April 16, 2012 · 0 Comments
It’s not the radical mid-engine design enthusiasts have long dreamed about, but so what? The next iteration of America’s sports car will be a slimmed-down, muscled-up front-V8 Vette with higher performance, higher mpg, and slick new styling.
What We Know About the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette
There’s good news and bad news about the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette, or so says Motor Trend magazine. Good news first. The much-anticipated C7 is moving through the General Motors product-development pipeline toward an early-2013 debut as a 2014 model. That’s about six months later than previously reported, but GM has understandably been giving priority to more commercially important new models since its 2009 bankruptcy. The result has been a remarkably swift turnaround featuring higher sales and a return to solid profits, abetted by a vastly streamlined management structure and greatly reduced fixed costs.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 should be worth the extra wait time anyway, as it promises to be the most nimble and fuel-efficient Corvette ever, thanks in large part to what MT terms “a substantially new platform.” That, too, contradicts earlier speculation, which had the C7 using yet another update of the basic structure that premiered with the C5 generation back in 1997. According to MT’s Mike Connor, “Engineers are said to be working on the Corvette’s chassis feel and feedback. GM’s philosophy is [that] it has one of the best-handling sports cars already, but it needs major tweaking so you don’t have to be a professional race-car driver in order to drive it fast on the racetrack.” A more-athletic ‘Vette with roadability most anyone can exploit? Works for us.
Now the bad news, if you can call it that. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette will not–repeat not–be a rear/mid-engine design, something Corvette fans have been dreaming about for decades through a parade of tantalizing concept cars. As Connor notes, “While GM engineers have discussed that possibility for every Corvette since the C3 [1968-82 Sting Ray], the latest iteration of that idea left with [product guru] Bob Lutz, who is now working for mid-engine sports-car company Lotus.” And despite its fast return to profitability, “GM is in no position to spend [extra money on a mid-engine design] for the C7 go-around.” In addition, Connor reports that, again contrary to recent rumors, the C7 will not switch to a base V6 engine, nor will it adopt a Wankel-type rotary engine. Again, GM doesn’t have the money for such solutions, however promising they might be for boosting performance, dynamic ability, and fuel economy.
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