First Look: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette

A. J. Mueller

Design analysis
Sleek

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 The second was, "Does it look like a Corvette because it's plastered with historical references?"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.

88xray
I'm sorry, IMO, this is a styling abortion.Why?  It looks cartoonish and overdone, a pastiche.Too much going on, too many vents, grills, creases, etc., etc.  Overall effect:  it looks way too busy (compare it to the genuinely beautiful Ferrari 458 Italia -- simpler, cleaner and graceful).  And the rear end  =  really terrible.  A Camaro look on a car that costs $25,000+ more??   Very smart.  It even looks like a Camaro at the rear from the side.  And the too big quad tailpipes also look 'fanboy/rice rocket style 4" exhaust' and cartoonish.Must have been styled by a committee w/the head of design (Welburn?) either asleep, AWOL or on drugs.
Also, it's f....king longer, wider and heavier.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  It should be shorter, slightly narrower and lighter w/a downsized V8 still yielding supercar performance w/better fuel economy (and even nimbler handling due to decreased size, width and weight  --  "Earth to Chevy....Ever heard of Colin Chapman?"). The interior's ok, but also a little overdone.  Since the steering wheel is supposed to be an improvement, why does the center pad look like a glued on afterthought, rather than an integral part of the wheel??  The arch over the instruments flowing into the side handle on the center console has been done a few too many times elsewhere in recent years.I wanted to love this car.  Long been a fan since I owned a 1964 327 Sting Ray Coupe -- one of the best of the many sports cars I've owned over the years. This is a shame.
jbernard
You know, the c7 is one of those designs where once the luster wears off, its not that exciting. As a matter of fact, from c-pillar and rearward, its somewhat cheap looking, even ugly. It lacks a maturity that the previous car, in all its RV-tail-light glory managed to retain. The diffuser look needs to be toned down, the vents are functional but the slats in them should be abandoned, and the tail-lights...oh the tail-lights...they, in their execution appears cheapish and to omit what may arguably be one of the most heritable features of the brand is just plain foolish, regardless of intent (LED's are great, but not entirely necessary, and to that, it would've been possible to retain the LED's if desired). I'm sure it'll sell, but there is something very immature about this design.
rogerxcohn
well, most of the negative comments are about tail lights ( may have a point there) or the color scheme on ONE show vehicle. If you looked at the rest of the photos you would see body colored vents and interiors that were not red. As far as it being an overweight boulevard cruiser...0-60 under 4 seconds. Weight is only guessed at being heavier. if it is probably only a couple of pounds (less than those golf clubs you drive a round with all the time) if at all. I didn't see any complaints about the headlights that look like they were copied from a 458 Italia? I think its beautiful and can't wait to drive one. I can only imagine the performance from the Z06 and ZR1. The so called base car matches the old Z06 already. So, factoring that in may (base) be not too expensive after all.  All the vents are functional so I doubt they were just stuck on there. There is a lot of performance in a very low profile. The heat has to go somewhere.So, I think it is awesome and much more than I was expecting. But, I still wouldn't be surprised by a tail light change in the next model year.
jbernard
The rear end seems somewhat disjointed to me but, minor quibble aside, I really do feel bad for the SRT boys...
TT-Moto
There's no arguing GM made some much overdue improvemts and enhancements to the C7 Corvette, but I'm sorry none of that can excuse the fact that Juechter and his team used Camaro tail lights. Nor is the fact that the C7 is going to be heavier acceptable, IMHO. Juechter can spin the Camaro lights anyway he wants but there was a very legitimate reason to eliminate the pop up headlights, not so with the tail lights. As far as his suggestion that the round lights limited them in some way, I call that bs.Maybe Juechter and his team should take some notes from Ferrari, better yet you guys can seriously learn a thing or two from the Viper team. Not only did SRT deliver a Viper true to it's origins, but they improved it in almost ever aspect and reduced it's weight. Good luck with C7 sales, I won't be a buying another Corvette any time soon.
Streamliner
The vast majority of new Corvettes are purchased by "middle aged" men. Why then, did they design this new Vette to appeal to the Power Rangers crowd? Sorry, but this car looks like something a 16 year old kid would want. The car is over the top aggressive and way too "video game" for this middle aged guy. And that interior! Interiors, where no matter what color you order, half of it is black, are CHEAP LOOKING! If I order a red interior, I would like an ALL RED interior, like the beautiful Corvettes of the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. I don't care how quick or how techno this new Vette is, for my money, I'd much rather have a new Porsche Boxster. Have you seen the new Porsche interiors? Drop dead GORGEOUS! I am very sorry to say this, but Corvettes are still for guys who think a platinum Visa card is a big deal, that chicks dig gold chains and that Sizzler is a great steak house.
browniebear2153
agree? disagree?
browniebear2153
Sales on all remaining C6's should soar
browniebear2153
The side view looks like a Mazda from the 1980's, great tail-lights from the Chevy Malibu and the added price of plus $10,000 over the C6 (which was really a C5 1/2) must be created by the finance geeks. It was long rumored that Chevrolet was going to discontinue the Corvette, well the account finance geeks may finally have found a way; price the vehicle totally out of reach of the "average" buyer.Mazda sales should  go up 500%. 
The Corvette is becomming a boulevard cruiser - the final replacement for the Lincoln Mark VII.
TheClassicCarFactory
Regardless of what we were all expecting this car to be, it is a quantum improvement over the C6 in every way - especially design - except for the tail which seems a tad "busy"; I don't mind they took libberties with the tail lights - what I mind is that the design they settled on looks like they just raided the Camaro parts bin.....i bet these will be the first change on the next update......probably back to round :)
JK Mcneely
Great looks. Fantastic technology. Just don't know why they gave it Camaro tail lights and a Nissan GT-R roofline. Why change from the classic Vette round/oval tail lights? From behind, it is not easily recognizable as a Corvette.
Uncle Stabby
I agree with the comments about the functional venting being available in body color. Other than that, think the car is a beautiful, respectful, but not slavishly retro interpretation of its forebearers. The most important non-kinetic part of the car is the interior which always reeked of Rubbermaid, no matter how much low-rent leather they slathered all over it. I hope that the Corvette will approach Volkswagen/Audi levels of material refinement at long last. And in the SIWOTI department, in your photo gallery, the '68 C3 is actually a '71 and the '84 C4 is at least a '92. I know, I know, it's the generation you're showing, not the year, but it's annoying to your many devoted car pedant readers.
jwoj
Exciting car! An update worthy of the new name - if it drives as promised. Even if they only updated the interior, this would have been a success :-) Looks like the new Viper is going to get spanked - by a base Vette! Looking forward to the convertible, as well. It's becoming harder to look unique, and you can see a few other cars in this new Vette's design, but it comes together well, overall, and in a way that doesn't betray its heritage.Four head-scratchers, though. 1. I hope you can get body-colored vents, rather than only the black because it looks a bit too busy, 2. the taillights should have been more rounded, at least paying homage to cars from the Stingray on. I heard they thought they were too prosaic: wrong., 3.) gimmick alert! The paddles to turn on and off the rev-matching feature for the manual (a very cool 7 speeds) are massive overkill. You either turn that feature on or off. Unless there's an explanation coming, it's out of whack for a car that is otherwise nicely maturing. And, 4. the side vent behind the front wheelhousing looks like it was an afterthought. Seems like someone said, "Dammit, we forgot that vent! It has to be there! Okay, where can we fit this thing in?" It could have been much better integrated.Smallish things for a nice leap forward! Can't wait to see a test.
rogerxcohn
@Streamliner Chicks don't dig gold chains? Really? Most women think any credit card or guy with a job is a big deal

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