America’s Favorite Performance Car Line Expands in 2015

Chevrolet's 14 performance car models ranging from 323 to 625 horsepower.

NEW YORK – With the introduction of the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible, Chevrolet offers enthusiasts 14 distinct performance-car models – including nine Camaro models, the SS performance sedan and four Corvette models. Output ranges from 323 to an estimated 625 horsepower.

“Chevrolet has been America’s best-selling performance brand for four consecutive years, due in part to the breadth of our lineup,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development. “For 2015, we will have the best range in our history, offering a performance car for virtually every enthusiast, from the 30-mpg Camaro LS and the COPO Camaro drag car to the 625-horsepower Corvette Z06 Convertible supercar.”

The 2015 Chevrolet lineup of performance cars includes:

Corvette

The all-new Corvette Stingray was the most awarded vehicle of 2013. Built on a new aluminum chassis and featuring a new 6.2L V-8 rated at 455 horsepower, it backs its performance capability with the greatest efficiency of any sports car with at least 450 horsepower: an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city driving and 29 mpg on the highway with its seven-speed manual transmission. A new eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission will be offered in 2015.

The new Z06 Coupe and Convertible join the lineup for 2015. The new Z06 delivers supercar levels of performance and technology, including at least 625 horsepower and 635 lb-ft of torque from an all-new supercharged engine, and true aerodynamic downforce for high-speed stability. The Z06 Coupe is the most capable Corvette in the brand’s history, recording the fastest lap of any production car ever tested at GM’s Milford Road Course test track. The Z06 Convertible will be one of the most capable convertibles on the market – matching the coupe model – with 0-60 acceleration in less than 3.5 seconds.

Chevrolet SS

Chevrolet’s first V-8-powered, rear-drive performance sedan since 1996 is based on a race-proven, global platform that underpins the Camaro, and, in Australia, the high-performance Holden VF Commodore. Lightweight aluminum hood and deck lid panels contribute to a nearly 50/50 weight balance, while the performance of the SS’s 415-hp / 415-lb-ft 6.2L V-8 enables 0 to 60 mph sprints in 5 seconds flat.

Camaro

The Camaro lineup starts with the 323-horsepower V-6-powered coupe and convertible, which match performance with efficiency – including up to 30 mpg on the highway for the 2LS coupe model – and a suggested starting price of $23,555 not including tax, title and dealership fees.

The SS coupe and convertible come with Chevy’s legendary small-block V-8, featuring a 6.2L engine delivering up to 426 horsepower, and 0-60 acceleration in 4.5 seconds.

The Camaro 1LE is the most affordable, track-capable Camaro in the lineup, starting at $37,350. Offered only on SS coupes with a manual transmission and optimized for the track with unique gearing, suspension tuning and tires that make it capable of more than 1 g in cornering grip.

The Camaro ZL1 (coupe and convertible) is equally at home on the race track, the drag strip or daily commuting. It features a supercharged 6.2L V-8 with 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft of torque – making the ZL1 the most powerful Camaro ever from Chevrolet. It is also the most technologically advanced, with standard Magnetic Ride Control and, on coupe models, Performance Traction Management.

The COPO Camaro, limited to 69 units this year, is a hand-built race car designed exclusively for drag racing – the first purpose-built Camaro race car from Chevy and the quickest Camaro ever from the factory

Finally, the all-new Camaro Z/28 returns the iconic model to its road-racing roots. It features exterior elements designed like a race car to produce downforce that presses the car against the track for greater grip – up to 1.08 g in cornering acceleration – and faster lap times. Camaro Z/28 logged a 7:37 lap on Germany’s legendary Nürburgring track, which was faster than published times for Porsche 911 Carrera S and Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

Drop-top Supercar: 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

DETROIT – Chevrolet today introduced one of the most capable drop-tops on the market: the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible. With at least 625 horsepower, and 635 pound-feet of torque, the Z06 is also the most powerful convertible ever produced by Chevrolet.

“The Z06 Convertible is a world-class supercar in every sense,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development. “Only a handful of convertibles in the world bring more than 600 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. Even fewer can match the advanced technologies, aerodynamic design, and visceral driving experience of the Z06 Convertible.”

This is the first   Z06 Convertible offered from the factory since 1963 when the Z06 option package was introduced for endurance racing. Records show only 199 Corvette orders with a Z06 package that year, including one convertible.

Recent technological advancements enable the building of a modern Z06 Convertible, said Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter.

