16 January 2013

Corking new Corvette Stringray

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

As you are quite probably aware, the Detroit Motor Show is running at the moment. You'll naturally have read about most of the d├ębuts  and since I'm not actually in Detroit (maybe next year...) there's little point in rattling off all of them. There are, however, a couple of particularly special reveals. The Mercedes CLA, for instance, is very exciting, as is the new Chevrolet Corvette. Sadly, unlike the CLA, the chances aren't great of us seeing the new Corvette in the UK, but all the same that doesn't make it any less tempting.

As you'd expect, the next Corvette features a stonking great V8 engine - 6.2 litres - which produces a relatively impressive 450bhp. However, even American muscle cars are responding to worries about the environment and fuel economy, with the V8 featuring technology that shuts down four cylinders when not in use, effectively turning the Corvette into a V4-engined car. But that's enough on eco-friendly aspects. Able to do a 0-60 run in less than 4 seconds, the seventh-generation Corvette will also be able to pull up to 1g in corners. And bearing in mind, this is all from the base model, called the Stingray. Imagine what the ZR1 version will be like...

The C7 Corvette is actually entirely new, and shares effectively zero parts with its predecessor. Whilst that can be seen by examining the underlying structure (lots of aluminium and carbon fibre), it is most obvious when looking at the external styling. Which, let's be honest, looks fantastic. The old model always looked a bit dated and unsophisticated, especially to those of us not living in the States, but this new model looks absolutely superb. Still unmistakably a Corvette, the design is a lot more modern, with lashings of LEDs, creases in the bodywork, and vents all over the place. From some angles, particularly the rear, it's even a bit reminiscent of the Nissan GT-R, which is no bad thing, and from others there are hints of Ferrari in it. Which is also not a bad thing.

Perhaps the best news for us Brits, though, is that there might be a chance we'll see a right-hand drive model in Chevrolet dealers in a few years time. According to Autocar, the Corvette's chief engineer said there will be a RHD model after 2015, as did GM's CEO. However, GM's president of international operations has said there are no plans to make a RHD version after all. So we might see one sometime (I really hope so), or we might not (which would be a mighty shame).

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