillac vehicles.
The new CTS is known to be a larger vehicle than the current CTS, targeted at BMW 5-series buyers rather than 3-series buyers.
Note the embedded videos below, especially the one showing the engine running on the tilt stand. And for fans of detailed engine pics (as are we), we have those below as well.
It will be interesting to compare this new to the existing (and older) 3.5 liter Ford EcoBoost V-6… both are direct-injected, both are all-aluminum. Right off we notice the separate intake runners (each with a MAF) to each turbo, and the dual intercoolers housed inside the intake manifold. GM has clearly paid more attention to intake volume and cooling, although this engine also produces considerably more HP and torque than the Ford engine (365 HP in the Taurus SHO). And the GM engine uses an integrated single exhaust port on each head, which provides cooling and emissions benefits.
Good job GM! And, Ford, where is your response? This engine should be in the future Mustang… with 50 more lb-ft or torque than the current Boss 302 engine, and much lighter weight over than front wheels compared to the V-8, , this engine would be a screamer.
GM Press Release follows:
Cadillac Twin-Turbo Debuts in All-New 2014 CTS Sedan
- 420 horsepower (313 kW) / 430 lb-ft of torque (583 Nm) – SAE certified
- Most power-dense six-cylinder in segment at 118 hp/liter
- Cadillac’s first twin-turbo engine and eight-speed automatic transmission
DETROIT – Cadillac today announced details of a new Twin-Turbo V-6 engine and eight-speed transmission – firsts for the brand and signature features of the all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS midsize luxury sedan debuting next week at the New York Auto Show.
The Cadillac Twin-Turbo V-6 is the most power-dense six-cylinder engine in the midsize luxury segment – a 3.6L with 118 horsepower per liter (88 kW/liter) – and the eight-speed automatic enhances fuel economy and acceleration over a six-speed automatic.
“The new Cadillac Twin-Turbo brings a new dimension of technologically advanced performance to the all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan,” said David Leone, executive chief engineer. “Delivering power and sophistication, it marks another large step forward in the product-driven expansion of Cadillac.”
Rated at an SAE-certified 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 430 lb.-ft. of torque (583 Nm), it is the most powerful V-6 ever from General Motors. It also has 15 percent greater power density than BMW 535i’s turbocharged 3.0L six, which is rated at 300 horsepower (223 kW), for a ratio of 100 horsepower per liter (74 kW/liter) – and even the BMW 550i’s TwinPower 4.4L V-8, rated at 400 horsepower (298 kW), or 91 horsepower per liter (68 kW/liter). Power density is a measure of efficiency for an engine’s size.
A pair of smaller turbochargers and an efficient charge air cooler help provide more immediate power delivery. Additionally, approximately 90 percent of the 3.6L Twin-Turbo’s peak torque is available from 2,500 rpm to 5,500 rpm, giving the engine a broad torque curve that customers will feel as strong, willing power in almost all driving conditions, such as accelerating or overtaking traffic on the highway.
Those features help the new CTS sedan reach 60 mph from a standstill in an estimated 4.6 seconds and achieve an estimated top speed of 170 mph (274 kph).
The new Cadillac Twin-Turbo will expand the performance envelope of the upcoming 2014 CTS midsize luxury sedan, launching this fall in the United States. The engine will also will be offered in the 2014 XTS large luxury sedan this fall.
The new engine is a comprehensive upgrade on the 60-degree, 3.6L DOHC V-6 offered in today’s SRX, XTS and ATS. However, almost every component is unique. New features include:
- All-new cylinder block casting
- All-new cylinder head castings
- Strengthened connecting rods
- Machined, domed aluminum pistons with top steel ring carrier for greater strength
- 10.2:1 compression ratio
- Patented, integrated charge air cooler system with low-volume air ducts
- Two turbochargers produce more than 12 pounds of boost (80 kPa)
- Vacuum-actuated wastegates with electronic control valves
- All-new direct injection fuel system
- Tuned air inlet and outlet resonators, aluminum cam covers and other features that contribute to exceptional quietness and smoothness.
The 2014 CTS sedan will also feature the naturally aspirated 3.6L V-6 rated at 321 horsepower, as well as a 2.0L turbocharged engine rated at an estimated 272 horsepower.
Proven foundation, new features
Because the Cadillac Twin-Turbo is based on the same architecture as the existing naturally aspirated 3.6L V-6, it benefits from many proven technologies including dual-overhead camshafts, variable valve timing and direct injection. Key features also include:
- A durable forged steel crankshaft that contributes to greater high-rpm smoothness
- A friction-reducing polymer coating on the piston skirts, as well as fully floating wrist pins that help reduce friction
- Pressure-actuated oil squirters drench the underside of each piston and the surrounding cylinder wall with an extra layer of cooling, friction-reducing oil
- A cast aluminum oil pan is stiffer to improve powertrain rigidity and reduce vehicle vibration. It bolts to the transmission bell housing as well as the engine block, eliminating points of vibration.