“Until recently it was not possible to create a lightweight, open-roof structure strong enough to cope with the braking, cornering, and acceleration of Corvette’s top performance models,” Juechter said. “The frame for the Z06 convertible leverages advancements in computer-aided engineering, metallurgy, and manufacturing techniques – many of which were not available just five years ago.”

The aluminum structure is 20 percent stiffer than the previous, fixed-roof Z06. As there are no structural reinforcements needed for the Z06 Convertible, its curb weight is nearly identical to the Z06 Coupe. They also share the same chassis tuning, powertrain output, driver technologies and equipment options – including the Z07 Performance Package, which adds Brembo carbon-ceramic matrix brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and adjustable front- and rear-aerodynamic components.

“The most impressive aspect of the Z06 Convertible may be its performance bandwidth,” said Juechter. “Very few cars on the market can match its combination of extreme, supercar levels of performance; the flexibility for daily driving and long-distance commuting; and the 360-degree, open-air driving experience only true convertibles can offer.”

All-aluminum, high-tech foundation

The Corvette Z06 Convertible represents the culmination of more than four years developing an all-new, all-aluminum structure for the seventh generation Corvette. That structure, built at General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly plant, was designed to the specifications of the Corvette Stingray, Corvette Z06 and the Corvette Racing C7.R.

“We wanted a frame that was lighter than the steel frame of the previous Corvette, yet strong enough for both a 600-horsepower convertible and a 24-hour endurance racer,” said Ed Moss, engineering group manager for Corvette structures. “That would not have been possible without improvements in computer-aided engineering software, which allowed us to model more than 17,000 frame iterations, with each iteration improving strength and stiffness, while reducing mass.”

The team used nearly 186,000 computational hours of modeling to develop the frame. It features main rails composed of five customized aluminum segments, including aluminum extrusions at each end, a center main rail section and hollow-cast nodes at the suspension interface points. The gauge of each segment varies in thickness from 2mm to 11mm, tailored – along with the shape – to meet the strength and stiffness requirements for each frame section with minimal weight.

These components are assembled using many advanced manufacturing processes, including:

  • 439 spot-welds using a GM-patented process that uses a unique electrode designed specifically for aluminum
  • 188 Flowdrill-machined fasteners installed by a high-speed drill that extrudes the frame material to create a strong, integral collar tapped for bolt-on fasteners
  • 113 feet of structural adhesives used in conjunction with welding and fasteners to increase overall frame stiffness
  • 37 feet of laser welds, which join frame sections via a precise beam of high energy that minimizes heat beyond the weld area for improved structural accuracy.

The only structural differences between the Z06 Coupe and Convertible are provisions for mounting the power-folding top, and repositioned safety-belt mounts.

High-performance aerodynamics

Like the structure, only minor design changes distinguish the Z06 Coupe from the Convertible. The Z06 convertible features an electronic top that can be lowered remotely using the car’s key fob. The top can also open or close on the go, at speeds of up to 30 mph (50 km/h).

With the top up, the Z06 Convertible is designed for a refined driving experience. A thick fabric top, offered in four colors along with sound-absorbing padding and a glass rear window, contributes to a quiet cabin and premium appearance.

Behind the seat backs, dual accent panels – either Carbon Flash-painted or available with exposed carbon fiber – enhance the character lines of the tonneau cover. Corvette Stingray’s signature “waterfall” design originates in the valley between the nacelles, bringing the exterior color into the interior.

The power-operated tonneau cover necessitated moving the air intakes for the differential and transmission coolers from the rear quarter panels on the Z06 Coupe to the underbody of the Z06 Convertible.

Otherwise, both models share the same, performance-driven aesthetic.

“Practically every exterior panel serves a functional purpose to meet the performance goals of the Z06,” said Tom Peters, Corvette design director, “The flared fenders accommodate larger, wider wheels and tires for more grip. The larger vents provide more cooling air to the engine, brakes, transmission and differential for increased track capability. The more aggressive aerodynamic package generates true downforce for more cornering grip and high-speed stability.”

Both Z06 models are fitted with Michelin tires (Pilot Super Sport tires for the Z06; Sport Cup 2 tires with the Z07 package): P285/30ZR19 front, and 335/25ZR20 rear.

