The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has definitely come a long way since the EX-122 Corvette Prototype that was unveiled in New York City almost 60 years ago.
High-tech features abound on the C7 Corvette, but Chevrolet engineers are quick to point out that the modern amenities on their newest creation revealed today aren’t just technology for the sake of having technology. They help the car offer more performance, enhanced driving experience, and more efficiency.
“The all-new Corvette Stingray is really three cars in one: It provides 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,” says Harlan Charles, product manager.
For example, the Driver Mode Selector allows the driver to make every aspect of the car fit their own driving environment. A rotary knob near the shifter controls the DMS, which features five positions (Tour, Weather, Eco, Sport, and Track) to control 12 vehicle attributes depending on the situation the driver finds himself in.
“The result is a more rewarding, more confident experience,” Charles says, “whether you’re commuting in a downpour or charging through the corkscrew at Laguna Seca.”
With each twist of the DMS, 12 performance categories are adjusted, including gauge cluster configuration, electronic throttle control (for improved responsiveness), paddle-shift automatic transmission, active fuel management (allowing either four cylinders or eight cylinders to be used for improved fuel economy), active exhaust system, electronic limited-slip differential, steering assist effort, magnetic ride control, launch control, active handling, traction control, and performance traction management.
All this information is conveyed to the driver through two eight-inch high-definition screens that are among the brightest in the industry to make for easy viewing during all driving conditions.
Technology will also be used to produce an ideal 50/50 weight balance and to deliver a world-class power-to-weight ratio. That includes a new aluminum frame that is 57 percent stiffer and 99 pounds lighter than the C6 steel frame; innovative use of composite materials that help cut the weight of the car another 37 pounds; and of course the new LT1 V-8 that uses advanced technologies to produce more power with less fuel.
There’s also an industry-exclusive seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Matching that allows more precise up and down shifts. “Active Rev Matching makes the new Corvette easier and more fun to drive in performance conditions,” Chief Engineer Tadge Jeuchter says. “It anticipates the next gear selection and electronically ‘blips’ the throttle to match engine speed for a seamless gear change.”
An important goal for the seventh-generation Corvette was to create a more intimate and connected driving experience, says Mike Bailey, chassis vehicle system engineer. “Whether on the open road or on the track,” he says, “we wanted drivers to feel comfortable and confident behind the wheel.”
That includes the use of a new electric power steering system that offers variable ratios and variable effort to tailor responsiveness and feel for each driving situation. The steering system is five times stiffer than the previous generation and delivers more precise control and feedback to the driver.
The new smart electronic limited-slip differential transforms the Stingray by optimizing handling for the driving situation, according to Bailey. “By continuously modulating the torque split between the rear wheels, eLSD can improve traction accelerating out of corner, improve stability on the highway, and enhance steering turn-in and responsiveness,” he says.
Of course, the Corvette isn’t always on the track. It’s just as comfortable on city streets or making a commute to work, so the new Stingray features an advanced infotainment system, including Chevrolet MyLink and high-definition radio, as well as enhanced OnStar with 3D navigation maps. Also featured are an additional USB port in the center console, a stand-alone audio input jack, and an SD card slot. An optional premium 10-speaker audio system includes a bass box and two subwoofers and speakers with rare-earth magnets to offer greater sound quality with reduced weight and size.
The high-tech features even extend to the exterior of the car. For example, at the front, indirect white LED lamps form a distinctive daytime styling cue, and the all-new, dual-element taillamps feature innovative indirect LED lighting. This state-of-the-art lighting uses hidden LED lamps to create an even glow at the back of the car, and the taillamps also feature functional aircraft-style air outlets for the available differential and transmission coolers.
“From the front or rear, the signature lighting brings the new Corvette to life,” said Tom Peters, exterior design director. “It looks beautiful, sinister, and more than a little intimidating. It gives the Corvette a nighttime appearance unlike anything else on the street.”
Indeed, add up all of these high-tech features, and it’s probably safe to say there will be no car like the 2014 Corvette Stingray on any street in the world.
As Jeuchter says, “we believe the Corvette represents the future of modern performance cars because it delivers more power, more driving excitement, and better fuel efficiency. The result is better performance by every measure.”