The cylinder block casting is unique to the turbocharged engine with cast-in provisions for turbocharger coolant and oil connections, as well as positive crankcase ventilation passages. It uses nodular iron main bearing caps for greater strength to manage the higher cylinder pressures that come with turbocharging.
The cylinder heads are also unique to the Cadillac Twin-Turbo. They feature a high-tumble intake port design that enhances the motion of the air charge for a more-efficient burn when it is mixed with the direct-injected fuel and ignited in the combustion chamber. The topology of the pistons, which feature centrally located dishes to direct the fuel spray from the injectors, is an integral design element of the chamber design, as the piston heads become part of the combustion chamber with direct injection.
“The high-tumble heads were developed with advanced modeling programs that helped us determine the optimal design in less time and with less trial and error,” said Richard Bartlett, assistant chief engineer for the 3.6L engine. “Literally hundreds of simulations were performed to optimize the port flow, injector spray angle and pattern, and piston topology to produce a highly efficient yet powerful combustion chamber.”
Large, 38.3-mm intake valves and 30.6-mm sodium-filled exhaust valves enable the engine to process tremendous airflow. In some conditions, the continuously variable valve timing system enables overlap conditions – when the intake and exhaust valves in a combustion chamber are briefly open at the same time – to promote airflow scavenging that helps spool the turbochargers quicker for faster boost production.
Hardened AR20 valve seat material on the exhaust side is used for its temperature robustness, while the heads are sealed to the block with multilayer-steel gaskets designed for the pressure of the turbocharging system.
As with the naturally aspirated 3.6L, the heads feature integral exhaust manifolds, although upper and lower water jackets were added to the heads to provide uniform temperature distribution and optimal heat rejection. On top of the heads, new aluminum cam covers enhance quietness and are designed with greater positive crankcase ventilation volume to support the turbo system.
Another unique feature of the Cadillac Twin-Turbo is its efficient manner of processing the pressurized air charge through the cylinder heads and into the combustion chambers. A single, centrally located throttle body atop the engine controls the air charge from both turbochargers after the temperature is reduced in the intercooler. This efficient design fosters more immediate torque response, for a greater feeling of power on demand, and reduces complexity by eliminating the need for a pair of throttle bodies.
Using a pair of smaller turbochargers rather than a single, larger turbo also helps ensure immediate performance, because smaller turbochargers spool up – achieve boost-producing turbine speed – quicker to generate horsepower-building air pressure that is fed into the engine. The Cadillac Twin-Turbo’s integrated charge air cooling system also contributes to its immediate response, because the compressors blow through very short pipes up to the intercooler.
With no circuitous heat-exchanger tubing, there is essentially no lag with the response of the turbochargers. In fact, airflow routing volume is reduced by 60 percent when compared with a conventional design that features a remotely mounted heat exchanger.
“It is a very short path from the turbos to the throttle body,” said Bartlett. “The compressors draw their air directly from the inlet box and send their pressurized air through the intercooler basically immediately, giving the new CTS a tremendous feeling of power on demand.”
The charge-cooling heat exchangers lower the air charge temperature by more than 130 degrees F (74 C), packing the combustion chambers with cooler, denser air for greater power. The twin-brick configuration of the heat exchangers is similar in design and function to the 6.2L supercharged “LSA” engine used on the current CTS-V Series.
“The LSA engine showed us the efficiencies of mounting the intercooler on top of the engine, especially when it came to packaging and maintaining a short, unobstructed path for the air charge,” said Bartlett. “It’s efficient and effective – and we wanted to build on that experience.”
The air cooler system achieves more than 80 percent cooling efficiency with only about 1 psi (7 kPa) flow restriction at peak power, for fast torque production.
Unique vacuum-actuated wastegates – one per turbocharger – and electronic vacuum-actuated recirculation valves are used with the 3.6L Twin-Turbo for better management of the engine’s boost pressure and subsequent torque response for smoother, more consistent performance across the rpm band.
A wastegate is used to regulate the boost pressure of the engine. It provides a method to bypass the exhaust flow from the turbo’s turbine wheel, which can be reintroduced into the exhaust stream – via a bypass tube – to maintain optimal turbine speed across the rpm band. Conventional wastegates are pressure-activated, allowing control of the actuator.
The Cadillac Twin-Turbo’s vacuum-activated wastegate valves provide more consistent boost control, particularly at lower rpm, to enhance low-rpm torque, for a greater feeling of power at low speeds. They are independently controlled on each engine bank to balance the compressors’ output to achieve more precise boost pressure response.
