By Richard Homan
Almost as if no sports cars ever came before it, the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is untouchable. You can't get this much horsepower (455) at this much price ($52,000) anywhere else. Striking a look that stirs our "American Supercar" vapors in coupe and convertible form, and a 2-seat interior soaked in leather, aluminum and carbon fiber, the new Corvette has the power to make you forget your crush on a Porsche 911 or Audi R8 – all for the price of a Porsche Cayman or an Audi TTS. The new Corvette will fulfill your desires whether you just need to pick up another quart of Monster from the 7-11 or you want to trim another second off your lap time on track day.
If you like the idea of owning unimaginably good horsepower and performance value, and controlling it from a Ritz-Carlton of an interior, the Corvette Stingray couldn't make more sense.
If you're a 1-car family of three, no. If you require anonymity and hate answering questions, forget it. If you've got a picture of the Rainbow Warrior on your fridge, don't bother.
The Corvette Stingray is all-new for 2014.
Driving Impressions On the road, the new Corvette Stingray is an A-Plus player. It owns every corner and rolls out acceleration without even breathing hard, and it can snap to 60 mph...in under four seconds or log 30 mpg on a fuel-economy run (the official EPA mpg numbers are 17 city, 29 highway). An automatic cylinder-shutoff turns the V8 seamlessly into a fuel-saving V4 when the full roar of the beast is not needed. The Chevy's steering is responsive enough to give Porsche night sweats, and its braking has that buttoned-down, all-business feel that makes driver confidence a given. A Drive Mode Selector on the center console adjusts the Corvette's handling, steering, throttle response and even the exhaust note. Unlike many such systems, the Drive Mode Selector's five driver-selectable programs really do change the character of the Corvette – the ride and handling differences between the default Tour program and the all-performance Track mode were especially strong.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE ENGINE
The new Corvette Stingray's cast-aluminum small-block engine – 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of race-worthy torque – is a masterpiece of the V8 art form. It breeds power, earns smart fuel-economy figures and summons the attention of all within hearing distance.
Z51 PERFORMANCE PACKAGE
We heartily recommend spending $2,800 for the Z51 Package. That investment scores 19-inch front/20-inch rear forged-aluminum wheels (the standard Stingray gets 18-inch/19-inch cast-aluminum wheels), quicker gears (0-60 in 3.8 seconds), deliciously bigger brakes, an electronic limited-slip differential (standard car: mechanical limited-slip diff), a dry-sump oil system, and other technologies to improve handling and brake/differential cooling.
Easy on both the eyes and the body, the Corvette Stingray's interior is a premium space upholstered in leather and trimmed in aluminum and carbon fiber. The magnesium seats are a real treat to be engulfed by and to behold, as is the 8-inch color screen on the center dash. Details, for a long time not a specialty of Corvette interiors, are now a point of legitimate pride, including two power USB ports in the center console and more good cargo space under the coupe's rear hatch than you'll find in a BMW 7 Series.Exterior
Finally, the Chevrolet Corvette looks like it could win a knife fight. Gone are the rubbery curves from the last two decades in favor of strong, folded edges and functional inlets. That lithe skin is bonded to an all-aluminum frame that's 100 pounds lighter, 57 percent stiffer, and otherworldly times more talented than last year's model – no additional structural stiffening was needed for the convertible. In top-up mode, the Stingray convertible loses the exquisite sweep of the coupe's rear roofline and hatch window, but regains its presence when the fabric top retracts completely out of sight behind the seats.
Beyond V8 power and a 7-speed manual transmission, every 2014 Corvette Stingray comes with 8-way power-adjustable magnesium-framed seats, keyless lock/unlock with push-button start, a power-adjust tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and the 5-position Drive Mode selector that lets you adjust the Corvette's driving personality to match the situation. On the dash, you get an 8-inch touch-screen display controlling the standard 9-speaker Bose audio and Chevy MyLink infotainment system and displaying what the standard rearview camera sees. All Corvette Stingray coupes get a removable carbon-fiber roof panel, while the convertible's electronic top can be operated remotely using the key fob.
Apart from the must-have Z51 Performance Package, you can add options that range from painted brake calipers – red or yellow – to an $8,000 interior package that includes premium Nappa leather seating and leather-wrapped interior, heated/ventilated seats with power lumbar support and bolsters, plus navigation and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system. Performance add-ons include Magnetic Ride Control's automatic shock-absorber system, a dual-mode exhaust that can increase the engine's power (and exhaust note), and a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The new Corvette's wicked 6.2-liter V8 engine offers more naturally aspirated horsepower and a much bigger bite of low-end torque than ever. At the same time, the V8 highway fuel economy that can reach as high as 29 mpg – that's better than a Scion xB, and pretty much better than any high-performance car you can name – thanks to the engine's ability to imperceptibly shut down four of its eight cylinders when the Stingray's driver is taking it easy on the throttle. A standard 7-speed manual gearbox sends the V8's glorious power to the rear wheels, though most Corvette buyers will opt for the 6-speed automatic. With either setup, you'll find nothing to disappoint you.
455 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
460 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
460 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (with available performance exhaust)
465 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm (with available performance exhaust)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/29 mpg (manual), 16/28 mpg (automatic)
Bringing a complete set of OMG-performance knives to the table, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $52,000, destination fees, braggable fuel economy and adrenaline included. The convertible starts at $57,000. You can add comfort goodies and make-me-badder performance options that'll push the price right up into the $80,000 neighborhood, but even there, you're more than $20,000 away from the base price of a Nissan GT-R, SRT Viper, Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo. Nevertheless, saving money matters – so look in on the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price before you buy to get an idea of what dealers in your area are getting for the new Corvette. There's more good news for you when the time comes to sell your 2014 Corvette: We've calculated the new Stingray to be one of the strongest-resale value propositions of any sports car.