2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray and Z51 First Look on Edmunds.com

Revealed! 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7

The Stingray Is Back


Combine the anticipation of every iPhone launch, American Idol finale and the latest mystery meat product from McDonald's into one event and you might have something approaching the debut of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette.

Yes, the seventh-generation (C7) 2014 Chevy Corvette is finally, officially here. It's the first all-new 'Vette since the C5 debuted in 1996.

GM laid bare to us the C7 and all of its guts, and it is impressive. With the C7 Corvette it is clear that GM is bullish about addressing the Corvette's shortcomings while enhancing the attributes that make fanboys out of grown men and women. It's not a new formula, but it works.

All New, yet Familiar
The philosophy of the modern Corvette has not changed. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette retains the fundamental two-place hatchback body type, front engine and rear-mounted transaxle layout, and the presence of a leaf — er, transverse composite — spring suspension.

As far as hardware, everything about the C7 is new, and GM is making a more concerted effort to attract driving enthusiasts to the fold without abandoning the sensibilities of the traditional Corvette owner. To that end, two variants of the C7 will be available when the car reaches dealerships in late summer. The higher-performance variant will be called the Z51. The base C7 will be called Stingray, marking the first appearance of the moniker since the C3. Yet the Stingray badge is about the only thing that's unabashedly retro about the C7.

Both C7 variants are built on a new all-aluminum chassis manufactured right where Corvettes are born in Bowling Green, Kentucky. That's right — unlike the C6 where the lighter aluminum chassis was the exclusive domain of more expensive Z06 and ZR1 variants, all C7 models use the same chassis.

Aluminum Backbone
Weight management was a priority during development. Assembly of the new aluminum chassis starts with hydroformed side sills that are joined to hollow sand castings front and rear, die-cast inner tunnel structures, stamped bulkheads and extruded crash sections at both ends. These segments are variously bonded, bolted and laser- and MIG-welded together to form a structure that is 99 pounds lighter than and 57 percent stiffer in torsion than the steel C6 chassis.

Hollow sand-cast aluminum subframes and front lower control arms also cut weight, and say good-bye to the previous balsa wood-core floor panels — they've been replaced with fiberglass preforms with a synthetic foam core.

Further weight savings are found in the carbon-fiber hood and roof panel — still removable, of course. The front fenders, door skins, rear-quarter panels and deck continue to be made from fiberglass sheet molding compound (SMC). This is still a Corvette, after all.

Despite the mass reductions above, the C7 Corvette will be heavier than the C6 due to its laundry list of new hardware and improved crashworthiness. GM was not specific about curb weight other than acknowledging that, yes, the C7's curb weight will be higher than the current car. Our guess is that the new car will gain about 100 pounds over the C6. Weight distribution is not yet finalized, but we expect a slight rearward move to 49/51 percent front/rear.

Improved Driving Experience
Modern Corvettes are plenty fast, yet lack finesse. 'Vette boys have turned this into a badge of honor, claiming that rough-and-ready-ness is the essence of the Corvette's appeal. Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter appears to disagree, saying that improving the driving dynamics was one of the priorities for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette.

To help address complaints of vague steering, the C7's rack-and-pinion steering system was substantially beefed up and is said to be five times stiffer than that of the outgoing car. It's also made the predictable switch to electric power steering rather than hydraulic assist. Suspension geometry has been revised, and we're told the unusual, confidence-sapping lateral rear end motions endemic to C5s and C6s have been mitigated.

If that's not good enough, there's now a knob on the console that changes the car's personality according to five discrete settings. Numerous chassis and powertrain parameters change with each setting — throttle mapping, steering assist and ratio, stability control, cylinder deactivation aggressiveness, as well as the differential and suspension calibrations of Z51 models (more on these below). And if you don't like the way that GM set them up, you can reprogram the five settings yourself.