The tires are mounted on lightweight, spin-cast aluminum wheels (19 x 10 inches in front and 20 x 12 inches in the rear). Their open, ultralight design showcases the massive Brembo brakes, which contribute to the design:

  • The Z06 features two-piece steel rotors, measuring 14.6 x 1.3-inch (371 x 33 mm) front and 14.4 x 1-inch (365 x 25 mm) rear, with aluminum six-piston and four-piston fixed calipers, respectively
  • The Z07 package adds larger, 15.5 x 1.4-inch (394 x 36 mm) front and 15.3 x 1.3-inch (388 x 33 mm) carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors for consistent performance lap after lap. They collectively save 23 pounds over the standard Z06 rotors.

Both Z06 coupe and convertible will be available with one of three, increasing levels of aerodynamic downforce:

  • The standard Z06 features a front splitter, spats around the front wheel openings, a unique carbon-fiber hood with a larger vent, and rear spoiler
  • An available carbon-fiber aero package delivers aerodynamic downforce four times greater than the standard Z06. It adds a carbon fiber front splitter with aviation-style winglets, carbon fiber rocker panels, and a larger rear spoiler with a fixed wickerbill – a small, vertical tab at the edge of the spoiler that significantly increases downforce. The package is available in black or a visible carbon-fiber finish
  • The available Z07 package adds larger winglets to the front splitter, along with an adjustable, see-through center section on the rear spoiler enabling customers to tailor the aerodynamics to their preference.

Compared to the Corvette Stingray, the Corvette Z06 fenders are 2.2 inches (56 mm) wider at the front, and 3.15 inches (80 mm) at the rear. Those extensions give the Corvette Z06 a wider, lower appearance further emphasized by a unique rear fascia. It incorporates the same taillamp assemblies as the Stingray, but on the Z06 the taillamps are pushed approximately three inches farther apart, toward to edges of the body.

The exterior design also reflects the increased cooling required for the new Corvette Z06. For example, the mesh pattern on the front fascia was designed to deliver the most possible airflow to the supercharger’s intercooler heat exchanger, so much that the mesh grill directs more air into the engine bay than if the grille was removed.

The unique grille also features dedicated brake-cooling intakes and wider grille outlets on the bottom serve as air diffusers. A larger hood vent allows air driven through the grille to exit through the hood rather than being forced under the car, which could create lift.

Standard front and rear brake-cooling ducts, including Z06-signature rear ducts integrated in front of the rear fender openings, are also part of the functional design changes.

The Z06 benefits from interior details designed for high-performance driving, first introduced on the Stingray, including a steel-reinforced grab bar on the center console for the passenger and soft-touch materials on the edge of the console, where the driver naturally braces during high-load cornering.

Like the Stingray, the Z06 comes with two seating choices: a GT seat, for all-around comfort, and a Competition Sport seat with more aggressive side bolstering, which provides greater support on the track. A magnesium frame structure for both seats provides greater rigidity and strength compared with steel frames.

Unprecedented attention to detail and build quality complements the Corvette Z06’s performance. All models feature a fully wrapped interior, with every surface covered by premium, soft-touch materials. Available materials, depending on the trim level, include Napa leather, aluminum, carbon fiber and micro-suede.

The interior also features a flat-bottom steering wheel with a carbon fiber center spoke. The Z06 comes in five interior colors, including two that are unique to Z06 – blue and dark gray.

Supercharged, efficient performance
The heart of the 2015 Corvette Z06 is the all-new LT4 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine, expected to deliver at least 625 horsepower (466 kW) and 635 lb-ft of torque (861 Nm). To balance performance and efficiency, the LT4 leverages the same trio of advanced technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray: Direct injection, Active Fuel Management, or cylinder deactivation, and continuously variable valve timing.

These technologies – combined with the fuel-efficient multi-speed transmissions, aerodynamic design and lightweight construction – help make the new Z06 surprisingly fuel efficient.

“The supercharged LT4 engine delivers the greatest balance of performance and efficiency ever in the Corvette,” said John Rydzewski, assistant chief engineer for Small-Block engines. “It is one of the world’s only supercharged engines to incorporate cylinder deactivation technology, enabling it to cruise efficiently on the highway with reduced fuel consumption, but offer more than 600 horsepower whenever the driver calls up its tremendous power reserve.”

The supercharged LT4 comes with a standard seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Match, or an all-new 8L90 eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission designed to enhance performance and efficiency. The seven-speed manual incorporates rev-matching technology for upshifts and downshifts. A new dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch deliver greater shift quality and feel through lower inertia.

