This is the seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette. It marks the return of the Stingray; in name, at least.
We’ll have to see if the new Corvette warrants the iconic title that Chevrolet, only after production was signed-off, decided it could attach to the car. It’s so good, they think, it deserves it.
The 2014 ‘Vette is a new car from the ground up, with only two parts carried over from the previous generation. Apparently that’s not ‘the chassis’ and ‘the engine’, either, merely a cabin filter and roof latch.
The new chassis is an aluminium backbone structure, with composite body panels hung from it. Suspension is by double-wishbones all-round, retaining the trademark transverse springs, and with magnetorheological dampers.
All European-sold Corvettes get what’s called the Z51 Performance Pack as standard, which is optional in the US. Left-hand drive is standard everywhere.
The motor is the one you’d expect to find: a 6.2-litre small block V8, here making 460bhp and 465lb ft and driving, as standard, the rear-wheels through a seven-speed manual gearbox. There’s an auto too, of course, and a convertible.
The V8 fires to a lazy, offbeat idle which sends a gentle shimmy through the cabin at rest. Chevrolet uses terms like “fighter jet” when it describes the cockpit. Controls are arranged around the driver, but otherwise I’m not sure it’s a term I’d use.
Perceived material quality is fine; as usual it’s an improvement on what went before but not up with Europe’s best, while occupants don’t get a huge amount of space inside what is a sizeable car: 4.5m long and 1.87m wide.
There’s a decent amount of luggage volume, mind, while weight is claimed to be less than 1500kg, more or less evenly distributed between front and rear.
This Corvette needs less hefty inputs than I remember previous generations wanted. The engine response is still lazy, but the clutch manageable, the gearshift positive and short, and the steering quite light.
Now electrically assisted, the rack is quite fast and the steering wheel small, and the Corvette moves around at slower speeds with a relaxed gait.
The ride is pliant, noise levels muted and the engine happy to pull from low revs. The ‘Vette is a particularly good long-distance cruiser.
There are several different driving modes and the default is ‘eco’, which shuts down four of the engine's cylinders on minimal throttle inputs to improve economy.
Moving through Touring and Sport sharpens the engine, but it’s Track where the Corvette shows its best on give-and-take UK roads. Track weights-up the steering, opens the exhausts and firms the dampers – though never to uncomfortable extent.
With that button pressed you’re still aware you’ve got a lot of bodywork in front and to the right of you, but the C7 displays a willing, capable chassis.
The Corvette's rear differential is electronically controlled, but it wants serious throttle inputs before it’ll lock-up and push the Corvette sideways – at least on the winter tyres with which our test car was fitted.
They gripped particularly well in the cold conditions, and also served to make the steering a little less precise than you could expect on normal rubber.
Nevertheless, once traction is lost, the Corvette adopts an easy, controllable slide, which isn’t unexpected: it suits the relaxed, capable nature of a what’s a good value and able high-performance coupé.
There's no doubting the C7's straight-line performance credentials either; the 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 4.2sec and a top speed of 195mph is claimed. Despite the performance on offer, a reasonable average of 27.6mpg (UK) is quoted.
If the new Stingray isn't quite powerful enough for you, however, then maybe the recently announced 625bhp Z06 variant would be a more appropriate choice.