When asked which car was the C7's primary ride and handling benchmark, the answer is unequivocal and comes without hesitation: "911." That might help explain why Goodyear has been kicked to the curb for the C7. Michelin Super Sport summer tires are now found on base and Z51 models, and they're the same width as those on the outgoing base C6 — 245/40 in front, 285/35 in rear. The larger-diameter wheels of the Z51 package, of course, wear lower-profile tires front and rear — 245/35 and 285/30, respectively. The brakes, too, are upsized for the Stingray and again for the Z51 model.

Whatever its final weight, the Corvette C7 promises to perform at the top of its class, and then some. Consider this: The Z51-equipped C7 is said to corner at 1.0g and click off faster lap times than today's Grand Sport model. The Z51 will run also sub-4.0-second 0-60 sprints and brake from 60 to zero in 11 fewer feet. So, again, Corvettes go fast and stop quickly.

You've already read all about the C7's direct-injected, 6.2-liter LT1 pushrod V8 power plant, still preliminarily rated at 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Contrary to rumor, there is no dual-clutch automated manual. Instead, the two available transmissions are a conventional six-speed automatic and a new seven-speed Tremec TR6070 manual gearbox. The manual includes a throttle-blipping rev-matching feature for downshifts à la Nissan's SynchroRev Match and receives a new twin-plate clutch and dual mass flywheel.

If you're hoping that the presence of 7th gear signals a move away from the tall-geared character typical of Corvettes, you will be let down. The Stingray has the same ratios in the first six gears as the base C6, and 7th gear is simply a super-ultra-mega-tall overdrive cog to improve its highway fuel economy. Expect the base manual-equipped C7's EPA fuel economy numbers to land somewhere north of the manual C6's 16/26 mpg, but not by much.

The Z51 Is Serious
This is where things get really good. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette's Z51 package includes a host of performance upgrades to improve the car's trackworthiness in a big way. Z51 models get a dry-sump oiling system, slightly shorter gearing that is similar to that found in today's C6 Grand Sport, larger-capacity Bilstein dampers, a rear stabilizer bar (the Stingray has no rear bar) and stiffer leaf springs. Forged wheels are added, which grow an inch over those of the Stingray to 19 inches in front and 20 inches in the rear.

The Z51 package also adds some functional tweaks to the bodywork — a rear deck spoiler reduces lift and prominent air inlets atop each rear fender feed heat exchangers for the transmission and differential. Air to these coolers is internally ducted from the fender vents and then discharged into the low-pressure area at the back of the car through vents adjacent to and beneath the rear taillights. Spotter alert: Those fender vents will be used on autobox-equipped C7s, too.

Z51-equpped models receive a trick differential — an electronically controlled hydraulic clutch pack modulates the rate at which the differential apportions torque across the axle. GM chassis gurus reckon that the so-called eLSD is the single most significant addition to the C7's handling portfolio, and it's not hard to imagine why. For instance, the differential can act like an open diff at turn-in to help reduce initial understeer, and then progressively engage the differential as power is applied in order to manage the car's traction and handling balance.

Additionally, Z51-equipped cars have the option of Magnetic Ride Control, which ought to provide similar handling prowess and a more compliant ride. This option includes the next generation of GM's zoomy electronically variable magnetorheological dampers, as well as — relative to the Z51 — smaller stabilizer bars and revised front leaf springs.

The End of a Legacy of Bad Interiors
Faced with endless whining about the C6's flaccid seats and dime-store interior appointments, designers wiped the slate clean for the C7's cabin. We pored over an interior mockup said to comprise production components and came away impressed. The new cabin looks to be a tremendous improvement.

Bare plastic is gone, replaced with soft-touch surfaces and leather everywhere. Two different seats will be available — a base version and a more aggressive Sport Competition seat. Both appear to be significant upgrades over the outgoing commodes of the C6, but grinding our tuchuses into them will have to wait.

The focal point of the cabin is the driver; the sweep of the dashboard cants its controls accordingly. Faceted styling elements of the exterior are reprised here, notably in the instrument binnacle and HVAC controls. It looks aggressive and purposeful without encroaching into cheesiness. Even the optional carbon-fiber trim pieces are the real deal and lend a convincingly exotic look to the surroundings.