The eight-speed automatic is tuned for world-class shift-response times. Smaller steps between gears keep the LT4 within the sweet spot of the rpm band, making the most of the output of the supercharged engine for exhilarating performance and greater efficiency.

“There’s no trade-off in drivability with the new 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission – it was designed to deliver performance on par with dual-clutch designs, but without sacrificing refinement,” said Bill Goodrich, assistant chief engineer for eight-speed automatic transmissions. “It is also the highest-capacity automatic transmission ever offered in a Chevrolet car.”

Featuring four gearsets and five clutches, creative packaging enables the GM-developed eight-speed automatic to fit the same space as the six-speed automatic used in the Corvette Stingray. Extensive use of aluminum and magnesium make it more than eight pounds (4 kg) lighter than the six-speed. Along with design features that reduce friction, the 8L90 is expected to contribute up to 5-percent greater efficiency, when compared with a six-speed automatic.

Track-proven technologies

The 2015 Corvette Z06 Coupe and Convertible leverage the technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray, with unique features and calibrations tailored for its capabilities.

“Our mission with the seventh-generation Corvette was to make the performance levels more accessible, enabling drivers to exploit every pound-foot of torque, every ‘g’ of grip and every pound of downforce,” said Juechter. “It’s a philosophy we introduced with the 460-horsepower Corvette Stingray – and one that’s even more relevant with an estimated 625 horsepower at your beck and call.”

The new Z06 retains the SLA-type front and rear suspension design of the Corvette Stingray but uniquely calibrated for the higher performance threshold. The third-generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers, adjustable for touring comfort or maximum track performance via the standard Driver Mode Selector, are standard on Z06.

Like the Stingray, the Driver Mode Selector tailors up to a dozen features of the Z06 to suit the driver’s environment, including:

  • Launch control: Available in Track mode for manual and automatic transmissions, providing maximum off-the-line acceleration
  • Traction control: Weather mode tailors traction control and engine torque for driving in inclement conditions
  • Performance Traction Management: Available in Track mode and offers five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving
  • Electronic Limited Slip Differential: Adjusts the rate at which the limited slip engages, balancing steering response and stability in different driving conditions with more aggressive performance in Sport and Track modes.

The smart electronic limited-slip differential, or eLSD, is standard. It features a hydraulically actuated clutch capable of infinitely varying clutch engagement. The system enhances all aspects of performance by constantly tailoring the clutch-pack engagement based on a unique algorithm that factors in vehicle speed, steering input and throttle position to improve steering feel, handling balance and traction.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

From GM News….

Stingray Named One of Ward’s 10 Best Interiors

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

DETROIT – The inside of the 2014 Chevrolet Stingray is one of Ward’s 10 Best Interiors.

The yearly award considers all cars that are either all-new, or have had considerable interior refreshment for that model year. For 2014, the field was comprised of 41 vehicles, and were judged against ergonomics, driver information, fit-and-finish, materials, value, safety, comfort, and design harmony.

“We went to great lengths to insure that this vehicle was worthy of the iconic Stingray name on the inside and out,” said Ken Parkinson, executive director of Global Chevrolet Design. “We selected authentic, premium materials, integrated connected and intuitive technologies, all while balancing craftsmanship and precision execution.”    

Ward’s called out the Stingray’s carbon-fiber trim, microfiber headliner and contrast stitching on the bucket seats, saying the features were highly competitive with more-expensive competitors in the segment.

Drew Winter, editor-in-chief of WardsAuto World magazine, also cited the Stingray’s track-focus as a main reason the car was honored. He pointed to the high-visibility reconfigurable digital graphics in the instrument cluster and central display communicate mission-critical information to the driver on and off the track.

Stingray engineers developed a steel-reinforced grab bar on the center console for the passenger and soft-touch materials on the edge of the console, where the driver naturally braces during high-load cornering, a direct result of engineers taking the car to the Milford Proving Ground during development.

Ward’s continued: A blend of hand craftsmanship and machined precision is intended to ensure the fit, finish and ambience of the cabin is first-rate. The leather-wrapped instrument panel, for example, features hand-selected and hand-stretched materials for better grain matching with stitching performed by robots that deliver perfect seams.

The award follows last year’s win by the Chevrolet Spark.  

 

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

# # #

From GM News

Black Widow’s Stingray Among 15 Chevrolets in Chicago

CHICAGO – So if the Black Widow had a sports car, what would it be?

