GM pulled the wraps off its seventh-generation ’Vette – to huge applause – during last week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In case you didn’t read the papers, here are the CliffsNotes.
First, it’s going to carry the Stingray badge – a name used in the much-revered second-generation 1963 model. That’s big. And about time. No one wants to tell friends they drive a ‘base’ Corvette.
Second, it’s powered by an all-new 6.2-liter LT1 V8 featuring such cool technology as direct-injection, variable valve timing, and a fuel management system that can cut four of the eight cylinders to improve fuel economy when highway cruising.
This new engine cranks out a mighty 450 horsepower, making it the most powerful standard motor in Corvette history. Coupled to a new seven-speed manual transmission, expect standstill to 60mph acceleration in under four seconds, yet over 26 mpg on the highway.
Third, there’s a totally new interior. Corvette interiors have never been known for their high quality. In fact they’ve been pretty appalling. Not this new one, which moves closer to premium European brands, with classy materials, lots of hand-stitched leather and pinch-tight panel fits. Finally.
Fourth? It goes into production in the third quarter with prices expected to be pretty much in line with the current model, which means an entry sticker of around $50,000.
Of course, I’ve left the issue of styling to the end. I spent a lot of time at the show last week just gazing at the razor-sharp angles of the new body with its crazy-wild rear end and quartet of tail pipes, all the air-gulping intakes, bulges and exaggerated lines. And the jury, I’m afraid, is still out.
Depending on your view of Corvettes, it looks either like an extra from one of those over-the-top Transformer movies, or the coolest car since the original ’63 Stingray.
One thing’s for sure, it is going to be one thrill-ride. The new chassis, the new engine and over 60 years of Corvette evolution will guarantee that.