The new 2014 Corvette Stingray may share precious little with the previous sixth-generation Corvette, but there is one common thread. In 2004, Chevrolet rolled out the C6 Corvette coupe in Detroit and then waited several weeks to unveil the convertible variant at the Geneva Motor Show. Fast-forward nine years: weeks after the C7 coupe was unveiled in Detroit, the new Corvette convertible will make its first appearance in Switzerland.
If the new 2014 Corvette convertible doesn’t feel as shocking as the coupe did, it’s likely because you’ve already had months to ogle, evaluate, and grow accustomed to the C7’s design. From the beltline down, the coupe and the convertible are mirror images of one another, from the eggcrate grille to the extreme coke bottle profile and the somewhat controversial square taillamps. Above that point, however, things start to differ.
Let’s start with the roof. Obviously, the coupe’s fixed fastback form is eliminated in favor of a folding structure. Like the last Corvette, the C7 convertible is a true softtop – there’s no retractable hard top here, just three layers of fabric and a glass rear window. The power-folding mechanism can be activated by remote key fob and can stow or deploy the roof at speeds up to 30 mph.
Convertible models also receive a few small visual tweaks. C7 coupes boast functional ducts placed atop their rear fenders, but those vents are not carried over to the Corvette convertible. A character line formed by the lower edge of the side window transitions into a raised shoulder on the decklid, which in turn envelops the tonneau cover. In keeping with Corvette tradition, the tonneau cover cascades into the cockpit between the seats, but the nacelles placed behind each seat back now sport black accent panels that, according to GM, “enhance the cover’s character lines.”
Mechanically speaking, the 2014 Corvette convertible should be a splitting image of its coupe sibling. The C7’s new aluminum frame, which is some 57 percent stiffer and 99 pounds lighter than before, is virtually unchanged for the convertible model. Chevy says the frame needs no additional reinforcement to compensate for the lack of a fixed roof, and the convertible won’t be much heavier than a comparably equipped coupe. The only structural modifications involved in transitioning from coupe to convertible include mounting points for the folding top mechanism and relocating the seatbelt mounts.
In Stingray guise, the Corvette convertible will use the same LT1 V-8 shown earlier this year in the Corvette coupe. The new 6.2-liter V-8 boasts aluminum block and heads, variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, and cylinder deactivation. Chevrolet has yet to announce the official power numbers for the engine but estimates that it should be able to crank out 450 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a six-speed automatic and a seven-speed Tremec manual with a rev-matching function.
Pricing, content, and other details have yet to be disclosed, but GM says that the 2014 Corvette convertible should reach dealers “in late 2013.” Given its Geneva launch debut, the automaker also notes that the 2014 Corvette coupe and convertible will be sold around the world, including in Europe, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, and the Middle East. There’s some bad news for the countries that drive on the left, though – the Corvette will remain exclusively a left-hand-drive vehicle.