The 2014 Corvette Stingray continues to draw “oohs” and “aahs” from virtually everyone connected with the automotive industry.
Car and Driver magazine is the latest to honor Tadge Juechter and his amazing team’s creation by naming the new Corvette Stingray to its annual “10Best” list.
For years, dating back to at least 1984 with the introduction of the C4, the Corvette has always been a numbers car, capable of putting up segment-leading statistics but not always shining in other important areas.
That’s no longer the case with the seventh-generation Corvette, Car and Driver gushes.
“Judging from the new Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Corvette, GM now knows how to bridge the gap between the driver and the spreadsheet,” the magazine says. “These cars aren’t simply about the cold pursuit of data. They’re about the interaction between human and machine.”
(By the way, the CTS joined the Stingray on that magazine’s prestigious list, too.)
Car and Driver praises the Corvette for its new electric steering, which “reports the squirm of the tires and, by varying the resistance, every tenth-of-a-g change in cornering force.”
Likewise, the suspension has been tuned magnificently by the engineers, Car and Driver reports, making the Corvette capable of provoking “stupid grins every time you drive it.”
The Stingray earns kudos overall for being “just so well honed,” the magazine says.
“Not only is its electrically assisted steering system unexpectedly sensitive,” Car and Driver says, “you can practically feel the thousands of man-hours spent developing its Michelin tires, its stiffer structure, and, on Z51 models, its electronically controlled limited-slip differential.”
The magazine also uses a sidebar to explain how GM is able to sell the new Stingray at such a bargan price.
The engine is a masterpiece, but it’s just part of a batch of more than a million Gen-V V-8s used in many GM vehicles. So while it does have special features over some of its kin, overall the Corvette engine takes advantage of economies of scale by riding along with the whole family. That engine uses 150 parts fewer (and lots less dollars) than a comparably powerful BMW twin-turbo.
The light and stiff aluminum frame that’s used on all Stingrays is built at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant now, with robots and automated laser welding doing all the heavy lifting instead of humans.
Kudos, too, to Plasan Carbon Composites, which invented a new process that has been called the first major step toward mass production of carbon-fiber parts. That new idea has cut process time by 75 percent and reduced costs by 30 percent.
Brembo likewise earns a nod for contributing to the savings by building subassemblies – including the suspension knuckles, wheel hubs, brakes, speed sensors, and other parts in the wheel wells – and getting them to the factory with just-in-time delivery.
By the way, Car and Driver says it takes this list very seriously.
“For a full week each fall,” they say, “we lock the office, turn off our phones, and engage in the most comprehensive and focused driving in the car-evaluation business.”
Car and Driver