The new 450bhp 6.2-litre V8-powered Stingray is the most powerful standard version of the ‘Vette ever in its sixty-year history, and is also the most advanced yet with technology including a lightweight aluminium structure, part-carbonfibre bodywork and a seven-speed manual gearbox. The Stingray name also returns to the Corvette for the first time since 1976.
While the look and shape of the new 4495mm long, 1877mm wide and 1235mm high Stingray is instantly recognisable as Corvette despite its new international flavour, the technology underneath breaks new ground for the the front-engined, rear-drive sports car.
At the heart of Stingray is a completely reworked version of General Motors’ familiar 6162cc small-block V8. The 450bhp direct-injection LT1 aluminium engine with continuously variable valve timing also produces 450lb ft, with low-end torque between 1000-4000rpm said to match that of the larger 7.0-litre LS7 V8 from the current Corvette Z06.
The engine, which is also said to be more efficient than ever, can be hooked up to either a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters or a new seven-speed manual, only the second gearbox of its type after the Porsche 911. This transmission has an ‘Active Rev Match’ system that automatically blips the throttle to match the engine speed for both upshifts and downshifts.
No performance figures for the Stingray have been revealed, but insiders have said a 0-60mph time of less than 4.0sec is expected.
Chevrolet has confirmed a new ‘Drive Mode Selector’ with five distinct driving modes: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport, and Track. This selector controls and changes 12 different attributes, including throttle response, steering feel and the traction control system.
The steel underbody structure of the current C6 sixth-generation model is eschewed for a new aluminium structure that’s 57 per cent stiffer and 45kg lighter. The use of carbonfibre for the bonnet and removable roof panel, and other composite materials for the key body panels, helps shed a further 17kg off the old model.
Chevrolet has not announced a kerb weight, but these weight savings in the body along with further weight saving for components including the suspension and engine will ensure it comes in below 1400kg, enough to give a better power to weight ratio that standard versions of the Porsche 911 and Audi R8.
The short/long-arm double wishbone suspension design with transverse composite ‘leaf’ springs carries over from the C6 model, but every component is new and has been lightened. In fact, in the whole car, only two parts have carried over between the sixth and seventh generations.
A big improvements is said to be offered to the steering through a variable ratio electric power steering system that’s said to be five times stiffer than the system fitted to the C6, with big improvements to the feel as a result.
The sum of all these chassis changes, along with a 25mm longer wheelbase and wider tracks over the old C6, claims Chevrolet, is a car with 50/50 weight distribution, and greatly improved high-speed ability and ride and handling.
Further dynamic potential in the chassis can be unlocked through an optional Z51 Performance Package. The package includes the third-generation of Magnetic Ride Control, an electronic limited-slip differential, a bespoke aero package and improved cooling.
Chevrolet is also making great noises about the interior, which is the most premium and sophisticated ever on a Corvette. High-qulaity trims include hand-wrapped leather, carbonfibre and aluminium, while two 8in touchscreens control most interior functions. The seats also feature magnesium frame for greater strength but reduced weight.