Evolutionary Styling
Dimensionally, the C7 Corvette is a hair larger than the base C6. Overall length increases by 2 inches to 176.9 inches, and width is up by an inch to 73.7 inches. Wheelbase grows an inch to 106.7 inches. Track widths increase roughly an inch at both ends to 61.7 inches in front and 62.9 inches at the rear.

It doesn't look any bigger, though. The evolutionary styling has been tightened and refined, creased and fussed-over. Though you can pick up elements of the GT-R in the rear three-quarter views, the C7 doesn't stray far from the theme established by the Mako Shark II showcar that preceded the C3. The rear contains what will surely be the C7's most controversial styling elements. It's all creases and vents back there, with aggressive trapezoidal taillights similar to those found on the current Camaro and quadruple-barreled tailpipes lined up in a neat row in the center of the rear valance.

What strikes you is how much better integrated the new car is. It looks less slapdash now, like someone actually cared how the disparate components fit together. Some of its design decisions were rooted in practicality. For instance, roughly one-third of the air that enters the grille exits through the vent in the hood in order to reduce front end lift and improve cooling system performance.

Another example is the use of fixed inlets in the fenders and the new rear-quarter windows, both influenced by GM's C6.R ALMS racecar. The race team had punched NACA ducts into the horizontal sections of the C6's rear hatch to keep the racecar's transaxle cool. But every time the rear hatch was opened during service, they had to decouple the ducts and then reattach them before closing it. This hassle led to the cutouts on the sides of the C7's hatch to make room for the fender-mounted vents, which, in turn, led to the C7's fixed rear quarter windows. That's race provenance right there.

Taking on the World
The Corvette C7's extensive battery of new hardware won't come for free. Pricing is still under wraps, though we anticipate just enough of a hike in base price that the 2014 Corvette will be cost-competitive against the Ford Shelby GT500, or around $54,000.

It's a sum that will buy what appears to be an awful lot of car. If GM can deliver on the considerable potential shown by this early look at the 2014 Chevy Corvette, there will be some sleepless nights in Germany... and Italy, Japan and elsewhere in Michigan.



  • bonzjr bonzjr Posts:

    1979-1982 Datsun 280ZX!! Welcome back! You look a little pointier but otherwise intact.

  • side_wayz side_wayz Posts:

    This thing is so sexy. The leaked pictures just didn't do this car justice. I'm gonna hang back for the Z06 though, but wow. My only issue is with the interior. Yeah it's definitely a step up from the Corvette interiors of old, but it has a high-class Honda look to it. I think the Viper still gets my vote on the better interior. Then again, these things have a way of looking significantly better in person. So we'll see. Overall, I like this a lot! I can finally look at American made sports cars with pride again.

  • drivinrt drivinrt Posts:

    I just watched the reveal. The C7 is the BEST looking Corvette I have ever seen! And I'm glad Chevy brought back the name STINGRAY!

  • zr1man zr1man Posts:

    I am here in Detroit and just saw the new C7 Corvette Stingray and it is magnificent! It worth the wait. I do not know yet if there will be a ZR1 for 2014 yet. I am trying to find out. Will let you know. I may trade my 09 C6 for the 2014 C7. I will hold on to my 2010 ZR1 if there is no ZR1 for 2014.

  • pasuriole pasuriole Posts:

    What is with the back end? This is suppose to be a Corvette, not a Camaro.

  • vizcarmb vizcarmb Posts:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Electronic parking brake.

  • vtirocz vtirocz Posts:

    Jason, What are the gear ratios on the manual? I'm surprised 1-6 are identical. What's 7th? Also, is it still using a 3.42:1 rear gear ratio? Thanks.

