What’s in a name? Since 1953, the Corvette has been the pinnacle of Chevrolet’s performance vehicles. In 1963, the Stingray name was introduced for the launch of the second generation. That moniker lasted until the C4’s launch in 1984. For the launch of the C7 in 2014, the Stingray is back. There is no replacement for displacement. 6.2 liters of burbling V8, dubbed the LT1, lies under the fiberglass hood of Chevrolet’s new C7 Corvette. When enticed, the optional sport exhaust will wake the neighbors as 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft torque hit the pavement. The open-air experience of this Corvette Stingray Roadster adds to the appeal. Drop the top and suddenly the experience is more visceral. It helps with appearances, too. With the cloth roof stowed beneath its tonneau cover, the C7’s sharp lines are accentuated in the wide, nearly flat rear deck. It has supercar-level good looks.
GM’s recent focus on interior quality pays dividends, save for the budget carpeting. Wheel-mounted paddles exist both with the 7-speed manual and 8-speed automatic transmission. In the manual cars, the paddles activate a new rev-matching downshift feature. The system works flawlessly, turning three-pedal novices into apparent professionals instantly. For driver info, the C7 pairs physical gauges with an 8″ color screen and optional color head-up display. Both the screen and HUD feature a prominent tachometer than changes design as the driver cycles through various drive modes. For the racer at heart, Track mode raises the limits on intervention from the traction and stability control systems.
One of the frequently overlooked benefits of the new Corvette is value. The Stingray Convertible starts at $56,000 and, as tested without any of those options, rang in at a hair over $66,000. Notable performance enhancing options – the Z51 Performance Package, Magnetic Ride Control, or Competition Sport Seats, all add cost but shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. The C7 is fast enough to outpace cars with twice the MSRP without any of those additions. Behind the wheel, the C7 does very little wrong. The standard suspension provides GT comfort with sportscar grip. The Stingray is capable of tearing up pavement or cruising through the countryside. Surprisingly, both are equally rewarding. It’s rare to find that duality in a sportscar, which is why this new Corvette is something special.