Our key question before seeing the C7 was, "Will it look like a Corvette?" One glance lets us say, most emphatically, that it does. The second was, "Does it look like a Corvette because it's plastered with historical references?" No, there's absolutely nothing retro about it. This is the cleanest, most honest Corvette prepared for sale to the public since the original 1953-55 C1. The C7 Corvette -- once again called Stingray -- is totally free of inauthentic styling fakery for the first time in fifty-eight years. Every opening in the C7's body surface is functional. If there is an inlet, air flows in. If there's an outlet, air comes out, having performed its specific task on the way.
There are traces of previous fender profiles in the side view, but transverse sections are completely new, and the way surfaces are handled is completely novel for Corvettes. There are numerous subtle surface breaks that leave just-visible lines all over the body, emphasizing the sleekness of the overall form. If the body side sills are a bit convoluted, the ensemble is still cohesive and convincing, as a detailed look will show. The architecture is as before, but the effect is completely new. -- Robert Cumberford
1 Add-on spoiler for the Z51 has a twin-radius flat on the horizontal upper profile. It fits around the CHMSL, which overlaps the taillight clusters.
2 Roof profile is a stylist's dream, a pure curve recapitulated in the side glass profile.
3 The least attractive aspects of the whole shape are these tall, flattish rear fender surfaces behind the wheel openings, almost the only carryover effect from C5 and C6 shapes.
4 Triangular outlets outboard from the taillights evacuate brake and transmission heat.
5 The dark lower part of the rear fascia is raised, letting the fender and air outlets drop down as inverse fins at the outer edge.
6 LED taillights are deeply and dramatically insetand are virtual tunnels into the rear fascia.
7 Sharp edge carries all the way around the trapezoidal concave section, encompassing lamps and air outlets.
8 Exhaust-pipe module is prominent at the center, the huge chrome trumpets punctuating the rear-end composition, which is at once tough, serious, and completely unlike previous Corvettes.
9 Rear edge of the artful trapezoidal opening to the door-latch control aligns with the B-pillar.
10 One of the nicest features on the car is the paired inlets for the transmission-cooling exchanger tucked into the back, eliminating lines to the front -- and weight and cost.
11 Lift-off roof panel can be painted or left in natural carbon fiber, or a translucent plastic panel can be substituted. Panels can be carried in the trunk, covering the (limited) luggage space.
12 These subtle surface breaks result in visible longitudinal lines. There is one in the center of the hood, another pair on each side defining the radiator air outlet, and a surprising outer line that spreads outward toward the front. The hood bulge doesn't restrict visibility too much, given the depressed area in front of the driver.
13 Louvers put energy from air heated by the radiator into the airstream over the cabin.
14 Look carefully at the hood cutline that defines the transverse section, noting the excellent sight line through the concavity between fenders and hood bulge.
15 These buttresses are present for pedestrian-safety considerations but are used to aerodynamic advantage as well through engineering-styling collaboration.
16 Apart from the badge, a single transverse blade is the only bright metal on the front end.
17 A single lens serves both low and high beam, neither one steerable. Foglights have been eliminated. An illuminated L-blade is for daytime running; six turn-signal LEDs are outboard.
18 Side markers front and rear are integrated into wheelhouse perimeter bands.
19 On this Z51, the brake details are visible through the wheels -- gray on some cars, glossy black on other models -- giving a technical look. But bright red and yellow calipers are still optional, alas.
20 Front fender lines are generated from a bend in the headlamp cover and by its inner perimeter.
21 Paired surface-change lines parallel those on top of front and rear fenders.
22 This vent for the engine compartment generates two hard lines on top, a triangular cove below.
23 Rear-fender profile line starts just above and ahead of the Stingray badge and becomes double on top of the fender, behind the transmission-cooling air inlet.
24 Shades of former BMW design chief Chris Bangle.
25 These bends outward toward the front and rear wheelhouses are the least straightforward surfaces.