Skip to main content

2014 Corvette Stingray Z51 Tested!




It's in a league "well beyond the reach of the current Porsche crowd." That's what Car and Driver had to say about the new Corvette during their test after posting a 1.08 g score on GM's black-lake circle. Much like the outgoing C6 Corvette, opinions about the new Corvette seem to be anonymous. However, unlike the outgoing C6 Corvette which was praised for its performance capabilities and value but criticized for the quality of the interior and the seats, the C7 Corvette Stingray seem to be basically flawless.

We'll get the easy stuff out of the way first - the numbers. The best numbers were achieved by Edmunds, where they were able to do a 0-60 mph sprint in just 3.8 seconds and the 1/4 mile was dealt with in 12 seconds flat at 117 mph. For comparison, the last Grand Sport Edmunds tested did the same deeds in 4.2 seconds and 12.5 s @ 115.1 mph. The Stingray was able to blast through a 6 x 100 ft slalom at 72.8 mph and hold 1.08 g around the skidpad while the Grand Sport managed the slalom at 69.2 mph and held 0.98 g around the skidpad. It took just 93 ft to come to a stand still from 60 mph, 10 ft shorter than a Grand Sport.



2014 Corvette Stingray Z51           
2010 Corvette Grand Sport            
0-60 mph(sec.):
3.8
4.2
1/4-mie (sec @ mph):
12.0 @ 117.3
12.5 @ 115.1
Slalom (mph):
72.8
69.2
Skid Pad Lateral G (g):
1.08
0.98
60-0 mph (ft):
93
103

So it out accelerates, out handles, out grips and out brakes the outgoing 'Vette. With ease. But how far is it "beyond the reach of the current Porsche crowd"? For comparison here are the numbers for a 2012 911 Carrera S with the 7-speed manual and and the PDK:



2012 Porsche 911 Carerra S 7MT    
2012 Porsche 911 Carerra S PDK    
0-60 mph(sec.):
4.6
3.9
1/4-mie (sec @ mph):
12.7 @ 113.2
12.0 @ 116.5
Slalom (mph):
71.3
71.4
Skid Pad Lateral G (g):
1.04
1.03
60-0 mph (ft):
102
98


This is very impressive, considering that a 911 Carerra S PDK will set you back Corvette ZR1 money - over $45,000 more - assuming PDK is the only option on the 911 and the Z51 package and magnetic shocks are the only options on the Corvette. Add that to the fact that the Corvette weighs 110 lb more than the Porsche, and the numbers become even more impressive. So it still has incredible bank-for-your-buck value and you don't even have to live with a budget interior anymore. Everything looks great on paper then but numbers aren't everything.

Chevrolet announced that there will be a new suite of electronics that will aid the driver and help with vehicle control. Since then, I have been concerned that it will move away from the pure driving experience and will basically be Chevy's GTR - a car with incredible capabilities that also claims most of the credit because of how much the car corrects your inputs. This isn't the case with the Corvette.




Make no mistake, the electronics have come a long way. As Edmunds puts it, it allows you to do things you would never consider doing without such elegant back up systems. One of those things was executing a 100-mph four-wheel slide over a mid corner blind crest on a wholly unfamiliar racetrack. This means that it doesn't intervene at every chance it gets to correct your inputs. It lets you do what you want, it simply keeps you from crashing your brand new Corvette. Most advanced electronic stability, traction and power delivery systems attempt to keep you within the limits of grip of the car. Not the PTM system. It lets you go beyond grip limits but keeps you within the limits of control. It's a very different design strategy.

Alex MacDonald, chassis control performance engineer for the Stingray, said that he understands that exiting a corner sideways is, for many, the most rewarding component of driving a car that works right despite it being slower and man is he ever right. You're not always out there to get the best time. You're not always wheel-to-wheel racing. If you think you don't need the PTM system, though, you can turn it off all together and do all the work. Another point for the design team then.

Moreover, when you are done thrashing it around the track and want to put down a serious lap, you'll have no problem doing so. Everything has been dialled up form control, to feedback to response. The new chassis, as we've learned during the reveal, is 57% stiffer. In fact, the C7 Corvette convertible will be 20% stiffer than a C6 Corvette coupe. The steering column is 150% stiffer than the same part on the outgoing 'Vette. It's a textbook rear-drive sports car. A real driver's car.

And thanks to magical magnetic shocks, it's a perfectly comfortable everyday car. "Even Porsche's do-all 911 can't match the ride/handling balance available in the Stingray," said Edmunds. The seats? Well, the base GT seats are not a problem anymore, let alone the optional competition seats that will be available as an option.

This then is the Corvette Chevy should have built a decade ago. It's an everything sports car for everyone. And it carries a base price of $51,995, only $1,400 more than the outgoing C6 Corvette. The goal of gaining market share seems like it's bound to happen but we'll have to wait and see!


