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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ready to strike

 

The name is legendary. And the car doesn't look half bad, either.

Chevrolet has unveiled the 2014 Corvette Stingray, resurrecting a model designation last used in 1976.

The seventh generation of the front-engine coupe retains the Corvette's familiar two-door hatchback shape, but with an all-new aluminum chassis and and dramatically designed bodywork made of composites and carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Vents in the hood and fenders allow air to pass through the body to reduce aerodynamic lift, while a combination of polygonal taillights and rear quarter windows are a new look for the car. Although not yet available as a convertible, a removable roof panel is standard.

Under the hood is Chevy's latest 6.2-liter small block V8 featuring direct injection and variable valve timing that make it the most powerful base engine ever offered in a Corvette. With at least 450 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, Chevrolet promises a zero to 60 time of under four seconds.

Cylinder deactivation technology that allows the engine to operate as a V4 under light loads, and a seven-speed manual transmission should also improve fuel economy beyond the current Corvette's 26 mpg highway. The gearbox is fitted with a clever rev-matching feature that automatically blips the throttle during during gear changes for smoother shifts, and a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters will be optional.

Special attention was paid to the interior, long the Corvette's major shortcoming. The new one is trimmed in upgraded materials, including Napa leather, aluminum, and carbon fiber, and is fitted with configurable 8-inch displays in both the instrument cluster and center console. Two different seat designs are on offer, one for comfort and one for the track, both heavily bolstered and constructed on lightweight magnesium frames.

In an effort to make the Corvette an all-purpose sports car, it has a selector with five settings for wet weather, eco, tour, sport, and track that modify throttle response, stability control, steering and a host of other systems to better fit conditions or the driver's needs.

The Corvette retains its unique transverse composite spring suspension design, and a special Z51 performance package is available with or without GM's renowned Magnetic Ride Control active damper system. The track-focused package also comes with modified aerodynamics, bigger brakes with improved cooling, differential and transmission coolers, an electronic limited slip differential and a dry sump oiling system engineered to keep up with the 1G cornering loads the car is said to be capable of.

Pricing for the new Corvette has not been announced, but it is set to go on sale in the third quarter of 2013.