The Stingray nameplate has been revived for 2014 after being laid to rest back in 1976. However, the Vette, in general, almost went the way of the dinosaur due to GM almost dying in 2009. The latest incarnation of the Vette fought a long hard battle, with multiple delays due to bankruptcy slowing development twice. Each delay brought about new safety and gas mileage restrictions, forcing more changes each time. The Vette was almost regulated to death.
The 2014 C7 Corvette was was unveiled in Detroit, on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 at the North American International Auto Show. The C7 is so totally new, that it only shares 2 parts with its predecessor, the C6. The two parts in common are the valve keepers and starter bolts. That’s it. Nothing else. As a side note, the C6 was in production for the past 9 years, beginning in 2004.
The main objective of producing a supercar is usually based on a combination of speed, and looks. Not so with the C7. Thanks to ever tightening governmental rules and restrictions placed on the corvette, the main objective in design became ‘fuel economy’. “There won’t be a Corvette if we don’t care about fuel economy,” said Tadge Juechter, the car’s chief engineer. Designers had to bear in mind that if the new Vette burned too much gas, it would be taxed and fined to death, and it wouldn’t even make sense to build. In essence, the Corvette almost went bye bye because of more bureaucratic bullshit. However, with all the things going against it, the Vette has survived, and reportedly will turn 16+ mpg in the city, with high 20s, possibly even 30mpg on the highway.
The C7 achieved the fuel economy while ripping out 450 Horsepower with the use of “not-so-new” technology. Much attention was paid to the weight of the Vette, which comes in at a svelte 3200 pounds, combined with an all new engine. The Vette reached this low weight through extensive use of Carbon Fibers in place of fiberglass, the use of aluminum instead of steel for the entire frame, and a new design, all aluminum V8 helps to keep this heavy hitter, light in the ass.
The all new LT1 is a 6.2 litre, 376 CID, all aluminum V8. It features an astonishing 11.5:1 compression ratio due to the use of ‘Direct Injection’, where the fuel is injected directly into the cylinders, greatly decreasing the chances of detonation. This allows a compression ratio not seen in a production car since the late 60s muscle cars. Higher compression relates directly to higher power and higher overall efficiency of the engine. Direct Injection isn’t exactly new, it’s been in use on most diesel engines since their inception, which allows for insane compresion ratios like 20+:1. All of this equals out to a 450 HP engine, which Chevy claims is the most powerful engine ever offered in a Base model Vette.
Another not so new technology in the Stingray is the ‘Cylinder Deactivation System’, which shuts 4 cylinders of the engine down while at cruising speeds, further increasing fuel economy. Hopefully with the powerful on-board ECU, this half engine technology will work better than the horrible L62 V8-6-4 system that was used on Cadillacs back in the 80s. Another addition is Cam Phasing Technology which allows the timing to be advanced or retarded as necessary to further promote fuel efficiency. If all these systems work as designed, this new engine system could be the direction all new cars take. The direct injection system has been adopted by a lot of manufacturers, including Mazda, Audi, Pontiac, and Volkswagen, to name a few.
As far as styling, all vents and scoops are actually functional, used for cooling brakes, transmission and for intake air. The back side of the Vette loosely resembles the ’63, with its sloping roof that tapers back towards the bottom. The back is very angular, resembling the late model camaros more than any previous Vette. The roof is removable, storable in the trunk. A convertible version will be making an appearance in a few years. The interior is described by GM as having a ‘jet cockpit look’ with liberal use of leather, carbon fibers, soft plastics and a host of electronic/tech gadgets.
GM claims to have upgraded the interior so it no longer has the cheap, chintzy look. I think it still looks like cheap shit, but that’s my personal opinion. The Viper far surpasses the Vette in interior upgrades without a doubt.
I’m not too impressed with anything about the new Stingray. I think I would rather buy a used c6, or go with the upper level Camaro. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the ‘cylinder deactivation system’ is an omen for worse things to come. Still, this is the first of the new generation. As each year passes, as is normal for the Vette, higher performance versions will start to come out after a few years. For right now, I am not liking the new Vette all that much, and coming from a die-hard Vette lover as myself, that is not a good thing. I will, however, reserve final judgment for about 5-7 years when the new versions of the ZR1 and Z06 come out.
What’s your take on the new Stingray? Yay or Nay?