2014 Corvette: All Sting, All Good
As an object, this car is either going to look refreshing or repulsive to you. You are either going to see in as a total revelation, or a revolting, brash newcomer. Well, you get the idea. Fortunately, since we’re secretly 10-year olds masquerading as adults, it was love as first sight. Big on pantomime, small on cabin space, it just looks like the perfect Sunday drive.
If you’re the sort of person who says the design is wrong, let me ask you this simple question: which other modern Corvette looked as good? Was it the C4, with its simple lines that look like they were drawn with a pencil on napkin and wheels that look like bottle caps? Or the C5 and C6 that look like they are made out of recycled bottles? No, the Stingray is the true fighter, the MMA face-smasher who’s asking for a fight with the undisputed champions of the sportscar world.
We mentioned design, and what a sexy design that is. The C6 has been in production for nine very long years. GM would have liked to have it built a few years earlier, but because of the bankruptcy, it couldn’t. However, this is no bad thing, because it allowed the “new” General Motors to learn how to spell slang words, like “carbon fiber”, “aluminum”, “touch screen” and “digital”. It’s the poster child for the Play Station generation.
General Motors has alway been eager to prove it can make the excellent performance cars. The ZR1 is still setting lap records, the Camaro ZL1 has people scratching their heads, but I think the closest model in terms of ambition to the Stingray is the Cadillac CTS-V. Its supercharged 6.2-liter V8, Brembo brakes and 0 to 60 times of 4.6 seconds were meant to be features that would top other high-performance, luxury sedans, such as the BMW M5 or Mercedes E63 AMG. Bob Lutz threw down the gauntlet, and the Germans (supposedly) chickened out.
The 2014 Corvette is a little bit like that as well. I can almost imagine the engineers saying “boy, I hope people compare what we did here with this and that sportscar.” What do I mean? Well, it’s got an aluminum frame, like an Audi R8, a seven-speed manual, like a Porsche 911, a rev-matching system, like the Nissan 370Z, and cylinder deactivation (Active Fuel Management), just like a Mercedes SLK 55 AMG.
Notice what I did there? Those are all potential opponents the Vette is playfully challenging to come out and play. The street thug has learned kick boxing and jujitsu, honed its natural fighting instincts and tock a crash corse in computer engineering just to be safe.
They want this car to be the most famous Corvette ever! I don’t think it’s been designed solely for the US. Because of how the Corvette is currently built and sold, I can’t be sure about this yet. But why else would they put cylinder deactivation and improve the visible build quality so much? Only to sell it the American track day addict? I don’t think so!
At an estimated $53,000 (€40,000 in today’s money), it could be the performance bargain of the century. It could be just the car a Russian oligarch or youngster rich kid from the Emirates wants. And don’t get me started about the Chinese, they’ll buy anything ‘Merican’.
The new Corvette’s sting could be the first weapon in GM’s arsenal. Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, has a strong supporter of this project, and he recently said that he’s interested in a rival for the Toyota GT 86/Scion FR-S. The Vette could be a stepping stone for a better Chevrolet that doesn’t cut quite so many corners.
The only way to find out is to wait until the Stingray comes to the surface and let its poke us with its stinger.