As the launch of the new Corvette draws near—expect it to arrive in fall 2013—we are getting closer to definitive information on Chevy’s star-spangled sports car. Here’s the latest:
As we’ve said before, nothing so drastic as a switch to a mid-engine layout is planned for the C7. The base Vette will remain a front-engine, rear-transaxle coupe with a glass hatch (that is, until the C8 arrives, anyway). Something similar to the current car’s suspension, transverse leaf springs and all, will appear on this 2014 model. We also don’t expect any drastic dimensional changes; while mules we spotted in September appeared to have a narrower track, their bodies were donated by C6 Grand Sports, which have wider fenders and tracks than do base Corvettes. The C7 is likely to shed some mass, which would yield a better power-to-weight ratio.
In terms of its design, we’re going to go out on a limb and call it Vette-like. New headlight elements are more complex and narrower. The double-bubble roof returns, although the space between the bumps is wider, and the panel appears to be slightly flatter. Some sort of ventilation—either louvers or something like the scoop that adorns the nose of the current Z06, Grand Sport, and ZR1—will perforate the hood. Oh, and the side mirrors are less rounded than before and are a bit larger.
Among the critical design details shrouded in mystery is the final shape of the rear end, although we’re fairly confident that there will be more surface detailing on the back of the C7 than there was on the smooth, upswept tails of the C5 and C6. The quad exhaust tips, which appeared as slightly separated pairs on the C6, are now bundled together in a central row.
Expect more-significant changes under the hood. GM is investing more than $1 billion in the American plants that produce its small-block V-8, and the fifth generation of the iconic engine family will appear in the C7. Downsizing is a given for efficiency reasons, so expect a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter (possibly 6.0-liter) mill in place of the current 6.2 in the base model. (The oft-rumored twin-turbo V-6? We’re thinking C8.) The smaller engine will continue to use aluminum construction with pushrods and should make roughly the same 430 horsepower as the current 6.2; it will do so thanks in part to a higher compression ratio and direct fuel injection. The V-8 also is expected to feature cylinder deactivation, variable valve timing, and perhaps even stop-start functionality—the latter not exactly ideal for stoplight tête-à-têtes. And the Z06 and ZR1 models—with their respective larger and supercharged eights—should return.
Lastly, pricing shouldn’t change much from current levels. Expect the base coupe to start in the neighborhood of $50,000.