Chevrolet has just announced an updated powertrain for the 2015 Corvette Convertible: a new eight-speed automatic transmission adds two gears and improves sprint pace for this incredibly impressive drop-top.
This is in addition to the new-for-2015 Pacific track pack for the coupe and Atlantic aero pack for the convertible (special package details below). Good additions all around!
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
I am the biggest Corvette Stingray "convert" for this C7 generation - a true believer these days.
This is coming from someone who has long scoffed at the Corvette, even as the ZR-1 blazed back to reality in recent years. I just was stuck with the old thoughts of perves driving the 1980s cars, or old fat men driving the 1990s cars.
But then I got some time behind the wheel of the coupe in October 2013, and it all changed.
I was like a man who had found sportscar God. Eager to tell friends and strangers alike how incredibly fun and tactile and fast the Corvette had become.
Seeing this yummy yellow convertible in the media cars area of Road America this week was therefore a bit like the "Second Coming" for this born-again Corvette enthusiast.
How did the reality of 100-plus MPH driving around the track and big launches on the street compare to the coupe - and stack up in the context of European sportscars like the M5 and and BMW 435i Cabrio?
Or how did it compare with the Bentley Continental GT W12 Speed or Bentley Conti GT V8 S?
Read on to find out...!
The Corvette's appearance for 2014 is the most traditional aspect of the car's appeal for long-time devotees. It is instantly a Corvette from all angles - especially from afar, where its proportions and key detailing make it one-of-a-kind.
This is not exactly a great thing for someone who never liked Corvettes before, and it takes upclose time with the new panels to appreciate the differences of the new generation.
The unpainted carbon-fiber of the Coupe's targa panel is outstanding, as are the front fender slashes and even the hood's subtle aero bulge lines. The Convertible is much fresher overall, with more emphasis on the well-done shrouded roof tonneau in body color. The rear end of the Convertible stands even prouder than the COupe for its freshness - especially when fitted with the big rear spoiler in painted or contrast-black finish. It helps the car to feel as fresh and wonderful as it is.
From directly behind, you are 100-percent sure this is the new Corvette. The new taillights are actually pretty cool LEDs when lit by the brakes, and the bumper's sheer face and black vents are nice embellishments also. It tells a performance story loud and clear -- almost as loud as the quad central exhaust pipes, in fact...
The interior of the new Corvette Stingray is where things are almost unrecognizably-improved versus all that have come before. Not just better materials: everything actually fits tightly and has zero apparent flex. Not one hint of scuttle shake in the front windshield was felt over rough roads on the LT3 Z51's Track setting -- just one below full-on Race mode.
The Corvette comes in three trims: 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. The price difference between the base and loaded cars is about $20,000 -- and a big chunk of that change goes inside. The pricier cars are so, so much nicer than the base cars that the 3LT would be my only recommendation. At least the 2LT -- the 1LT is still built tighter but loses much of the soft-touch and low-sheen leather dash wraps and carbon bits.
INTERIOR COMPARISONS BY TRIM LEVEL
I prefer the tans and browns, which are a 2LT and 3LT exclusive. Selected examples below.
This latest test car lacked the performance seats, and was a bit tougher to (quickly) get comfortable in than I recall the coupe being previously. Adjustable bolsters are nice, but can pinch in the wrong butt size setting, obviously. =]
POWER and TRACK PERFORMANCE
The Convertible felt even better than the Coupe on this summer day. With the top down and the gas pedal hard down too, you can see and feel the huge rush of power in the below track video.
PRICING AND CONFIGURATION RECOMMENDATIONS
The most critical options I noticed on the otherwise very loaded 3LT Z51?
-- Performance exhaust with 4-inch quad pipes, a jump of half an inch and a much deeper active baffle setting in race mode
-- Magnetic suspension is optional as well, and highly recommended
-- Sport bucket seats and upgraded cabin trims: definitely a must to have the experience and cabin quality read about in the magazines. Please see the cabin comparisons below.
