2014 Chevrolet Corvette: Seven Things You Don't Know About the C7 on Edmunds.com
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2014 Chevrolet Corvette: Seven Things You Don't Know About the C7

Talking Shop With Those in the Know


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It is amid America's worst urban decay, outside the rapidly deteriorating Packard plant on the east side of Detroit, that the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7's details become clear. It's here, juxtaposed against the effects of time, failure and neglect that the Stingray — possibly the greatest sign of hope the city has seen in years — begins to truly shine.

After a day spent mining the C7's engineering team for details, all those tidbits (scoops, vents, material selections and tuning choices) manifest profoundly in this glorious, blue machine. Those fine points, the ones that make or break the car, the little things that matter the most when driving it hard or just driving it home, seep out into the pothole-ridden streets in front of us.

In no particular order, here are the seven best:

One Target
According to Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer, the Corvette development team bought only a single car against which to benchmark the C7 Corvette: some bizarre, rear-engine German machine. GM's 911 Carrera S is fitted with a PDK transmission and carried a price tag of about $120,000, nearly twice that of a Corvette. Juechter begrudgingly admits it's a nice car, that it performs and that it's efficient, but isn't shy about pointing out his car's 60-horsepower advantage and near-equal weight. Never mind the price.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette

Integrated Tire Temperature/Chassis Controls
Chevy uses the tire temperature data available through the C7's tire pressure sensors to more carefully control its ABS and electronic differential. Because the pressure sensors don't measure tire temperature directly (they actually measure the temperature of the TPMS sensor's microprocessor), it's not a perfect science, but it is one that data modeling can largely overcome. And it's one more piece of information that can be utilized to enhance the driving experience.

Tire temps are split into three categories: cold (below 45 degrees), warm (45-115 degrees) and hot (above 115 degrees). In "cold" mode ABS intervenes sooner and more progressively, while the differential is more aggressive to limit inside wheelspin. As temps increase, ABS control intervenes later and becomes more lenient, while differential locking ramps up more slowly.

Faster Than a Grand Sport
Chevy announced weeks ago that the Corvette C7's official lap time at the Virginia International Raceway Grand Course is 2:51.8. What Chevy didn't tell you is that the outgoing C6 Grand Sport model (fitted with larger 275mm front and 325mm rear rubber and weighing 60 or 70 pounds less) is slower around the same track.

Its lap time was in the 2-minute, 54-second range at VIR. The current Z06 runs a 2:49.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette

Booms When You Want Them, Silence When You Don't
Every 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 is fitted with active noise cancellation that utilizes the car's audio system to diminish unwanted road and tire noise. A 14-liter bass enclosure built into the car's rear bulkhead enhances the booms you want and cancels the ones you don't. The C7's optional 10-speaker Bose audio system comes with two subwoofers.

"No Corvette has ever boomed like this one," says Juechter. Seriously. He really said that.

PTM Is Faster Than You
Alex MacDonald is the chassis control engineer who calibrated the C7's Performance Traction Management system. After hundreds of laps around the Milford Road Course (also known as the Lutz ring) at GM's Milford Proving Ground, he's quicker using PTM 5 (the most aggressive mode) than he is with the system fully defeated.

Even Jim Mero, the ride/handling performance engineer responsible for all of the Corvette's official lap times, says the system is virtually unbeatable. Mero used PTM in the C6 ZR1 to set that car's 7-minute, 19-second lap time at the Nurburgring and admits he hasn't tried to beat PTM on the Lutz ring, but that it would be difficult.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette

According to MacDonald he knows he's got the calibration perfect — and he's got the data to back this up — when Mero complains that it's just barely slowing him down. "That's where the calibration needs to be for the best corner exit speed," says MacDonald.

24-Hour Durability Test
Before the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 goes to production, it must pass a 24-hour durability test in which the vehicle performance integration team changes only the tires and brakes. Performed on the Lutz Ring at GM's Milford Proving Ground, the test is to prove the thermal stability of the car's subsystems.

Engine coolant and oil temps as well as transmission fluid and differential fluid are monitored to be certain they stay within a life-permitting range. "This is basically a test of the car's thermal stability," says MacDonald. The test is run over the course of six days using four tanks of fuel per day, partly because the heat cycling is harder on equipment than doing it over 24 consecutive hours. Each tank, when the car is driven at 10/10ths, is consumed in an hour.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP
Ask Jim Mero what the best part of a Z51 Stingray is and he says it's the tires. According to Michelin North America's Lee Willard, lead development engineer for the new Corvette tire, the Pilot Super Sport ZP is a hybrid tire that utilizes technologies from both the Pilot Super Sport line of ultrahigh-performance tires and the Pilot Sport Cup DOT race tire currently optional on C6 Corvettes.

