The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe and convertible are entirely new and completely updated for only the seventh time since the model was launched back in 1953. Chevy has taken lessons learned from the world of racing and translated them directly to its venerable sports cars. Lightweight materials, stronger brakes, and a more powerful engine represent only a few of the engineering tweaks that make the Corvette Stingray better than ever.
The standard GT seats, and optional Competition Sport versions, feature lightweight magnesium frames for reduced weight and greater rigidity. The Sport seats include more aggressive bolstering, to keep you firmly in place when the driving is serious and the road ahead gets twisty.
The Drive Mode Selector has five driver-programmable settings: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track. Using the rotary knob to choose your desired setting, the Corvette Stingray adjusts a range of driving parameters, including shift points, throttle response, steering feel, the electronic limited-slip differential, active exhaust system, and traction control system. Even the car’s instrument gauges adjust to the chosen driving mode. In Track mode, for example, the gauge cluster includes a lap timer and copies a design used in the C6.R race car.
All Corvette Stingrays have a carbon-fiber hood, to reduce weight and lower the center of gravity for sharper dynamics. Corvette coupes also come with a carbon-fiber roof.
A 7-speed manual transmission is available for the first time in a Corvette. The extra gear helps improve performance and overall fuel economy. An active rev-matching feature electronically ‘anticipates’ your next gear, then blips the throttle for faster, more seamless gear changes. A dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch also contribute to the new Corvette’s more precise shift quality. A 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters mounted to the steering wheel is also available.
Rumors of a turbocharged V-6 finding its way under the hood proved to be well wide of the mark. That doesn’t mean Chevrolet’s engineers left the naturally-aspirated V-8 engine alone. The 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 develops 450-hp and 450 lb.-ft. of torque. To boost performance and fuel economy, the engine includes active fuel management, continuously variable valve timing, an advanced combustion system, and direct injection.
High-performance slotted Brembo brakes are also part of the Z51 Performance Package.
Believe it or not, the new Corvette has narrower wheels than the outgoing model. Yet Chevy finessed the dynamics so the Corvette Stingray, when equipped with the optional Z51 Performance Package, pulls a neck-straining 1g while cornering – that’s equal to the 2013 Corvette Grand Sport. According to Chevy, the narrower and lighter wheels and tires reduce steering effort, limit road noise, and reduce rolling resistance. The standard Corvette Stingray now rides on run-flat Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (18 x 8.5-inch front and 19 x 10-inch rear) which have been developed specifically for the car. Choosing the Z51 Performance Package nets you larger rubber (19 x 8.5-inch front and 20 x 10-inch rear) riding on forged aluminum wheels.
You may have noticed that little aquatic creature swimming along the front fenders of the new Corvette. First introduced in 1963, the Stingray name finally makes its highly-anticipated return. Don’t expect a rear split-window, like the one used on the famous 1963 coupe original. That flashy styling feature sure looked cool, but it limited rear visibility and lasted only one year before Chevy’s engineering team gave it the heave-ho.
Fender vents relieve air pressure under the hood, to minimize aerodynamic drag. The functional hood scoop on the Corvette Stingray mimics the one used on Chevrolet’s C6.R racing car. A variety of factory-backed and privateer race teams have scored multiple victories and class championships around with the potent C6.R. That’s no easy task, considering the competition has included the finest racing machines from the likes of Aston Martin, Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati.
Nothing went overlooked in Chevrolet’s quest to lighten the Corvette. The suspension features hollow cast aluminum control arms to reduce unsprung weight and sharpen the ride and handling balance.
Electric power steering offers different steering ratios and levels of effort depending on the drive mode. Steering column stiffness is increased by a whopping 150-percent compared with the previous Vette.
Chevy worked overtime to trim weight from the Corvette. The car’s new aluminum frame is 99 pounds lighter, and 57-percent stiffer, than the previous one.
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