The wastegates also work in concert with the recirculation valves to eliminate co-surge from the turbos – a condition that can result in dynamic flow reversal, such as the moment immediately after the throttle closes. This overall system integration contributes to the engine’s smoother, more consistent feeling of performance.
In addition to the vacuum-actuated wastegates and recirculation valves, the engine employs dual mass air flow sensors and an integral inlet air temperature/humidity sensor, a dual-compressor inlet pressure sensor and dual manifold pressure sensors.
Eight speeds, no waiting
The Cadillac Twin-Turbo is paired with a high-performance, paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission that offers efficiency and performance advantages over a six-speed transmission – including 1.5-percent greater fuel economy.
The new paddle-shift eight-speed delivers smooth, quick shift performance – as quick as 0.3-second on wide-open-throttle upshifts – with the quietness, smoothness and refinement Cadillac customers expect. Smaller gear steps – closer ratios – support world-class performance, with quicker, more imperceptible shifting.
The wide, 6.71 gear spread of the transmission enables the CTS to deliver strong performance at all rpm levels, while achieving good fuel economy on the highway. A “tall,” 0.69-ratio eighth-gear also helps maintain a low engine speed of approximately 1,800 rpm at 70 mph – about 200 rpm lower than a six-speed – which not only enhances efficiency but contributes to a quieter driving experience.
Complete electronic control of the transmission enables it to select the best gear for the driving conditions, allowing the transmission to “skip” one or more gears, if appropriate, when up-shifting or down-shifting. In manual mode, torque converter lockup is used in gears two through eight to balance performance and efficiency, while preserving the maximum torque multiplication in first gear for optimal launch performance
The CTS development team tailored the transmission for the high torque output of Cadillac 3.6L Twin-Turbo, which included stronger gear sets and a greater number of clutch plates. The team also wove in driver-selectable performance features enable the transmission to hold lower gears during certain performance-driving situations, for a more connected and responsive driving experience with the new turbocharged engine.
Paddle-shift control enables the driver manual control of the gear changes, for the ultimate feeling of control of the turbocharged CTS.
Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. In recent years, Cadillac has engineered a historic renaissance led by artful engineering and advanced technology. More information on Cadillac can be found at media.cadillac.com.
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2014 Cadillac CTS Powertrain Preliminary Specifications
|2.0L Turbo DI VVT||3.6L V-6 DI VVT||3.6L V-6 Twin-Turbo DI VVT|
|Displacement (cu in / cc):||122 / 1998||217 / 3564||217 / 3564|
|Bore & stroke (in / mm):||3.39 x 3.39 / 86 x 86||3.70 x 3.37 / 94 x 85.6||3.70 x 3.37 / 94 x 85.6|
|Block material:||cast aluminum||cast aluminum||cast aluminum|
|Cylinder head material:||cast aluminum||cast aluminum||cast aluminum|
|Valvetrain:||DOHC, four-valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing||DOHC, four valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing||DOHC, four valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing|
|Fuel delivery:||direct high-pressure fuel injection||direct high-pressure fuel injection||direct high-pressure fuel injection|
|Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm):||272 / 203 @ 5500 (est.)||321 / 239 @ 6800*(gas)||420 / 313 @ 5750 (SAE-certified)|
|Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ rpm):||295 / 400 @ 1700-5500 (est.)||275 / 373 @ 4800* (gas)||430 / 583 @ 3500-4500 (SAE-certified)|
|Recommended fuel:||premium recommended but not required||regular unleaded or E85||premium required|
|Maximum engine speed (rpm):||7000||7200||6500|
|GM-estimated economy (city / hwy):||19 / 30 RWD18 / 28 AWD||19 / 28 RWD18 / 27 AWD||17 / 25|
|Type:||Paddle-shift six-speed, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch||Paddle-shift eight-speed, electronically controlled automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch|
|Gear ratios (:1):|
|Final drive ratio:||3.45 (RWD) 3.27 (AWD)||2.85|
The 2014 Chevrolet SS was introduced to the press today, to mixed reaction. With the same LS3 V-8 (with automatic transmission only), the car in our opinion is no more than a slightly improved Pontiac G8 (2008-2009). The suspension specs are all but identical (same front Brembos, and rear standard 1-piston), differing only slightly in tuning. And the latest generation GM V-8, the LT1, is nowhere to be seen. What’s perplexing is that the Gen V engine, with direct injection, was announced by Holden in April 2010 for this car… our question is – what happened?
Convenience improvements include a navigation system, which the G8 was criticized for lacking, and numerous (and likely intrusive) safety features abound.