  • bestjinjo bestjinjo Posts:

    Much better high resolution pictures of the reveal on Autoblog: http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2014-chevrolet-corvette-live-reveal/full/ Overall, I like most of the car, except the Camaro rear lights, that awkward looking rear spoiler. The interior seats are look stellar and the interior is much improved, although still not up to par with Viper or Porsche 911 standards. Of course that's expected since the Vette costs substantially less than either of those. If you look at the Autoblog interior shots, you can tell they focused more on the interior design than interior quality. The plastics, buttons and center console still look cheap: http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2014-chevrolet-corvette-live-reveal/full/#photo-5566084 http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2014-chevrolet-corvette-live-reveal/full/#photo-5566088 http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2014-chevrolet-corvette-live-reveal/full/#photo-5566090 The Competition Seat Option is a major improvement over the existing seats: http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2014-chevrolet-corvette-live-reveal/full/#photo-5566086 Overall I think the car looks much better in those photos than in the renders up to the reveal. Although I can see some Ferrari 599 / Nissan GT-R lines in it.

  • gladiator55 gladiator55 Posts:

    I have a BMW 530 2002 and was not disgusted when saw the 2004 model. Now I also have a Vette 2011 and prefer the soft flowing curves of my C6, its round back lights and rounded canopy style rear window. I dislike the lack of fog lights on the front bumper, the Camaro radio-climate controls, the priority given to the tach (imitating Porsche) among the gauges and the Camaro-Malibu rear lights. I hope the seats are better, the glove compartment door is sturdier, it has bluetooth (standard), up/down one touch window button, telescoping steering (standard), and protected front end seats tracks. Buying a new model with cylinder deactivation, a non GM automatic transmission, and built by workers getting familiar with new body parts, is not a good idea. Probably I'm getting old, and already exposed to the digital gauges of the 1980's, the Olds Aurora dashboard curves, and the edgy lines of the 1970's.

  • jkavanagh jkavanagh Posts:

    @vtirocz, I graphed the gearing of the Stingray and Z51. It's buried deep in the photo gallery at the top of this article -- see photo #49.

  • mike_honcho mike_honcho Posts:

    A comment

  • jkavanagh jkavanagh Posts:

    Let's try that again. For the gearing, see this: http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/chevrolet/corvette/2014/fe/2014_chevrolet_corvette_ill_fe_110131_717.jpg

  • jkavanagh jkavanagh Posts:

    http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/chevrolet/corvette/2014/fe/2014_chevrolet_corvette_ill_fe_110131_717.jpg Argh, try the link above.

  • dddonmaui dddonmaui Posts:

    Exterior details choppy and busy - sorely lacks the smooth flow of SRT or Italian designs...back end is a real mess...Want to see one in person..disappointed...

  • A new low mark in GM horrible designs. Looks like it was drawn by 12 year old. Carbon fiber interior? Jesus GM is staffed by morons.

  • jmaroun jmaroun Posts:

    I am relieaved that the car look so good since the covered spyshots looked so horrendous. Very anxious to hear and experience how it drives soon!!

  • dmpete dmpete Posts:

    This is what we waited months and months for? Really? Is it April 1st. I like the lines of the C6 much better, the 7 doesn't flow at all, the interior is a step up, but hell a bench seat was a step up from a horse and buggy. The carbon fiber body is a nice touch, it's a shame that they couldn't have done more with the overall styling. As a whole I think GM needs some fresh blood in their engineering and design divisions. They even took Nissan's rev-match. I don't think they had 1 all new idea for this NEW car, they just scabbed off of other R&D from other manufacturers. Overall a poor showing.

  • yjbeach96 yjbeach96 Posts:

    Not too bad. Front end off the Ferrari.

  • frank908 frank908 Posts:

    This is sad, only 18 comments since last night and Autoblog has around 700 for the new Corvette. I was on-board with this new IL-to-Edmunds transition, but it appears the party's over here.

  • mnorm1_ mnorm1_ Posts:

    Mosly good. The rear looks to much like a Camaro (at least in pictures).