Says Mero: "The tire has high limits but also lots of latitude." And by latitude Mero means the tire (at freezing or below air temps) only needs one lap to reach its full ability on a dry track. And thanks to dual compounds and asymmetric sidewalls, it outperforms the outgoing standard-fitment tire on the Corvette in every area, including wear.

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Comments

  • marcos9 marcos9 Posts:

    Detroit is a glimpse of America's future. That said, the C7 is looking nice and is one of the few things still made in the USA. Sad, isn't it? Selecting the 911 Carrera S as a benchmark was a smart decision.

  • olyeller_ olyeller_ Posts:

    "GM's 911 Carrera S is fitted with a PDK transmission".........que'?

  • smudge12 smudge12 Posts:

    @olyeller It's meant to show GM owns the vehicle, not that it was manufactured by them. Like if you bought a Civic, we'd say "olyeller's Civic..." I wish I could afford the C7. Such an awesome car...truly America's sports car.

  • wdrauch wdrauch Posts:

    I wouldn't consider it accurate to say the Packard plant is "rapidly" deteriorating since it has been closed and largely vacant since the 1950's ..... but anyway, it is in a dangerous state of deterioration. I just saw a black C7 with the saddle interior on the freeway on the way to work this morning and it looked awesome! It didn't have manufacturer plates, so is the C7 now for sale to the public? Also, i saw another one last week with manufacturer plates that was this same beautiful blue color .... love it!

  • As much as I like the C7 how the hell is it a great hope for Detroit? its built in Kentucky and even with the lower price than the 911 only well to do people are going to be able to afford it. It does not change the average persons life one bit.

  • " It does not change the average persons life one bit." ---- It makes me smile and I think I'm average.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    It's becoming a great rivalry between Corvette and 911, two cars I most admire!

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    I'm a hardcore Porschephile that respects Corvette but normally doesn't give it a second look. However, other than the odd tail lamp treatment, I really like what I see. I can't wait to drive one. Competition only improves the breed and makes for better choices for all of us.

  • The C7 makes me smile too but to say "possibly the greatest sign of hope the city has seen in years" ? I wonder if who ever wrote the article also owns a "life is good" T-shirt with the cronic employment problems this country faces.

  • lions208487 lions208487 Posts:

    I would take the Vette hands down for its performance for the price. The Porsche still has a vastly better interior, and better transmission.

  • mptlptr mptlptr Posts:

    One seemingly little thing that GM could do to vastly improve the image of the Corvette is to dump the option of chrome wheels. Unfortunately, this will likely never happen since the typical Corvette buyer is gladly paying a whopping $2000 to make their wheels look tacky and heavier and GM is laughing all the way to the bank. Something like 70% of C6s were equipped with chrome wheels -- what a travesty.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    I don't see chrome wheels in the photos, thank goodness, so why bother to remind us they exist? At least Corvette owners have a reputation for being good-natured real people who've earned their toy. I will gladly overlook bad taste, because personality goes a long way!

  • wdrauch wdrauch Posts:

    rasguetano1, how is "chronic employment" a "problem"? Sounds like a problem I'd like to have!

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    I think the first owners will get a lot of attention. eventually when the car is more commonly seen that will wane. I know a lot of people dislike the Vette because it is "common", but if it is, it is because it is more affordable than the more luxurious 911s and exotics. I'm a value kind of guy, and the C7 is very appealing (I agree with the comment about the ugly tail lights, though).

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    Oh, unless it is grabbing people into the showrooms as a halo car for those that will buy Malibus and Cruzes, I don't see how it will save Detroit. It certainly is going to help keep Bowling Green in the green, though.

  • empoweredbc empoweredbc Posts:

    The Porsche looks $60k more expensive, inside and out. You get what you pay for! The Vette looks downright childish in design and style.

  • farvy_ farvy_ Posts:

    I live about 7 miles north of GM's Tech Center here in Metro Detroit. I drive past it on Mound Road every day on my way to work. Saw two C7's with manufacturer's plates earlier this week around 5:30am on my way to work. Looks sharp!

  • unionbuster unionbuster Posts:

    I do hope that GM offers a Chapter 9 Commemorative Edition.

  • As someone who currently owns a Porsche (Cayenne Turbo), I disagree with the comment that the 911 looks $60K better than the C7. Does the 911 look better? This is subjective, but I think it does. Does the 911 user better materials and is engineered a little tighter? I can't say without having sat in and drive both vehicles back to back, but having driven both previous gen models, I would say that the 911 is a noticeably nicer. Altogether, the 911 is nicer in many ways but not $60K nicer. In addition, the 911 is going to cost a lot more to maintain, repair and own. The 911 might be consider a bargain compared to a Ferrari, but seems overpriced compared to a Corvette or GTR. For the price of a 911 Carrera S, one can get the C7 and a Cadillac CTS-V.

  • kolyan2k kolyan2k Posts:

    @ empoweredbc pretty stupid comment as you can see by number of dislikes :)

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