And, just as we didn’t like the grill on the Holden Commodore Calais, we believe the front end of this car looks even more feminine here. Nor are we fans of the golden bowtie, which seems to get bigger and bigger with every iteration.
What do we like? The seats look supportive, although wide. The Alcantara on the seats, dash, steering wheel looks great. And the steering wheel is appropriately fat and grippy. And the basic chassis (albeit all but unchanged) retains the 50%/50% fr/rr weight balance that makes this car (along with the stablemate Camaro) work very well.
In our opinion, the Pontiac G8, especially in GXP trim, is now even more collectible than it already is.
Chevrolet Press Release and images follow:
2014 Chevrolet SS: Performance Sedan with Racing DNA
DAYTONA, Fla. – As Chevrolet’s first V-8, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan since 1996, the new Chevrolet SS is designed to deliver performance on the street and on the track. The 2014 Chevrolet SS will debut this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway as the SS racecar makes its NASCAR debut during the Daytona 500.
“The Chevrolet brand was largely built on the strength of rear-drive performance sedans, yet it’s been 17 years since we’ve offered one,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America. “The all-new Chevrolet SS fills that void and fills it better than any other vehicle in the brand’s rich history. The comfort, convenience, spaciousness and V-8 power make the SS a total performance package unlike any other on the road today.”
The Chevrolet SS benefits from the proven, race-tested, global rear-wheel drive architecture that is the foundation for the Camaro, Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle and Holden’s VF Commodore.
The Chevrolet SS is powered by the LS3 Chevrolet V-8, expected to deliver 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. Also used in the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette, the LS3 displaces 6.2 liters, more than the 5.5-liter V-8 powering the Chevrolet SS NASCAR competitors.
The LS3 is married to a six-speed automatic transmission, which can be shifted manually using TAPshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. With an aggressive 3.27 final-drive ratio, the Chevrolet SS accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about five seconds – making it one of the quickest sedans on the market.
To ensure that it turns and stops as well as it accelerates; the Chevrolet SS also features a sport-tuned chassis, including:
- MacPherson strut front and multilink independent rear suspension geometry
- Electronic power steering system, optimized for sport driving
- Standard Brembo brakes, with ventilated, 355-mm rotors and two-piece, four-piston front calipers
- Forged aluminum wheels, wrapped in ultra-high-performance Bridgestone tires: 19 x 8.5 inch wheels with 245/40ZR19 tires in front; 19 x 9.0 inch wheels with 275/35ZR19 tires rear
Handling is also improved by a near 50/50 weight distribution, and a low center of gravity – made possible in part by the aluminum hood and rear deck lid that are 30 percent lighter than traditional steel panels.
“Our goal was to create a car that delivers incredible grip and handling balance while cornering, while still being comfortable to drive on the road,” said David Leone, executive chief engineer GM global programs. “The perfect weight balance and lower center of gravity were a big part of that goal because it enabled the team to tune for a more comfortable highway ride without sacrificing handling or driver confidence while cornering at the limits.”
Similarly, the design of the SS blends performance cues and premium details.
“From every angle, the Chevrolet SS says power and performance,” said John Cafaro design director Chevrolet passenger cars and small crossovers. “The combination of an aggressive rear-wheel drive stance and body-side attitude with the right balance of detail and refinement inside and out are the perfect home for Chevrolet’s V-8 performance package.”
The staggered front and rear wheels, which are pushed out to the corners, enhance the sporting, muscular stance of the SS. Up front, the aluminum hood features a subtle “power bulge” hinting at the power of the engine underneath. At the rear, the tapered, tear-drop shape contributes to improved aerodynamic performance. Premium cues include jewel-like chrome accents, standard high-intensity discharge headlamps and light-emitting diode daytime running lights.
The spacious interior of the SS will comfortably accommodate five adults, with 42 inches of front legroom, and 39 inches of rear legroom. Leather seating surfaces are standard, as are eight-way power adjustable front bucket seats with additional side bolstering that hug the driver and front passenger in tight-handling situations. The SS emblem is prominently stitched onto the soft-touch instrument panel which features two types of chrome finishes – a satin gloss and a bright chrome. At night, the interior is illuminated by ice blue ambient lighting.
An integrated center stack includes infotainment, climate and other vehicle controls. The Chevrolet SS also offers a long list of technology features as standard equipment including:
- Color, in-dashboard touch screen that supports Chevrolet MyLink and the next-generation navigation system
- Bose® Nine-speaker premium sound system
- Color heads-up display
- Push-button start
- StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control
- Forward Collision Alert
- Lane Departure Warning
- Side Blind Zone Alert
- Rear-vision camera Rear Cross Traffic Alert
The SS is also the first Chevrolet to offer Automatic Parking Assist, which provides hands-free parking help. This efficient ‘hands-free’ parking assistant uses the ultrasonic sensing system to detect the width and depth of either parallel or reverse right-angle parking spaces. While the driver controls the throttle, transmission, and brake, the Automatic Parking Assist controls the steering inputs necessary to neatly park the Chevrolet SS.