  • bonzjr bonzjr Posts:

    Funny how all of the critical comments have thumbs down marks. Does ZR1 man have like 10 different log-ons? I stick by my 280ZX comment. ;-) Sorry but this design is derivative and heavily 'foreign' looking. I see some Japanese (old school Datsun & new school Nissan), some Italian (new school Ferrari) and a touch of Brit (Aston Martin) -- normally those are good things but not for an American icon. There's also lots of overwrought grille/vent work (functional though it may be it's way too overdone in terms of style) and an unfinished -- and quite childish -- back end. Frankly, it looks like they were trying too hard. Design aside, I'm impressed with the engineering underneath. I’m a DOHC/32V guy, but GM has done a great job with the pushrod small-block V8. It's still relevant and appropriate here. And I applaud the offering of a true manual transmission -- with 7 forward gears to boot! I'll even give the interior good marks. I still see some 'obvious GM switchgear' but I can live with it since it's much improved over past applications of GM cockpit controls. Besides, this car will start in the $50k range so l have to be fair on how bespoke I expect something to be. The leather and stitching everywhere is nice (and it doesn’t look like an afterthought) and the seats and overall ergonomics look fantastic. I like the configurable gauges too. A solid 'A' on the engineering; 'C-' on the styling. The problem is that with the Corvette style actually matters. I bet it’s a blast to drive though.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Carbon fiber interior is dated and tacky. If I blur my vision and look at the overall proportions, this is a gorgeous car! The fussy details get in the way. At least they are claimed to be functional, but I hope a future refresh can simplify and show off this excellent car. I can't wait to read how it drives!

  • shift17 shift17 Posts:

    This definitely looks like the best vette I've ever seen. I like how it’s got a lot more curves then the C6 and the overall looks in my opinion are better. I also like how they've stuck with the manual transmission, it seems like more and more great sports cars are losing the manual transmission these days. That plus the 450 hp engine this is definitely a car I would seriously consider buying, GREAT JOB CHEVY!

  • sturgl sturgl Posts:

    Purty. Well done, GM. The Camero-esque rear looks a little odd to me - but man, that's a beautiful car. Kirk Bennion et al should be proud. Here's to it performing as well as it looks!

  • 330i_zhp 330i_zhp Posts:

    Why do so many people get hung up on the past? It's not so bad on edmunds, but many people have complained about the taillights not being round and copying the looks of Ferrari, etc. Why does a car need to stay the same? While I appreciate keeping certain elements (you can still tell it's a Corvette by the overall shape), changing the taillights to another shape or using syling queues from other cars is part of evolution. I'm not a huge GM guy, but I think this car looks amazing. Can't wait to see how it performs.

  • I want to love this but just as the trucks where's the ingenuity at these days in GM?? No the seven speed CLUTCH isn't cool that's seven up and seven down seven up and seven down and ........................................................................................................................... Kinda dig the interior not the digital tach hated in the 80's hate it today. Rev match is cool but already been done (370Z). Front looks good like the idea they had for the air flow around the car but wonder if it's going to be a wind whistling nightmare.

  • trav187 trav187 Posts:

    Meh, I like everything but the back, they killed it by making the Camaro and Vette the same, I don't know what they were thinking... Funny how they used a lot of the GTR design lines.. Hopefully the interior is better, I hate the current one. Besides that, I'm anxious to see the numbers on it.

  • mr_kq mr_kq Posts:

    The car looks great, but how did they gain weight with all that alluminum and carbon fiber? That's a little bit dissappointing considering how well they controlled weight in the C6.

  • anthony512 anthony512 Posts:

    Love this car. GM kept it fun and exciting.

  • rryckoff rryckoff Posts:

    It's not quite as ugly as the Aztek -- but, it's close.... Re. the exterior styling: It is too busy, choppy w/unnecessary bulges and overall looks like a forced and gimmicky re-do of the previous version. And I agree w/other comments the rear end is terrible and looks like a Camaro. Real smart on a car that costs approx. $30,000 more than a Camaro (duh!). For the Corvette, they couldn't even do a ground-up re-design? This is the best Chevrolet/GM can do??? They also produced a semi-video arcade dash (instrumentation) that I thought we got rid of after the 80's.... And the 'partial' tach is terrible w/the Mercedes (old, now) style of computer/data/BS taking up the middle of it. It's ruined, as far as I'm concerned. I would have loved to have seen a brilliant design here (One of my favorite all time cars that I've owned was a 1964 Sting Ray Coupe). This is a shame.

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