To say the Chevrolet Corvette received the major portion of attention around the press days of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit this last week would be a huge understatement. Although the 2014 Corvette was introduced very early in the schedule it never and I mean never was without a large crowd surrounding the car. It was mobbed every minute the hall was open to the media. So much so it was difficult to get photographs without someone in the way. In fact, I would guess when the doors closed and the set up crews moved in to do their work, a fair number were also crowded around the Corvette.
The reaction was well deserved. This is truly the first real redo in design and engineering in many years. It may be the most radical design departure since the Corvette’s inception. Even examining the Corvette design over the last few decades this new styling is decidedly different.
During the reveal, held in an old warehouse converted into a trendy looking concert hall, I heard a few Corvette diehards growling that the styling was too European, too exotic not an American design. However, for the most part the reactions were heartedly positive and enthusiastic. From my vantage point as the Corvette roared onto the stage I could feel the excitement and enthusiasm in the crowd. It made me even more anxious to get behind the wheel for the first test of this all-new American iconic automobile.
Unfortunately, those first tests will be some time off as there are only two running Corvettes, as the Corvette production line ramps up to begin getting cars to dealers and more importantly to the press. Chevrolet gave the world all the particulars wetting the appetite of all who see this as a new era for Corvette. So here are the numbers and hard facts as they are.
This is the first time since the nineteen-sixties that the Stingray badge has adorned the Corvette. According to General Motors Vice-president and President North America, Mark Reuss “Like the ’63 Sting Ray, the best Corvettes embodied performance leadership, delivering cutting-edge technologies, breathtaking design and awe-inspiring driving experiences.” Reuss continued, “The all-new Corvette goes farther than ever, thanks to today’s advancements in design, technology and engineering.” For a glimpse of how Reuss sees his job view view the 1st. chapter of my exclusive interview with him below then for the 2nd chapter go to http://autoreviewsplus.com/features/industry-news.
That melding of technology and engineering brings the new Corvette Stingray to us with a combination of big, V-8 power and fuel efficiency needed today. Powered by a 450 horsepower (this is estimated as testing has not been finalized) V-8 that is capable of 0 to 60 times of under 4 seconds but beating the current Corvette fuel economy numbers of 26 miles-per-gallon.
The 2014 Corvette reportedly shares just two minor parts of the previous generation. The all-new frame structure and the use of carbon fiber components reduce the weight by more than 400 pounds. Yet, it is stronger, more capable and safer. Tadge Juechter, Corvette executive chief engineer told me, "Chevrolet has a long history of using racing to improve production cars, and nowhere is that more evident than with Corvette. We continually apply technologies and strategies developed for Corvette Racing directly to the production car. That influence can be seen in virtually every aspect of the new Corvette Stingray, from the aerodynamic design to the use of carbon fiber, to the cooling techniques and even in the brake system."
For more on the new Stingray see a video interview I had with executive chief engineer, Tadge Juechter at http://autoreviewsplus.com/features/industry-news.
The exterior design only wets the appetite of what is to be once you slide behind the wheel. A great deal of the spirit and engineering of the structure is taken from the award winning racing Corvettes, so is it with the interior. Heavy use of carbon fiber, aluminum and leather combines the performance with creature comforts. Two racing inspired seat choices feature magnesium frames and sport design to hold driver and passenger securely in place.
A five-position Drive Mode Selector gives the driver control over 12 vehicle attributes that make the driving experience the most rewarding considering the conditions. Engineers have incorporated Active Fuel Management into the 6.2-liter engine that automatically gives the Corvette four-cylinder fuel economy while cruising and instantly switches to 8-cylinders when performance is needed. While we have seen rev matching technology on a few other sports cars, Corvette Stingray brings it to a new level in a system that matches engine speed with gear selection faster than we can for perfect gear shifts.
As was the excitement and enthusiasm found at the NAIAS, I am equally excited at the prospect of soon being able to put this redesigned and engineered Corvette to the real test. I cannot wait to get this Stingray out on the road to experience the performance as well as its road holding manners.