The 2014 Chevrolet SS will be available in the fourth quarter of 2013, with prices set closer to the on-sale date. When it arrives in showrooms, the SS will join the Corvette and Camaro, whose combined sales have made Chevrolet America’s favorite performance brand for the last two years.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at http://www.chevrolet.com/.
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The 2013 Holden VF Commodore was unveiled for the first time today in Australia (one day ahead of us on their Sunday afternoon) to an audience of automotive press and Holden workers, as well as to 185 worldwide viewers watching live on YouTube (a worryingly small number).
Technical specs were not revealed yet, but will be part of the production launch in a couple of months. The heavily revised rear-wheel drive Commodore is vital to Holden as it tries again to make a sustaining business case for an “orphan” car – that is, the only use of this particular chassis in the world (not counting the older version of it used under the current Camaro – but not the next). It’s a difficult financial case, but with help from the Australian Government Holden will benefit the Australian economy to the tune of $2B AUS to put the car into production and run the production line over the next few years. And the launch of the rebadged Commodore as the Chevy SS in the United States later this year as well as sales to existing markets in the middle East will hopefully be enough to keep the car in production – and Australian workers employed.
Watch the replay of the announcement here:
Mike Devereux, Chairman and Managing Director of Holden (clearly not from Oz himself, as his pronunciation of “aluminum” revealed), launched the car in front of an enormous slideshow. The interior of the car (featuring perforated leather French-seamed seats) was shown as the light blue Commodore was rolled out, but almost no details were released other than the use of aluminum for the hood and trunk (bonnet and boot).
The Commodore apparently uses a version of the Cadillac Cue system, to be known locally as “Mylink”.
We see a little of bit of Infiniti in the large creases running down the length of the hood. And the grill is, almost, feminine in a way. It will be hard to imagine this new body being used in a performance version, as the current Commodore offers in the very masculine “Z Series”.
And some influences from BMW in the side windows and trunk lid. And perhaps a little from Jaguar in the vent behind the front wheels. The Commodore has clearly moved upscale.
The platform used by the Commodore was designed from the start to meet U.S. crash standards, which is not the case with the Ford Falcon. This allows GM to export it to several markets worldwide. The Commodore is currently sold in several foreign markets, including the Middle East in long wheelbase form as the Chevrolet Caprice, in stripped-down and prepped form in the United States as the Chevrolet Caprice police car (not available to civilians), and in Europe in performance variants via special order as the Holden Commodore. It was also formerly sold in the United States as the Pontiac G8, cancelled when GM declared bankruptcy and eliminated the Pontiac brand.
An updated Ford Falcon has also been announced, although only the briefest (and fuzziest) picture of the front has been shown. The Falcon, however, is sold solely in Australia and has no chance of getting to the United States in any possible future. Ford has all but confirmed that it will be replaced with the next-generation Taurus platform, thankfully lighter and much more modern than the current Taurus. But things could change, or at least drag out on the current platform, and similar investments by the Australian Government will certainly be offered to keep Ford manufacturing and jobs in Australian.
Since Sunday night’s announcement of the new 2014 ”C7″ Corvette, the press has exploded with coverage. Additional images and many more details gave been released after the event. Read more:
- NBCNews.com: The Stingray returns: Chevy unveils C7 Corvette
- The Detroit Bureau: Already Iconic – Chevy Bills the 2014 C7 Corvette as a True World-Beater
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/corvette
- Car & Driver: http://www.caranddriver.com/news/2014-chevrolet-c7-corvette-stingray-z51-photos-and-info-news
More technical details are emerging: an electronic rear differential (instead of mechanical – warning signs!), the performance package is named Z51, and the existing 6-speed automatic transmission carries over with the addition of shift paddles. And the steering is (of course) electric and not hydraulic.
And launch is in “the second half” of the year… not very specific and could mean anything up to December 31st.
Thanks to the Corvette Museum, we have the full Corvette release video:
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.
Although again frustratingly short (a stark black-and-white 50 seconds), this final teaser video shows some of the steps involved in the creation of the 2014 Corvette body and frame. The new Corvette has evidently reached the pilot production stage, with a number of cars being built on the regular line and with lots of engineers and specialists assisting to iron out any issues. It will be interesting to learn when regular production will begin, hopefully we’ll hear that next week during the announcement at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
This set of images was leaked to the press a week ago. On the assumption that they are correct, and it’s a fair assumption since apparently they came from dealer service manuals, we’ll review them step-by-step. Of course the big date we’re all looking forward to is January 13, 2013, when the 7th generation Corvette is officially revealed.
