Chevrolet gave birth to the first Corvette back in 1953. It was a convertible. Now, we have the seventh generation 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. The C1 was a fiberglass-bodied sports car created for the open-air crowd. Well, it was at least sporty looking for its time. However, in today’s sports car arena, it would probably be laughed at – not for it’s styling mind you, but for its performance potential or lack thereof. That first example of the Corvette was powered by an inline Stovebolt “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine that mated to a cast-iron, three-speed Powerglide (not-so lovingly dubbed ‘Powerslide’) automatic transmission that metered the driving force to the rear wheels. It was a two-seat roadster with a cloth convertible top and an optional, removable hardtop that came later. The bow-tie team has continued to evolve the Corvette into a true sports car to be reckoned with. The first Stingray appeared as a 1963 model. The latest iteration, or seventh generation C7 version – the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible and Coupe are living proof of the iconic car’s magical evolution.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2014 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible||$58,800||$73,275||460 / 465|
|EPA Rating MPG||As Tested MPG|
|Rating: BUY IT!||17 / 29|
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is also a two-seater, but may be ordered as either a convertible, or as a coupe with a targa-type top. The convertible top is an electrically powered, fully automatic affair that operates in seconds at speeds up to 30 mph in a mere 18 seconds, and it’s also operable via the keyless access remote. The Stingray Coupe is base priced at $51,995. including the $995. Destination and handling charge, and the Stingray Convertible starts at $56,995. Both models share a nearly identical curb weight (the convertible tips the scales at 64 pounds more) as well as identical chassis tuning and performance technologies. Construction materials consist of the aluminum frame, a carbon fiber hood, removable roof panel in the case of the Stingray Coupe, composite fenders doors and rear quarter panels, and carbon-nano composite underbody panels. All these high-tech materials contribute to the car’s optimal, nearly 50/50 weight distribution (48 front/52 rear).
Nestled in an all-new aluminum frame that weighs less, and is stronger than the previous steel frame, is the most powerful and most efficient standard engine to be found in a Corvette to date. It is a 6.2-liter LT, OHV, 16-valve, pushrod V8 with Direct fuel Injection that resides up front in a longitudinal orientation and produces 460 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, while developing 465 pound feet of torque at 4,600 rpm with the available performance exhaust. The engine meters its driving force to the rear wheels through either a new 7-speed manual gearbox, with Active Rev Match technology via steering wheel mounted paddles, or a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual gear changes. It is rated as the most efficient sports car on the market with an EPA estimated 17-mpg city and 29-mpg highway. No other car offers more than 455 horsepower and greater than 29 mpg on the highway. Despite the efficient fuel economy, the new Corvette Stingray is capable of rocketing from 0-60 mph in a mere 3.9 seconds and of reaching a top seed of 185 mph.
The all-new Corvette Stingray shares only two parts with the previous-generation Corvette. It incorporates the all-new frame structure and chassis, a new powertrain and supporting technologies, as well as completely new exterior and interior designs. The sculpted exterior features advanced high-intensity discharge and light-emitting diode lighting and racing-proven aerodynamics that balance low drag for efficiency and performance elements for improved stability and track capability. On the subject of Track, there’s an available Z51 Performance Package that includes an electronic limited-slip differential; dry-sump oiling system; integral brake, differential and transmission cooling; along with specific wheels, tires, brakes and a unique aero package that improves high-speed stability.
At the heart of the Corvette Stingray’s driver-focused technologies is a cockpit-mounted Driver Mode Selector, that allows drivers to optimize the car to suit their driving preference and road conditions through a choice of five settings: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track, which ultimately tailors 12 vehicle attributes. The Driver Mode Selector is an easy to use rotary knob near the shifter. The Tour mode is the default setting for everyday driving; Weather mode is designed primarily for added confidence while driving in inclement or slippery scenarios; Eco mode is for achieving optimal fuel economy; Sport mode facilitates spirited road driving, and the Track mode is obviously for track use. The all-new Corvette Stingray is actually three cars in one, providing the comfort and functionality of a long-distance GT car, the connectedness and infotainment of a daily driver, and the acceleration, grip and braking of a capable track car (according to Harlan Charles, Corvette product manager). “With the Driver Mode Selector, we wanted to give drivers an easy way to tailor virtually every aspect of the car to fit their driving environment. The result is a more rewarding, more confident experience, whether you’re commuting in a downpour or charging through the corkscrew at Laguna Seca.”