Popular posts from this blog

2020 Mid-engine Corvette C8 - What You Need to Know

Rumours of a mid-engine Corvette have been around basically since the C2 Corvette, the first Stingray. I've heard some people argue that the Corvette is already mid engine because the engine sits almost entirely behind the front axle, making it mounted midship. But everyone knows that the classic definition of a midengined car is that of an engine mounted between the seats and the rear axle, not the front axle. That's what everyone pictures if you say "mid-engine". Worse still (for the Corvette), a true midengined layout has a lot more traction - all else being equal - than a front-midship mounted engine like the current Corvette, no matter how far back it is mounted. Chevy knows this, and there has been no shortage of Corvette mid-engine concepts for decades. This time, however, it's different.

For one, manufacturers these days tend to keep very special/high performance models under wraps for a very long time during development, only revealing them when they a…

550 hp V8 Cadillac CT6 V Coming in 2019

Cadillac's largest car - the not-quite-a-flagship CT6 - is becoming a little more flagship-y by getting the full V treatment like you can get on the CTS and ATS (for just one more year before they're axed in anticipation of replacements, so grab them while you can). Cadillac calls the CT6 top-of-the-range but won't call it a flagship, clearly wanting to leave that distinction to a larger and/or more grandiose vehicle in the future. It was previously announced in March earlier this year to be getting a high dose of performance enhancements, the highlight of which is a new twin-turbo V8, and was going to join the line-up as Cadillac's skim-V models called V-sport. Think of it like M-performance packages from BMW vs full fledged M models, the only difference being V-sport models typically get unique (and much more powerful) engines. But just a couple of weeks ago, Cadillac announced that it will make it a full-fledged V line model, making the car inch a bit higher in pre…

2007 Saleen Mustang S281 SC Super Shaker Track Review

"Who's your green student today?" asked a friend and instructor at the BMW Club Atlantic Advanced Driver Training (HPDE) weekend in June this year. I said: "The Saleen." The response was: "Oh, boy." Mustangs, generally, have a reputation for being more power than chassis. Mustang drivers have quite the reputation for.. how to put this nicely? Taking advantage of said power/chassis imbalance. To make matters worse, this particular Mustang was a supercharged Saleen, with a honkin' Shaker scoop sticking out of its hood. Did I mention it was also a convertible? And the owner was someone who's never been on track before but clearly has the speed bug.

Having had a Mustang for years and driven a few on track, they don't scare me - generally speaking - but the combination of being convertible and supercharged with a new and excited owner worried me a little. Nevertheless, I shrugged it off and got excited about chatting with the owner to find out…

Michelin Pilot Super Sports vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 - Street Review

I've been a huge fan of Michelin PSS tires and exclusively bought them for the Mustang over the last four years. So how did I end up here? This year, I was hugely interested in trying an "R-comp" tire. I had my eyes set on Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's for two simple reasons: price and reputation. They seem like they're easily the most affordable (from a big brand) R-comp tire and combine that with a reputation for having tons of grip, it was an easy top contender. I had my concerns, though. For one, I'm told and have read that they are an autox tire, not really designed for high speed, pressure, and temps associated with open track. For another, the Mustang is a heavy car (as far as track cars are concerned) being roughly 3,800 lb. (including driver), which will amplify the unwanted open track loads. Combine that with the fact that I drive a good amount on the street during the summer, and I was very worried that they wouldn't last more than a handful of…

Michelin PSS vs Firestone Indy 500 - Track Review

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my first impressions of Michelin's PSS vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires. I've run PSS's for several years on the Boss, but I'm trying the Indy 500's for the first time. In short, I was worried about the narrower tires (I was running 285/35/18 PSS but could only find the Indy 500 in 275/35/18) and tread squirm, but I was happy with them up to that point just driving on the street. I had the chance to drive on them for three track days now. So what were they like? After my first session, they made an impression that basically persisted for the rest of track sessions on them. Phenomenal, unmatched value. Now, if value is something that stands out above all else, it typically means the compromise between qualities you want and those you don't is less than ideal, but the value is attractive. This is no different. I'll start with the bad, which really boil down to two: ultimate grip and grip longevity.

Grip is noticeably lowe…

2014 BMW 335i xDrive M Sport Review

Post-refresh 2015 F30 3-series pictured. 
Which is better, an F30 3-series or an E46? The F30 has certainly taken its fair share of heat. But if you thought I was going to say the E46, you'd be dead wrong. The F30 3-series is better. Far better. It is quicker, faster, safer, more practical, more efficient, more refined, quieter.. the list goes on. A lot of reviews and people I talk to consider the F30 to be an abomination. Frankly, I don't see it. You'd have to be mad to think the E46 is better. Completely out to lunch. I don't know who in their right mind would prefer the E46..  Trouble is, since when were people buying sports cars in their right minds? Here, lies the real problem.

"Raw rather than refined in its noises, pounding ride, heavy clutch, 50 grand and cloth seats?"
".. and not at all shy about its performance compromises. It always acts like the automotive jock it is, every mile of every day."
"Raw and quite loud.. And sometimes ru…