A number of “spy pictures” have already been published, so a some but not all of the details are already known. But these new images clear up several areas. One is the overall profile of the new Corvette, which strikes us as long and lean – almost Italian-esque. The swept-back shape of the headlamps, the scoop on the side and the character line running from underneath it, the new side window (breaking a paradigm of C4-C6 styling), and the upswept rear fender “shoulders” all add visual length to the design. The overall size of the car is believed to be a little bit shorter, as demonstrated by images of the first engineering mules (C6 cars modified with the new suspension underneath), where the new suspension was tucked well inside the then-current C6 fenders. These long lines help maintain the impression of the size of the car while also improving the “flow”.
There are a couple of things we don’t yet know; one is the width of the B-pillar. It’s hidden under the glass, and will block some degree of the sightlines. Lets hope it’s not as pointlessly bad as the 370Z, where the rear side windows are useless – leaving the driver sitting in a dark cave, just like the Camaro and the Z. It’s important to be able to see out of the car for street driving, and just as important on the track where there are other cars are all around you in turns and straights.
One thing we don’t like is the large vent behind the front tires. A vent makes sense functionally, but it’s squared-off shape doesn’t fit well into the otherwise rounded and flowing lines of the car. Arguably, it’s also too large – visually and functionally. But at least it’s not the tacked-on vents and scoops of the C6 Corvette.
The A-pillar shape is familiar (as is, we suspect, the structure behind it), and as we’ve seen in the spy pics, is very very thick. While that’s nice for roll-over and crush protection, it makes for an obstructed forward view as well as an obstructed view in turns when the pillar is directly in your line of sight – blocking your complete view of the turn. This seems to be a developing trend in most GM cars, and it’s one that needs attention. We can’t give up any roll and crush protection, but we also don’t need the pillar contributing to the likelihood of an accident.
Looking at the front, we see the new engine compartment; very logically laid out. This has already been seen in at least one spy picture, along with the vent (#6) leading to matching vents in the underside of the hood. Very nice, and a clear lesson learned from the C6 racing program. This will improve overall aerodynamics, reduce front end lift, and improve engine cooling. Very nice, and a necessary evolution from the C6. We also see that there is a single large air cleaner element, but instead of being placed ahead of the radiator as in the C6, this time it’s placed to the side and draws colder air from inside the fenderwell. We note and hope that this design could allow for a 2nd air filter element, a mirror image to the right side, for improved high-end breathing on a future Z06 model. This would also work nicely on the future – the inevitable future – twin-turbo V-6 model.
Now we’ll move to the back, which like the rear sides has been almost completely covered up in spy pictures to date. Right away our first impression is negative – the taillights and side vents are too much Camaro showcar, too kid-stuff immature, too “Transformers”. The taillights are hideous, breaking the paradigm of several styling trends of several previous generations of Corvettes and relegating the Corvette to the Chevrolet taillight styling trend that started with the Camaro and was most recently tacked onto the Malibu.
The rear is also in direct contrast to the front end of the Corvette, where form follows function, and the car is a clear evolution of the C6. Did a different committee style the rear end?
Likewise for the C pillars – they will have a huge impact on rear-side visibility and will only be slightly mitigated by the rear-side windows – if they are indeed usable at all. And then there are the four vents… just plain awful. The ones next to the taillights have no clear aerodynamic function and are apparently fake. Again, think kid stuff and “Transformers”. Then there are the vertical ones on each end of the bumper. They are likely functional, or at least hopefully so since to date Corvette aerodynamics have been very poor (which combined with the inherently variable rate leaf springs make for a twitchy car at very high speeds). The \___/ shape around the license plate matches the rear window, neither of which we like nor are they functional in any way. We would have preferred the rear window to angle inwards: /__\, or even be a squared off rectangle (like a 240Z). What we can’t see is the underside of the rear end, and we would hope that there has been some attention there paid to airflow. But, overall, the back end of the car is very negative in our minds.
Now for the rear hatch, previously seen in only one spy picture. It’s as we expected, as wide as possible. Necessarily so to swallow two golf bags (the use of the hatch for most Corvette owners). This image also reveals the back side of the seats, which matches the spy pictures. Obviously a lot of attention has been paid to making the seats far more supportive, which goes a long way to resolving that other big Corvette problem: big wide flat seats. Apparently designed by a big fat wide engineer. As an HPDE instructor specializing in Corvettes, we see a lot of students having to jam their knee into the driver side speaker just to stay in their seats. Hopefully that problem will be no more… although there may be some less-bolstered standard seats for the typical Corvette demographic – leaving these as an option. We’ll have to see. The rest of the hatch area is obviously shaped to take the removable top. We laughed when we saw another site declare that the horizontal line behind the front seats was actually the top of a fold-down back seat!