You don’t have to wait until the April 4 premiere of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” to find out. Visitors to the Chicago Auto Show will see the world premiere of the black-on-black Corvette Stingray driven by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Black Widow in the sequel to Captain America.

They should not expect to see the Black Widow, but Chevrolet will distribute a limited-edition Captain America comic book to celebrate its team up with Marvel Entertainment, LLC.

The Black Widow’s Stingray is one of 15 Chevrolet cars and trucks displayed for the first time at the Chicago show – at least one example from each segment showcasing the depth of Chevrolet’s current portfolio.

Chevrolet continues its commitment to business customers with the all-new City Express, the production version of which debuts in Chicago. The small-and-efficient cargo van goes on sale this fall with a focus on the versatility, maneuverability and performance that businesses need.

Performance fans will have a good selection of cars to gaze upon, with the Stingray convertible and two Stingray coupes being seen for the first time in the Windy City. Accompanying them will be the Corvette Z06 and C7.R, fresh off their debuts at the North American International Auto Show in January. Fans of the 2+2 layout will be able to see a Z/28 for the first time in Chicago, while the SS sedan will be on hand for those that want four doors with their muscle.

Chevrolet’s three pickup truck strategy is on display with the Colorado Extended Cab midsize joining a Silverado 1500 High Country, a Silverado 3500 HD, and a Silverado 2500 HD. SUVs are represented by the all-new Suburban and Tahoe, both in LTZ form.

At the other end of the size spectrum, the Sonic RS in the new Blue Topaz color carries Chevy’s small car banner.

About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years.  Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.  For more information visit www.marvel.com.

About Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is produced by Kevin Feige, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp and Hayley Atwell, with Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is presented by Marvel Studios. The executive producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Alan Fine and Stan Lee. The film releases April 4, 2014, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

 

From GM News….

Automobile of the Year: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

 

 

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Yes, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette is the Automobile of the Year. No, this was not a foregone conclusion. The Corvette may have a special place in the American automotive pantheon, but not every new Corvette has been a big deal. The C6, for example, was a conservative effort, a safe play that didn’t reach. The new C7, though, is something else. This is a thorough redesign, and it starts with a new frame. Switching from steel to aluminum (previously only Z06 and ZR1 models used an aluminum frame), the C7’s frame structure is nearly 100 pounds lighter than the C6’s and considerably stiffer. The front and rear cradles — both aluminum — are also lighter and stiffer. The lift-off top remains, but it’s carbon fiber (as is the hood). The V-8’s 6.2-liter displacement is the same as before, but this is an all-new engine, backed by a new seven-speed manual transmission. There’s newfound sophistication in the chassis and an interior that makes no excuses to anyone.

The car’s performance is simply awesome. In today’s era of horsepower inflation, the big V-8’s 455 hp, or 460 hp with the performance exhaust, may not be numbers made for bar boasts — we’ll have to wait for the Z06 for that — but you get the impression that reaching some marketing-driven power figure was not the point. The point was to smoke tires, roar out of turns, and storm down the straights — oh, and do all that without quaffing unleaded. As it turns out, this new 6.2-liter proves to be highly effective at all those things. With 460 lb-ft of torque (again, add 5 with the performance exhaust), the ability to fry the Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber is always there, just a push of the traction control button away. When you’re more interested in go than in show, the Corvette gets down and boogies. We clocked an 11.9-second quarter mile at 118 mph; 60 mph ticks by in less than four seconds. Launch control is available should you want to clock yourself, and there’s a function that will record your time so you can amaze your friends. Full-throttle blasts are accompanied by a race-car-worthy soundtrack trumpeting from the quad exhaust pipes, but under mellower circumstances the engine emits a muted yet purposeful rumble. Even in a Corvette, you’re not always stomping on the gas, and this powertrain is just as rewarding in less aggressive driving. The new, seven-speed manual features creamy clutch action and a slick shifter. Without turbochargers to manage, the V-8’s throttle response is precisely predictable, and the long-travel accelerator pedal lets you easily mete out the exact amount of power. Despite the normally aspirated engine’s large displacement and potent output, a tall top gear and the ability to run on four cylinders (in Eco mode) help this muscular beast post EPA numbers that you won’t be ashamed to mention in polite company: 17/29 mpg city/highway for the manual, 16/28 mpg for the automatic.