Pricing is from about $60,000 up to just under $80,000 as equipped with the options in my build below.
Vote on your favorites here! The overall winners were green, red and white. My pick? White with black wheels.
The 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible is no longer the 'soft' option. It is no longer the cruiser of the range: it likes to party and race as much as any of the hardest coupes.
This is part of the reason even the mighty Z06 model will offer a drop-top version for 2015.
The seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic are your biggest things to consider -- once you have stumped for the 2LT or 3LT trim levels, that is...
The car is outstanding in nearly every way.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible - HIGH-RES PHOTO GALLERY
2015 CORVETTE OFFERS ATLANTIC, PACIFIC DESIGN PACKAGES
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Chevrolet announced today the 2015 Corvette Stingray will be available in two new Design Packages: the Atlantic luxury convertible and the Pacific performance coupe. They go on sale later this year with the rest of the 2015 Corvette Stingray lineup.
“One of the design goals for the Corvette Stingray was to provide customers with the flexibility to tailor the car to their personality,” said Kirk Bennion, Corvette exterior design manager. “The Atlantic and Pacific Design Packages were originally designed to showcase how the Stingray could be configured as a luxury sport GT car or as a high-performance motorsport car.”
The Corvette Stingray Atlantic convertible and Corvette Stingray Pacific coupe concepts were introduced last fall at the SEMA Show. A strong response from enthusiasts helped influence production. They are the latest Chevrolet concepts from SEMA that made concept to reality. Several Camaros, such as the Hot Wheels edition, and the Sonic Dusk are now in production.
“We plan to make news with the Corvette Stingray every year, in part by offering special-edition models that offer a unique, personal ownership experience,” said Todd Christensen, Corvette marketing manager. “Our customers have told us they appreciate these limited-edition models, which have become an important part of the Corvette’s legacy.”
Luxury GT-focused Atlantic Convertible
The 2015 Corvette Stingray Atlantic Design Package is inspired by the luxury and performance of private jets seen at European vacation destinations. Offered exclusively on Z51-equipped convertibles, it is available in 2LT or 3LT trims, with the following unique features and content:
Front Z06-style splitter
Shark Gray exterior vents, hood “stinger” graphic and tonneau inserts
Chrome Torque wheels with Stingray center caps
Stingray underhood liner and floor mats
Custom splash guards, rear license plate frame and logo valve stem caps
The Atlantic Design Package is available in all colors offered on the Corvette Stingray.
Track-focused Pacific Coupe
The 2015 Corvette Stingray Pacific Design Package is inspired by West Coast drivers who attend weekend track events. It is offered exclusively as a Z51-equipped coupe, in 2LT and 3LT trims, with the following unique content:
Color choices of Torch Red, Black, Arctic White, Blade Silver and Shark Gray – a new color for 2015
Satin black full-length racing stripes
Satin black Z51 wheels with red stripe and Stingray center caps
“CFZ” carbon fiber ground effects package and visible carbon fiber roof panel
Carbon Flash rear spoiler, outside mirrors and exterior badges
Red brake calipers
Competition Sport Seats in red or black
Carbon fiber interior trim, Stingray sill plates and Stingray floor mats
Custom splash guards and rear license plate frame
Indoor car cover (gray).
As with other 2015 models, Corvette’s new Performance Data Recorder is available on the Atlantic and Pacific, as well as an all-new eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. A seven-speed manual transmission is standard.
The Performance Data Recorder combines the ability to record and share drive videos with the power of a professional-level telemetry system. With included software, users can analyze their laps to improve their driving and lap times. The system includes a high-definition camera integrated into the interior’s rearview mirror assembly.
The new paddle-shift eight-speed is designed to deliver world-class shift times that rival the best dual-clutch designs, and is expected to contribute up to 5-percent greater efficiency, when compared to the previous six-speed automatic. EPA estimates are pending.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.