Also clear in this shot are the vents above the rear tires. Spy shots to date have had this area covered up, both to hide these as well as the vertical cents on the bumper. Now we know why, and all (or most) of these vents are another nod to aerodynamics. But the vertical bumper vents are also a recent Toyota styling feature, where they similarly look out of sync with the rest of the car.
Moving inside, first to the seats. As previously said, this is a critical area for improvement and clearly some much-needed focus was put here. Despite a bit of attention paid to shoulder support in the last year of the C6, the seats of all previous Corvettes have been frankly shameful – especially in a 125k+ car such as the C6 ZL1. The reason, brought out in an interview at the time the CTS-V was announced with its optional Recaro seats, was room between the drivers shoulders and the B-pillar. That’s a problem area for crash protection, and apparently it’s been addressed in this new generation by moving the seat and b-pillar geometry. The bolstering in the lower seat isn’t much, but the attention to shoulder support is very apparent and welcome. We would also have liked to see pull-out thigh support for drivers with longer legs. We’d prefer an honest set of Recaros. If a buyer can get the real thing in a Fiesta ST (!), why can’t we get them here? There is simply no substitute for a seat designed by professional seating engineers, rather than stylists. This is an area where the new Viper has also failed.
One thing that is apparent in the pictures below are the controls for seat heating and ventilation. Corvette engineers have considered offering ventilated seats in the past (shown to the press with an elaborate external ducting), but never did. They make a lot of sense for road comfort, but also track comfort.
Moving to the dash, we see an enormous paradigm shift – and one of the most anticipated changes for the new generation. This has been a focus area for C7 designers, and a much-needed area of attention. Not only is everything new, everything is different. The main gauges in front of the drivers are entirely LCD, and the panel to the right is also a large LCD, probably with standard navigation. But also, as we will see below, the home of track-oriented applications.
A question – where is the parking brake handle? Don’t tell us it’s electronic (#23)…! Note the shifter: short and well-placed. A 7-speed manual had been spotted some time ago being tested in a C6, but it’s not yet known what will be offered here or where it has been sourced from. Same for the automatic, where reports of a “temporary” 8-speed outsourced from Japan suggest that GM’s own 8-speed is not yet ready for production.
The following image is unfortunately fuzzy and indistinct. We’ve already seen part of the main dash panel in action in the teaser videos supplied by Chevrolet. Just like the Viper, when the car starts a large logo of the car appears in the message center (and how did that happen? Coincidence, we think not). Two things we don’t like. One: there is only a gas level and water temperature gauge. True sportscars should be fully instrumented, and should not have to rely on secondary screens to show critical information. Oil temperature and pressure should be provided here because oil and water temperatures have been a serious – even fatal - problem in Corvette track cars in the past.
Second: the tiny speedometer. Like it or not, some people have to drive 25 MPH thru their neighborhoods and school zones and having a half-inch of travel for that speed in the lower half of the speedometer doesn’t help you monitor your speed. And while this car may or may not be able to attain 200 MPH, 95% of Corvette owners will never get over 100. Traditional Corvettes have provided an over 300-degree sweep of the speedometer (and matched that with the tachometer). That would be 100% functional, it makes sense, and attention for function over form should have been the rule here. These instruments (like some of the exterior design) smack just a little too much of styling, and distraction, instead of maturity.
The steering wheel holds no surprises, with the expected multi-function switch to control dash and secondary LCD menus. That’s how it’s done. It’s also nice to see that the switches near the right palm rest won’t be accidentally hit as they were on the C6.
Here we see the switch for the optional power convertible top. The ones to the left of that are more interesting, and so far unidentifiable. We suspect they may be switches to control the suspension, which previously were placed on the console behind or to the side of the shifter. Note the dead pedal in the footwell. Also note what appears to be an air vent under the switch panel. That has been a GM HVAC trademark, and we think it’s a good one. If it isn’t, we hope there is still one where.
Now we move back to the LCD panel in the center stack. This is clearly configurable for several different purposes, including the radio and navigation. But here’s something new: a track overlay. The GPS system can track a car’s position within a couple of feet and “draw” a rough track layout (corresponding to your position on the track, rather than an actual map of the track), then track lap times and speeds around that track. None of this is new technology, but it’s interesting to see it here.