The Stingray is a great car for going fast, but it’s also great for going slow. It’s great for going fast not because it goes faster, but because it’s now easier to drive it faster. The excellent steering comes by way of a system that Chevrolet says is five times stiffer and a wheel that’s smaller than before; the result is newfound precision that makes this big machine much more wieldy. The chassis incorporates the expected suite of computer-managed traction and handling aids, but what’s remarkable is how customizable they are and how deftly they perform their bacon-saving functions while still leaving so much of the car control in the hands (and feet) of the driver. There are five main modes, topping out in Track, into which you can delve further until you get to the level where stability and traction control are completely off. The optional and highly worthwhile Z51 package supplements all that with an electronically locking rear differential that constantly apportions torque from side to side, which allowed even the less skilled among us to power out of corners at GingerMan Raceway with confidence. This Corvette is not going to break away suddenly or snap around on you. There’s grace and fluidity here. Accessibility is a theme running through the C7. Despite the sophisticated technology, this is not a cold, technocratic machine. It is a democratic sports car — and what could be more American than that? From the moment you press the hidden pad releasing the familiar electronic door latch and slip inside, the C7 presents a friendlier countenance. The driver’s relationship with his surroundings has changed. You’re no longer buried in the car, lost in a sea of undulating fiberglass, surrounded by cheap-looking plastics. Forget all that. Your interaction with the C7 is as straightforward as a handshake. The ergonomics feel right; the switchgear is clear and functional; you can see out of the cabin; and the seats hold you comfortably in place. Yes, the Corvette really does have decent seats — and we haven’t even tried the optional competition buckets. It also has an interior worthy of a $50,000-plus sports car. The materials look and feel good, and the interfaces manage to be modern yet not gimmicky, a concept that more and more carmakers are finding elusive these days.

The interior design may actually be more successful than that of the exterior, which is the new car’s most subjective aspect and its most controversial. The styling is very busy, and the essential Z51 package adds even more in the form of spoilers and brake-cooling ducts. Against that, the new design does move the Corvette’s look forward at last, after three generations of stasis. And based on the reactions of our younger staffers and of the cell-phone-wielding paparazzi, the design also seems to resonate with a new generation. If the Stingray really can capture their imagination, then the Corvette might once again be seen on the coasts, not just in the middle of the country. It is interesting that, in our days of driving and discussions, it emerged that the Corvette’s major rival for this award was the Cadillac CTS. Of all the new cars introduced this year — from brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, and many others — the top two contenders for Automobile of the Year were both from General Motors. General Motors, the bumbling giant, tied up in knots of bureaucracy and legacy costs, recipient of a much-vilified loan from Uncle Sam. Although many will never admit it, today’s GM is putting out some excellent products. We can’t help but marvel at the fact that they were developed under the darkest possible skies. Given the circumstances, we might not have expected a great new Corvette, but that’s exactly what we got. The Corvette has long been a tremendous performance value wrapped in an all-American package. Now, however, with newfound sophistication and user-friendliness, the C7 should melt the barriers that have kept away so many driving enthusiasts. This is not just a car for the Corvette faithful but instead spreads the gospel to a new, wider audience. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a world-class car with no apologies to make, an expression of greatness from a town and a car company that have been dismissed as losers. It is also the Automobile of the Year. Tadge Juechter, chief engineer of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, is Automobile Magazine’s 2014 Man of the Year. Click here to read the full story.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Base Price: $51,995
Powertrain  
Engine: 16-valve OHV V-8
Displacement: 16-valve OHV V-8
Horsepower: 455-460 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 460-465 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
Chassis  
Steering: Electrically assisted
Front Suspension: Control arms, transverse leaf spring
Rear Suspension: Control arms, transverse leaf spring
Brakes: Vented discs
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP
Tire sizes F, R: 245/40R-18 (93Y), 285/35R-19 (99Y)
Measurements  
L x W x H: 177.0 x 73.9 x 48.6 in
Wheelbase: 106.7 in
Track F/R: 62.8/61.6 in
Weight: 3436 lb
Weight dist.: 49/51%
0-60 mph: 3.7 sec
Top speed: 185 mph (est.)
EPA mileage: 17/29 mpg, 16/28 mpg (manual, automatic)

Read more: http://www.automobilemag.com/features/awards/1401_automobile_of_the_year_2014_chevrolet_corvette_stingray/#ixzz2l6IqPN2K

 

…..- by  | Photographs by: A. J. Mueller