Last week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the long-awaited seventh generation of the classic Chevy Corvette finally made its debut after months of viral campaigns, rumors and even a drivable appearance in Gran Turismo 5 where users could get behind the virtual wheel of a bulky, camouflaged C7.
Reviving the nostalgic Stingray cars nameplate, the new fastback coupe is completely redesigned for the 2014 model year, only sharing two parts with the previous C6 generation (including the ZR1, Z06, and Grand Sport). As a brief history lesson, the Stingray—originally launched as a concept in 1957—formed the basis of the production model C2, which was produced between ’63 and ’67 under the name “Sting Ray.” The name was eventually dropped in the mid-1970s…until now, that is.
The most powerful standard ’Vette that has been released, the C7 features an all-new 6.2-liter LT1 V8 with a plethora of advanced tech optimizations including direct injection, Active Fuel Management, an advanced combustion system that will drive more power while using less fuel and continuously variable valve timing. These systems work together to produce an ultra-impressive 450 horses with an equally decent 450 lb.-ft. of torque at your command. The new ’Ray can hit zero to 60 in under four seconds—try that on for size.
While the internal specs may sell on paper, we’re pretty sure hardcore fans of the brand have been most looking forward to the new shape of this American beast. The stocky, aggressive C7 distinctly captures the spirit of the ’Vette while not straying too far from its predecessors. We’re slightly undecided on this; Chevy had the ability to redesign roughly from scratch but made the conscious decision to evolve the style from the C5 and C6. We understand the need to not alienate loyalists with something far too revolutionary for the name, but there was definitely some room to experiment—especially with the taillights, which are eerily similar to the current fifth-gen Camaros that debuted a couple years back.
That said, the racing feel of this vehicle is where it should be. We’re impressed with the sculpted carbon hood and (classic) removable roof panel, the composite fenders and body panels and, of course, a track-capable performance package (the Z51) that will oversee slip differential, brakes, cooling and stability while tearing down the back straightaway.
In true ’Vette style, the Napa-leather enrobed cockpit is powerful and majestic, with customizable HD screens and a choice of two distinct seating styles. If you’re more of a casual driver with a heavy foot on the freeway, the supportive GT will provide all-around comfort for a more luxury feel; more aggressive speedsters will be tempted by the Competition Sport seat with side bolstering for those track days where you need a bit more padding.
Chevy hasn’t released a pricing strategy yet but hints that the C7 will start slightly above its predecessor but within a reasonable range. We’d expect the low base to be somewhere around $60K with more equipped models heading north of there. From what we’ve heard, not all dealers will be getting their hands on it immediately, so if you’re keen, flock to urban dealerships that will most likely have the edge on this one.