The buttons directly under this LCD are an unknown… hopefully the entertainment system ranks placement in the LCD and not with these 6 switches and one dial. We hope this isn’t a Camaro-style radio, one of the most ugly and useless systems on the market today. The HVAC controls beneath these also look like they were styled by the Camaro team, given the two large and protruding dials. Again, why not something function here, instead of heavy and over-styled? The good news, as described above, is that this panel shows the heated and cooled seats. Whether these are an option or standard is not yet clear.
Now we’ll get into the risky part of the post… Corvette owners are a strongly opinionated group and so are we. So, overall (and before official introduction), what are the plusses and minuses of what we know of so far?
- Clear attention to quality, with an interior that jumps much farther forward than any Corvette before it.
- Clear attention to seating and ergonomics, again with attention that moves farther forward than any previous Corvette. And it’s about time.
- Attention to aerodynamics, again much overdue.
- Likely, not confirmed, one chassis structure instead of two. Instead of separate steel and aluminum frames (plural), one for the base and the other for the hyper-expensive Z06 and ZL1 models, apparently now we only have one. This should reduce manufacturing complexity, increase quality and consistency, and reduce the price of optional variants of the car. Although at this early point we’d bet the base price of the car will rise.
- Improved chassis dynamics. From the pictures we’ve seen of the rear suspension, it’s an evolution of the geometry of the familiar C5 and C6 suspension (some of which is close enough to be interchangeable). The major problem remaining in our perspective is the leaf springs. These are inherently variable-rate, and bind up considerably at the extremes of travel. Anybody who has driven a properly prepared C6 with coilovers knows that they is a simple and functional solution to the ills of the standard suspension. GM: it’s time to move on, despite the packaging simplicity of the leaf springs.
- Strong focus on track driving. With the improved seats, and the easy availability of a dry-sump oiling on the base car (that is, base currently being below any future Z06 and ZL1-type models), this should be an even better track car than before. Chevrolet engineers have said that the 450-HP/450-torque (“+”) of the new engine “approaches” (which means that it does not exceed, but comes close) the performance the old Z06 engine.
- Direct injection: this is one of those few technologies which has it all: drivability, power, emissions, fuel economy.
- Areas of the Corvette where flash and styling override functionality. Think “Camaro” and “Transformers” instead of maturity and exclusivity. For serious driving enthusiasts, form should always follow function.
- Areas of the dashboard which over-inform and distract the driver. And the main instrument panel, which under-informs.
- Clumsy side vents, questionable vents on the back end of the car.
- Sightlines, both to the rear-side and out the back.
- An unknown: we’re sick to death of oiling and temperature issues with the standard (non-dry sump) engines of the C5 and C6. This is inherently lousy engineering: the base wet-sump engine should be able to be driven at track events (and in “Texas-hot” stop-and-go street traffic) without alarming water or oil temperatures, and with enough oil pressure to guarantee the engine isn’t eating itself alive. So many cars fail here, the Corvette should not be one of them.
Would we take one? Not personally, since on day one only the base models will be introduced and anything similar in concept to a Z06 will be off by at least a year or more. But at this early point we would recommend it as a nice driving car for enthusiasts.
But for hopeless track-heads like us (an affliction which admittedly means that nothing is ever perfect, noting ever totally satisfies in the long term, everything can always be improved, and lots of moaning over what the engineers didn’t do versus what they did do) we’d suggest a C6 Z06 instead. These are easily available in the mid-forty thousand dollar range and will make better use of the year or two until a Z06-type model appears. Yes, the C6 Z06 has it’s faults, and it’s a lousy daily driver, but for track use it’d be a better choice (with some Recaro seats and even a coilover suspension) for now.
Automotive News reports that production of the next generation Camaro will move from its existing Canadian assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, to the Lansing Grand Rover Assembly Plant in Michigan. The Camaro will share an assembly line with the Cadillac ATS and the upcoming all-new CTS. Both the ATS and the upcoming new CTS share the new “Alpha” platform.
This all but confirms that the Camaro will also share the Alpha platform. GM will only say that the move will occur in the 2015 or 2016 model year. Keep in mind that the Alpha platform is all but state-of-the-art, and is also enormously lighter than the current Camaro platform. Conceivably, the Camaro could end up lighter than the 2015 Mustang… or at least on even terms.
Typically, the reaction of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union was a knee-jerk reaction, accusing GM of a quote “assault on Canada”. In reality, the decision was made for simple economics, consolidating all the production for the same platform in the same plant.
Another 2014 Corvette C7 video released!
Again, a short video but a very interesting one. Clearly the interior of the new ‘vette will be taking the farthest jump forward of any generation ever in terms of interior accommodations. High-quality leather and carbon fiber trim on everything. Very much-needed given the economy-car interior of the current ‘vette.
Incidentally, as production nears, the number of documents created for marketing, sales, and service increase exponentially. Leaks are inevitable: and here’s one that made it out the door: