008- Stingray Z51 Convertible

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Item #:  008- Stingray Z51 Convertible

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The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette has been fully redesigned. Highlights include a new name (officially, it’s the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray), more angular-looking styling, improved interior quality, more power and new technology features. For now, only a base coupe is available, with the previous Z06 and ZR1 models on hiatus. A convertible will debut later in the model year.

What to know when you rent a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Recently, we were making small talk with a top engineer from an import luxury automaker and asked him what his personal car was. We expected him to have some sort of flawlessly crafted über-machine parked in his garage. C63. M3. 911. That kind of thing. Instead, he said he had a Corvette. He paused, perhaps noting our perplexed look. “I love all that torque,” he added in his thickly accented English, using his hand to imitate his foot pressing down on a gas pedal.

Corvette: who knew it was America’s biggest automotive export for guilty pleasure entertainment?

But with the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (“Stingray” is once again part of the Corvette name), there might not be much guilt associated with the pleasure anymore. Oh sure, this redesigned Corvette still has the bonkers V8 power, massive tires, outlandish grip and the “look at me!” styling that makes a Vette a Vette. But Chevrolet has addressed many of the car’s less appealing qualities, at least in the context of other world-class sports cars.

Action item number one: interior quality. This was the previous Corvette’s biggest letdown, and we’re pleased to report it’s gotten the most attention from Chevy’s designers. The materials used are of higher quality, and prominent leather stitching lends a premium vibe. Also improved are the seats, which are more supportive for aggressive driving. Chevy is even offering optional performance seats this time around, which offer even more bolstering. Finally, the overall design is more driver-focused and highlighted by a bigger main touchscreen that supports the brand’s latest MyLink electronics interface.

Further refinement is found in regards to the Corvette Stingray’s mechanical bits. There’s a more rigid body structure now made from aluminum (said to improve crash-worthiness and help with suspension tuning), a carbon-fiber roof and hood, and a revised 6.2-liter V8 engine. That new V8 develops 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, a bit more than before. But new direct fuel-injection technology broadens power throughout the rev range, while cylinder deactivation helps boost fuel economy. A seven-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matching is new, too.

Add this all up and you’re looking at the most complete and refined Corvette yet. Comparison shopped against the likes of the upcoming BMW M4, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG or Porsche

Boxster or Cayman, the Corvette Stingray promises dominating performance and competitive levels of refinement. It’s also an intriguing alternative to more expensive sports cars like the Nissan GT-R and SRT Viper.

What we have here is finally a Corvette without the apologies. And we’re pretty sure that translates quite easily into any language.

Interior design and special features

The quality of the materials is higher now, with a greater use of soft-touch materials and more prominent display of leather stitching. Even more important are the new seats; they’re more rigid and supportive this time around, and the newly optional competition-style seats should appease drivers who felt the previous seats didn’t provide enough lateral support during hard cornering.

Another bonus is the 15-cubic-foot cargo area that offers enough space for luggage, groceries or golf clubs, although it’s not as easy to hide or secure those items as it is in rival sports cars with true trunks.