2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Z51 Long-Term Road Test: Introduction
October 7, 2013
The scheming started in mid-January, just before the official reveal of the seventh-generation 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. We'd seen illustrations of what the new Corvette could look like; we even knew what its new direct-injection small-block was bringing to the table. We knew we wanted one for our long-term test fleet.
We just didn't know when it would be on sale or who we had to bribe to make it happen.
Now, 10 months later, our fevered dreams have become a reality as a 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Z51 has joined our long-term test fleet.
We bought it. It's ours. And for the next 12 months we're going to drive the tires off of it to see if the Corvette is finally the well-rounded, real-deal performance car we've always wanted it to be.
What We Bought
Throughout its history, the Chevy Corvette has been a performance bargain, and that formula doesn't change for the 2014 C7 Stingray. For only $51,000 (plus $995 for destination/delivery), you get a sports car with an aluminum frame, a carbon-fiber hood and an all-new 455-horsepower 6.2-liter small-block V8 that twists out 460 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed manual transmission is standard, as are a limited-slip differential, an 8-inch color touchscreen with Chevy MyLink, Bluetooth phone and audio, removable carbon-fiber roof panel, keyless entry/start and more.
All Corvettes also come with free scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles. We don't plan to keep the car for more than our normal year, but feel fairly confident that we're going to obliterate that 24,000-mile ceiling.
And while that's a great value, there were certain options we were willing to pay for.
First up is the Z51 Performance package. We considered it a must-have. After all, the package includes 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rear wheels, larger slotted brake rotors, a dry-sump oil pan, an excellent electronic differential, sportier gear ratios (take that, fuel economy), upgraded suspension and an aero package. It also opens the door to add the Magnetic Ride Control with PTM.
That's right. In order to get the $1,795 Magnetic Ride Control option with its hyper high-tech Performance Traction Management system, you've got to up the price of your Corvette to $53,800. And then add the suspension. We've spent a considerable amount of time with the C7 Corvette at this point and feel that this option is worth every penny for anyone who plans to really hustle their 'Vette.
On top of that, we added some niceties just to keep us happy. The 2LT package runs $4,210 and includes power bolsters and lumbar for the seats, a color-matched console, a bunch of straps and nets for the cargo area, power heated rearview mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated and ventilated seats, a Bose stereo with 10 speakers and a color head-up display.
From there we piled on a number of options we either thought were cool or worthy of long-term testing. These include the slick dual-mode exhaust ($1,195) that boosts power to 460 and torque to 465, Chevy's MyLink navigation system ($795), black-painted wheels ($495), microfiber seat inserts ($395) and the California-mandatory $15 front license plate bracket. We also paid $990 for Museum Delivery in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which included a personalized plaque.
The last option was the $495 Lime Rock Green Metallic paint. We took an office-wide vote and in an overwhelming moment of sanity, green trumped the predictable and boring colors everyone else will get.
After all of this, our 2014 Chevy Corvette Z51 had a sticker price of $65,180. Which is exactly what we paid for it.
Although the C7 frenzy will eventually cool, the new Corvette is a hot proposition right now. There are a lot of buyers out there willing to pay way over sticker price to get their hands on one, and of course there are Chevy dealers willing to let them. We've already heard about some cars selling for over $100,000. To avoid that party we worked closely with our contacts at GM and Bunnin Chevrolet in Culver City and negotiated a deal. We paid exactly MSRP. Hey, sometimes you've gotta pull some strings.
With taxes and fees we handed over a check for $71,664.40.
Why We Bought It
We bought our brand-new 2014 Chevy Corvette Z51 for the same reason everyone else does: we really, really wanted it.
Now celebrating its 61st year, the Chevy Corvette is an icon that transcends the bounds of simple automotive enthusiasm. It's a legend, and Chevy had the weight of the world on its shoulders when it released the seventh generation of America's supercar.
The C6 was an incredibly fun car, especially in Z06 and ZR1 trims, but there was a ton of room for improvement. In its later years, the C6 got magnetic ride control, PTM and some new seats. It wasn't enough. The interior was still at the bottom of the sports car pile and the seats didn't offer nearly enough support or comfort.
Like all Corvettes, our Lime Rock Green 2014 Corvette Stingray began its life at the Bowling Green, Kentucky, factory, and that's where our Long-Term Road Test begins, too. Two of our guys picked it up last week and trekked 2,000 miles back to L.A. For the full rundown on the Corvette's first road trip and continuous updates over the next 12 months, follow our Long-Term Road Test page. Love the Corvette or hate it, this year's going to be good.
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.