South Florida automotive media got their first look at the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Thursday at the monthly luncheon of the Southern Automotive Media Association.
Chevrolet sponsored the event and brought three models of the iconic American sports car for the nearly 60 members in attendance to take on short spins around Miami Beach.
Powered by a new 6.2-liter V8, the 2014 Corvette is the most powerful standard Corvette model ever with horsepower listed at 445 hp and torque at 460 pound-feet of torque.
Yet it also is the most fuel efficient, with mileage ratings of 17 miles-per-gallon city, 29 mpg highway with the all-new seven-speed manual transmission, features “Active Rev Match” technology that blips the throttle for you when downshifting. A six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters also is offered.
The driver can select one of five driving modes via a knob on the center console. Settings are Tour (the default setting for everyday driving), Sport (for more aggressive driving), Track (for competition on the track), Weather (for rain and snow), and Eco (for more fuel economy). When cruising on the highway, you may set the knob for Eco and four of the eight cylinders shut down to boost fuel economy.
The display in the instrument changes settings depending on what mode is selected.
One major area that got attention from designers was the Corvette’s interior. The use of higher grade materials gives the cabin a more refined ambiance.
The seats are more comfortable, too, as designers went away from trying to produce a seat that would do two jobs -- i.e., comfort for for everyday driving and extra support for competitions, but did neither very well.
Now buyers have the choice of a GT seat for all-around comfort or a Competition Sport seat for action on the track.
Pricing for the new Corvette starts at under $52,000, an amazing bargain for such a sports-car classic. Options and packages can run the cost to the $65,000 to $70,000 range, still a bargain when it comes to a vehicle that matches up with some of the world’s best performance cars.
All in all, this is a very special Corvette in a long line of special sports cars.
The 2014 model bears the legendary Stingray name first introduced with the second generation in 1963.
“We didn’t set out to build a Stingray,” said John Fitzpatrick, Chevrolet Performance Cars Marketing Manager. “We set out to build the greatest Corvette we could. It wasn’t until we got done with that that we said, ‘You know, this really does remind everybody of the ’63, in terms of not only in the look of the car but how the car feels and how it reacts.’
“We thought it was natural to add the Stingray name at that point.”