New Corvette teased and leaked ahead of January unveil

The longest-lasting American supercar enters its seventh generation in 2013, heralded by official and unofficial photos and specs.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet released a camouflaged virtual prototype of the seventh generation Corvette in Gran Turismo 5. GM

At the Detroit auto show next month, Chevrolet will unveil the 2014 Corvette, the seventh generation of the legendary American supercar. GM's own media releases ahead of the launch reveal a modern, high-tech car that should compete with the best from Europe. At the same time, it appears Chevy addressed a long-time Corvette issue: cabin quality.

To date, the most reliable information available concerns the new Corvette's engine. GM released a presentation detailing construction, testing, and specifications for this new powerplant. The engine, designated LT1, replaces the outgoing LS3.

Although it retains the 6.2-liter displacement of the LS3, the new LT1 engine realizes an increase of 20 horsepower and 26 pound-feet of torque due to a new direct injection fuel system and compression of 11.5:1. Chevy estimates total output at 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Continuous variable valve timing, similar to that used on the LS3, helps efficiency.

Chevy expects the new Corvette to deliver 26mpg on the highway due to the engine's Active Fuel Management system, which reduces the number of pistons in use during certain driving conditions, such as highway cruising, to half of the eight that are available.

Chevy released a number of videos teasing the development of the new Corvette on its YouTube channel. The second video, titled "Calibration," reveals some new elements in the instrument cluster, most notably use of LCDs to show driver-relevant information. However, rather than going with a full LCD panel, it looks like Chevrolet retained analog gauges for speedometer and tachometer.

One of the Corvette videos shows extensive leather working, suggesting that Chevrolet will introduce a better quality cabin than in years past.

Last month, Chevrolet partnered with Sony to offer a camouflaged prototype of the new Corvette in Gran Turismo 5, giving gamers an official look at the shape of the upcoming car. In the last few days, sketches of the new Corvette leaked to the Internet, confirming and elucidating details from the game vehicle.

Although retaining the same two-seater front-engine layout, the Corvette's profile looks more like a grand tourer, with a higher fastback design. The side view shows aggressive front fender vents.

The rear of the car shows wide fenders bookending a hatchback that gets narrower towards the back, similar to the classic 1963 Sting Ray. The squarish taillights seem to borrow their shape from the Camaro. Underneath, it looks like Chevy developed a modern, aggressive diffuser to help airflow. Four exhaust pipes meet at the center rear of the car.

The new Corvette will face stiff competition from the SRT Viper, its rival among American supercars. Chevrolet will unveil this new model, officially the Corvette C7, in Detroit on January 13.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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