The C7 Chevrolet Corvette is the American tourist in Paris—loud, rude, obtuse, yet civilized enough to never be kicked out. Regulars always dart sideways glances at the American menace, noting its capability while generally dismissing it as anything substantial.
The 2014 Corvette Stingray has set to change that notion.
Marred by an interior that one would have called cheap in any decade, the C7 Corvette gets the interior it has always deserved. New sport-style seats sit between widened frame rails, while interior trimmings receive stitched leather love, and other niceties.
The last-gen C6 Corvette languished behind because of its lackluster black swathe of plastic interior. The German automakers never took the Corvette as a serious threat to their status as the premiere sports car makers of the world. No matter how well the Corvette drove or out performed the German’s it was always smirked at as juvenile.
However, the Corvette checks all the necessary boxes with the C7 to be a real competitor.
The new LT1 6.2-liter V-8 engine is mostly a carryover of the 2013 LS3, though heavily updated. The engine produces a sporty 460 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed manual transmission is standard, with a six-speed paddle-shifted automatic on the option’s list. An eight-speed automatic transmission should find its way into the Corvette soon.
Its power figures are not astronomical—nothing new, revolutionary, or even much better then the outgoing base C6. Where the new corvette astounds is breaking a sacred threshold only a few attainable cars have crossed—the 4.0 second barrier.
It can be argued that a 0-60 in 4.0 seconds is pedestrian, and today quite common amongst sports cars and high end luxury vehicles, though none can do it as cheaply as the Corvette. Priced at an understandable $51,995, where else can you get a car that rockets the 0-60 in 3.8 seconds?
Well, you can’t—not new anyways. And probably not firing on all cylinders either.
With the right options ticked, the Corvette becomes a monster of a car ready to eat asphalt, the track, and any thing else that really gets in its way. It’s been engineered for perfection right from the get go that can only mean the plethora of versions to come will only be better. That’s a good thing for consumers and bad for the competition.
The Corvette’s competition is, to say the least, a thin herd. The Porsche 911 Carrera comes to mind. But it’s $30,000 more expensive, not to mention slower.
This is where the Corvette becomes sort of a misfit.
It’s performance puts it in a class that outstrips its price. It’s price puts it against cars that have no chance of competing on the track.
So why is all of this important?
The Corvette and media splash it has made is not good for Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Jaguar, and any other particular company that builds two-seat sports cars.
It’s important to GM as its new flagship. The Corvette has been GM’s test bed for numerous new technologies and equipment long before they trickle down to more pedestrian GM products.
And it’s important to the consumer. The Corvette is bringing about the democratization of supercardom to the masses. No, it’s no Ferrari. And doesn’t have the wicked styling of a Lamborghini. Or the sexiness of an Aston Martin. What it does have is an unique blend of all three of those car companies wrapped in a bright package that screams eat me!