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Stingray name returns in all-new Corvette

By Frederick Olson, Automotive Contributor
Published On: Dec 31 2013 02:56:49 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 14 2013 10:56:20 AM CST

Image: GM

DETROIT -

Chevrolet is reviving the Stingray name for its all-new 2014 Corvette sports car.

General Motors revealed the new supercar Sunday night, ahead of the opening of the 2013 North American International Auto Show.

As with any sports car, the big story of the Corvette is what lies under the long, low hood.  There, Chevrolet has crammed in a 6.2 liter V-8 engine that pumps out 450 horsepower and 450 pound feet of torque, and more of that torque is available at lower speeds.

Chevrolet says we can expect the new engine to be more fuel efficient than previous Corvette engines, thanks in part to a cylinder deactivation system that lets the engine run on four cylinders when not under heavy load.

Also helping efficiency is the fact that some of the key components are lighter than previous models.  The 2014 Corvette is built on an aluminum frame that Chevrolet says is 57 percent stiffer and 99 pounds lighter than the current steel frame.

The Corvette also makes extensive use of composite materials in the fenders, doors and rear quarter panels, helping shave another 37 pounds off the weight of the car.

Transmission choices include a 7-speed manual transmission or a six-speed paddle-shift automatic.

And if the Stingray doesn’t provide quite the performance you want, Chevrolet will also sell the Corvette Z51, which has larger tires, a modified suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential that carefully controls the torque split between the rear wheels.

Technology is a key part of the 2014 Corvette.  In the cockpit, there’s something Chevrolet calls the Driver Mode Selector, which gives the driver the choice of five settings to match road conditions and desired performance.

By default, the car is in Tour mode.  In rain or snow, the driver can switch to Weather mode.  If fuel economy is most important, there’s an Eco mode.  Sport mode is for more aggressive driving, and Track mode is for use on race tracks.

“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,” said Harlan Charles, product manager.

While switching between modes, the driver is surrounded in premium materials, including available leather, aluminum, carbon fiber and micro-suede.

Those leather seats are built on frames made of magnesium that’s stronger and weighs less than comparable steel frames.

“Every feature and detail in the interior is designed to enhance the driver’s connection to the Corvette,” said Helen Emsley, interior design director.  “It starts with the fighter jet inspired wraparound cockpit; continues to build with the smaller steering wheel, more supportive seats, and high-definition, configurable screens, and is finished in gorgeous materials.” 

The new Corvette will be built at GM’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant, which recently received a $131-million upgrade.  The car goes on sale in the third quarter of 2013.