2014 Chevrolet Stingray Convertible
By Tony Swan
On Sale: October 2013
Expected Pricing: Mid $50,000s
An all-new seventh-generation 2014 Chevrolet Corvette goes on sale this fall. Chevrolet unveiled a convertible version at the March 2013 Geneva auto show. Like the new coupe, it revives the mid-1960s Stingray name, and shares the coupe's billing as the most powerful standard Corvette ever produced, as well as much of the coupe's bold new styling, though the soft top mitigates the sweep of the coupe's dramatic roofline.
Chevrolet also announced that the 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible will retail for $56,000, while the Stingray Coupe will start at $51,000. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices and do not include $995 destination charge.)
The 2014 Stingray Convertible shares the coupe's curb weight and 50/50 weight distribution. Most convertibles are adaptations of coupe models, requiring extensive (and weighty) frame reinforcements to compensate for the lost roof structure. But the design of the latest Corvette, C7, to aficionados, began with the topless version, according to Chevrolet, and its aluminum frame is identical with that of the coupe.
Chevrolet engineers claim the new foundation is almost 100 pounds lighter than the steel frame employed in the C6 Corvettes, and also 57 percent stiffer in terms of structural rigidity, the essential starting point for responsive handling. Since the center portion of the coupe's roof is removable, the commonality between coupe and convertible in terms of structural specification isn't astonishing, but the improvement in chassis rigidity is impressive nevertheless, given the C6 Corvette convertible was respectable on this score.
The new power-operated soft top is composed of three layers with sound-absorbing padding, versus its five-layer predecessor, and the design team anticipates sharply diminished interior noise levels. The rear window is glass, and the top can be raised or lowered while the car is in motion, up to 30 mph. It can also be operated remotely via the car's key fob, a trick sure to startle casual passers-by.
One of the most welcome of the 2014 Corvette's attributes is its all-new interior, which has a more upscale appearance, improved telematics, and, more important, new seats that deliver much more lateral support and all-around comfort than the previous generation. The seats were singled out for particular praise when the coupe made its Detroit debut, and like the rest of the interior elements they're identical in the convertible.
Like the C6 Corvette, the 2014 Stingray's sculpted hood shelters a 6.2-liter V8 engine. It continues to be an overhead valve design, but Chevrolet has replaced the old port fuel injection system with direct injection, raising output substantially. Its estimated ratings, 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, trump the previous engine by 20 horsepower and 14 pound-feet. Chevrolet has yet to release fuel economy projections, but cylinder deactivation plus the addition of direct injection is expected to boost mpg ratings as well. The powertrain engineers are willing to bet, unofficially, that the new car will improve on the C6 Corvette's 26-mpg highway rating.
A new 7-speed Tremec manual transaxle, with active rev matching on downshifts, replaces the former 6-speed, and a 6-speed with a paddle shift manumatic function continues to be the automatic option. The convertible shares the coupe's five-mode drive selector (Eco, Inclement Weather, Touring, Sport, Race Track). Chevrolet forecasts tenacious tire adhesion (1.0 g) as well as 0-to-60 mph in less than four seconds. As with the previous generation Corvette, owners inclined to exercise their cars at track day events can enhance the formidable basic setup with the optional Z51 performance package. The 2014 Stingray Z51 includes a dry sump lubrication system, an electronic limited slip differential, cooling system enhancements, bigger brakes, a more aggressive wheel/tire combination, and aerodynamic add-ons.
The 2014 Chevrolet Stingray convertible and coupe are expected to begin rolling into selected showrooms in early to mid-October. With the official rollout still over a half-year in the future, Chevrolet refrained from furnishing pricing information at the Geneva show. We expect a base MSRP for the convertible of about $56,000.