Amid a constellation of glowing cell phone screens, this evening Chevrolet finally unveiled the long-awaited 2014 C7 Corvette. Broadcast live on the web, the reveal finally put an end to months of rumors about the car, and kicked off what’s certain to be months of debate over the styling of the new generation of America’s Sports Car.
What’s not up for debate, however, are some serious updates to the C6’s performance standard. Per Corvette engineering chief Tadge Juechter, even early prototypes of the base C7 Corvette were beating C6 Grand Sport lap times. The base car now receives an aluminum frame that’s 57% stiffer than the previous generation while weighing just shy of 100 pounds less.
The base model also gets carbon fiber hood and roof panels for reduced weight, and the hood and quarter panels feature functional extractor vents. Under the hood, the new Gen V LT1 produces an estimated 450 horsepower and 450 pound feet of torque, and GM is projecting fuel economy in the 26 MPG range.
From the driver’s seat, the steering system from fingertip to contact patch is said to be 5 times stiffer for greater precision. The seven speed manual transmission has an “active rev match” system to automatically anticipate downshifts at the first touch of the lever and match engine revs seamlessly to the selected ratio for faster shifts and greater vehicle stability.
Of course, the most obvious aspect of the new Corvette, proudly dubbed with the historic “Stingray” moniker, is its styling, described as a “more international” design. The rear aspect of the car features the “square” taillight design widely bemoaned on the web, and sharper lines than the previous two generations along the fenders both front and rear.