The twelve performance parameters that are adjusted with each mode selection include: Gauge cluster configuration: with the Tour, Eco and Weather modes featuring displays for trip data, audio and navigation. The Sport mode shows classic, easy-to-read sports car gauges. The Track mode configuration shows a gauge design based on the Corvette Racing C6.R race car display with a lap timer; ETC (Electronic Throttle Control): Adjusts the throttle input curve for the selected mode for improved responsiveness; Paddle-shift automatic transmission that adjusts shift comfort and shift points; Active Fuel Management: in normal mode, the LT1 engine uses V-8 power; in Eco mode the engine is able to operate in V-4 mode to improve fuel economy until aggressive acceleration is called for; Exhaust (active exhaust system) adjusts the timing of the electronically controlled exhaust valves to enhance audible feedback from the V-8 depending on the drive mode; Electronic limited-slip differential (Z51) adjusts the rate at which the limited slip engages, balancing between steering response and stability in different driving conditions, such as more aggressive performance in Sport and Track modes; Steering Assist effort is adjusted in the modes to provide the driver with the correct steering feel for the driving condition; Magnetic Ride Control adjusts shock damping based on road conditions, from optimized comfort to performance driving; Launch control is available in Track mode for manual and automatic transmissions, providing maximum off-the-line acceleration; Active handling (StabiliTrak stability control) provides a “competitive” setting, available in Track mode that’s more suited for on-track conditions.
It can also be disabled, giving the driver complete control; Traction control, where Weather mode tailors traction control and engine torque for driving in inclement conditions; Performance Traction Management, available in Track mode offering five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving.
The all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible is visually provocative and stimulating. With styling that is not only elegant, but functional as well. The design goal was to make a bold statement, embracing the car’s advanced technology, while enhancing its overall performance from the wind tunnel to the track. It breaks new ground, while remaining true to elements that define a Corvette as a Corvette. No single detail was repeated from previous generations, and the new Corvette Stingray includes the distinctive profile defined by a long dash-to-axle ratio – a low, lean proportion that’s emphasized even more on the convertible. The greenhouse suggests the canopy of a fighter jet with dual-element taillamps. Designers built on this foundation, a form vocabulary from two dissimilar sources: aerospace and nature. The all-new, dual-element taillamps represent the greatest departure from tradition and are among the car’s most dramatic elements. The three-dimensional, sculpted lenses house innovative indirect LED lighting. The state-of-the-art lighting uses hidden LED lamps that cast their light up from the bottom of the housing into a reverse reflector, creating an even glow. LED lamps are also used for the white backup lamps. The taillamps integrate functional aircraft-style air outlets for the available differential and transmission coolers. The centered quad exhaust outlets hint at the car’s performance potential.
The interior combines fine materials and craftsmanship with advanced technologies that contribute to a more connected and more engaging driving experience. Each of the interior’s features and details were designed to enhance the driver’s connection to the car, beginning with the fighter jet-inspired wraparound cockpit; and continues with the smaller (14.1-inch) diameter steering wheel, more supportive seats, and high-definition, configurable screens. Two seating choices are offered: a GT seat for all-around comfort and a Competition Sport seat with more aggressive side bolstering that provides greater support on the track. The frame structure for both seats is made of magnesium for greater strength and less weight than comparable steel frames. There’s a steel-reinforced grab bar on the center console for the passenger and soft-touch materials on the edge of the console, where the driver naturally braces during high-load cornering. High-performance driving influenced elements of the configurable display screens and available head-up display, which vary depending on the driving mode, including the Track display inspired by the C6.R.
