The New Corvette
January 18th 2013 01:49
We'll get to the specifics of its genetic makeup and appearance in a minute, but for now, you'll want to focus on these key bits: The all-new LT1 small-block V8 holds on to the same 6.2-liter displacement as the C6, here producing 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque backed by either a seven-speed manual or a six-speed paddleshift automatic. And although GM has yet to release the car's weight (we only know it won't be under 3,000 pounds as previously rumored), it's promising a better power-to-weight ratio than the Porsche 911 Carrera and Audi R8. In fact, Chevy pledges the C7 will run from 0-60 in less than four seconds and Z51 Performance Package examples will achieve cornering grip of over one g right out of the box. Further, 60-0 braking distances are said to be consistent with that of the outgoing Grand Sport and so are its lap times – impressive for a standard model.
Aesthetically, the car seen here is a big departure, though from most angles, it's still quite clearly a Corvette. About the same size as before, the C7 should nevertheless look significantly smaller in person thanks to its shrink-wrapped sheetmetal (err, fiberglass), which is much more angular. The front end is pure Corvette, with more detailed HID headlamps and much greater surface definition and tension in the hood, which, like the roof panel, is rendered in carbon fiber to shave weight. For reference, the C7 looks to be about the same size dimensionally as the 911, albeit with a significantly longer 106.7-inch wheelbase than the rear-engined German.
The C7's profile is the same basic view that's been around since the C4, with one big exception – the institution of a secondary side window, something not seen on a Corvette since 1962. The move was necessitated by air intakes mounted atop the rear fenders that feed the rear-mounted heat exchangers on automatic or Z51-equipped models (more on both in a moment). The ducts also mean the backlight is no longer a wraparound piece of glass, it's more flat and tapered. Otherwise, the side view is the same long dash-to-axle layout, albeit again, with more muscled contours to the skin, particularly in the body's lower third.
We took a long look at the LT1 when it was unveiled back in October, but it's worth noting a few more choice sound bites – despite having a smaller displacement, the new small block matches the torque curve of the 7.0-liter LS7 found in the Z06 from 1,000 to 4,000 rpm. Said another way, GM notes that competitors as diverse as the BMW M3, Porsche 911 and Ferrari 458 Italia are all putting out about 250 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. At that point, the LS1 is already churning out 400.
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