All models feature a fully-wrapped interior, where all surfaces are covered with premium, soft-touch materials. Available materials, depending on the trim level, include Napa leather, aluminum, carbon fiber and micro-suede.
During the national press launch, I was able to test the new 2014 Stingray Convertible in and around the mountains in Palm Springs, CA. The base price of my Laguna Blue tintcoat test Convertible with a Gray interior and top was set at $58,800. It came with the Z51 Performance Package and 7-speed manual gearbox. Other options such as th 3LT Preferred Equipment Group ($8,005.), Magnetic Ride Control with PTM ($1,795.), Multi-mode Performance Exhaust ($1,195.), Carbon Fiber Interior Package ($995.), Laguna Blue Tintcoat ($995.), Sueded Microfiber-wrapped upper trim Package ($495.), and Destination Charge elevated the final price tag to $73,275. The Z51 delivers 5-“V”-spoke, painted alloy wheels and a full width decklid spoiler, along with tweaked suspension, while the base model Stingray Convertible comes with 5-single-spoke alloy wheels and an abbreviated center mount decklid spoiler. Aside from the cloth convertible top and minimal weight differential, the Stingray Convertible and Stingray Coupe share the same dimensions and componentry.
SUMMARY: The 2014 Corvette Stingray with either top configuration is clearly the best production Corvette ever, but my favorite is the drop-top version. Essentially, it is engineered to race, but is also built for on-road driving enjoyment. It boasts a better power to weigh ratio than Audi’s R8 and Porsche’s 911 Carrera.
The new Stingray is, in a word, incredible. Other words that come to mind would be phenomenal and awesome. It behaves in a docile and civilized manner when called upon to do so, but it is also a screamer when poked and prodded. It handles with both an athleticism and preciseness never before available in a Corvette. It rides comfortably, when simply cruising, but may be firmed up for track exercises or more aggressive driving when the mood strikes.
Check out this TFLcar video first drive of the 2014 C7 Coupe:
Photographs do not do the Stingray justice – it is not only a purposeful and functional design, it is also stunningly gorgeous in either Coupe or Convertib;le form.. Yes, there are some Corvette purists who feel that the new headlight and taillight treatment violates the heritage and purity of the iconic sports car, but I hereby disagree vehemently. Everything about this seventh generation represents a step up. I have my past favorites too, such as that first 1953 example; the 1957 four-speed, fuel injected model. Another early favorite is the 1962 Corvette, but it’s clearly time to move on, and I choose the 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible for its open air motoring. Either Stingray performs best in the Track mode.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays are built at GM’s Bowling Green, KY assembly plant and goes on sale in September. If you can find a better high performance car at a more attractive price, then buy it.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible a Buy It! for an incredible high performance roadster at an amazingly affordable price.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Convertible
Base Price: $58,800.
Price as Tested: $73,275.
Engine Type and Size: 6.2-liter, LT1, OHV, 16-valve, pushrod V8 with Direct Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 460 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 465 @ 4,600 rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed manual with Active rev-matching or 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally-mounted front engine / Rear-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent unequal length control arms, transverse composite leaf spring, 3-positioncockpit-adjustable,
electronically controlled magnetorheological dampers and anti roll bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented, grooved discs with four-wheel/four channel ABS and fully defeatable stability control,
traction off, competition mode, launch control.
Tires: Staggered Michelin Pilot Super Sport radial run flats- 245/35 ZR19 front / 285/30 ZR20 rear mounted on 5-double “V”-
spoke forged aluminum alloy wheels – 8.5×19” front / 10×20” rear.
Wheelbase: 106.7 inches
Length Overall: 177.0 inches
Width: 73.9 inches
Height: 48.6 inches
Curb Weight: 3,362 lbs.- Convertible / 3,298 lbs. Coupe.
Turning circle: 37.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17 mpg city / 29 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.29 – est.
0 – 60 mph: 3.9 seconds. – Top speed 185 mph.
Quarter mile: 12.2 seconds / 117 mph.
Review by Arv Voss, Auto Impressions