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2014 Chevrolet Stingray Convertible – Home Run, Take Two

1/27/2015 1:24:53 AM
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After knocking the C7 out of the park, Chevy takes another big cut

This part of the two-lane back road was particularly rough, yet the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible showed absolutely no shake or rattle. It just rolled along, as rigid, tightly wound and complaint-free as Kim Jong Un’s family Christmas gathering.

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible showed absolutely no shake or rattle

We wondered aloud: “Is there any extra bracing at all on the chassis?”

“None,” said Dave Leone, GM’s executive chief engineer for performance luxury vehicles, from the passenger seat. “When a car’s designed properly, you don’t need it.”

In multiple drives in multiple Corvette Stingrays, we’ve seen no evidence the coupe wasn’t designed properly, an observation bolstered by the new convertible feeling absolutely rock-solid; and we’d take bets it stays that way 100,000 miles down the road. Yes, the targa coupe is slightly more rigid with the carbon-fiber top in place, but since the Stingray and its new aluminum frame have 60 percent better torsional rigidity than the outgoing model, we can suggest with near certainty that your butt isn’t sufficiently calibrated to tell the difference.

Convertible owners do not have to suffer with any sort of reduced performance. Suspension tuning is identical, with the same spring rates, stabilizer bars and damping. There’s the same direct-injected, 6.2-liter, 455-hp V8 engine (460 horses with the optional performance exhaust) and the same seven-speed manual transmission with rev matching (or the optional six-speed automatic).

The interior features the same high-quality materials as in the coupe, and the car displays the same eager driving reflexes and tenacious grip

The transmission in the test car was the Tremec seven-speed manual, and it’s good enough to make this the first Corvette in years we’d buy with a manual transmission, though there’s nothing wrong with the automatic.

EPA-rated fuel economy is 21 mpg combined, with 17 mpg city, 29 highway, the same as a manual-transmission coupe. Cruising at extra-legal speeds on level roads in seventh gear, we’d frequently see a consistent 35 or 36 mpg on the trip computer – after all, the engine is barely above idle at 70 mph.

The convertible’s weight is up 64 pounds; sticker price is up $5,000. This test car – painted a slightly clichéd torch red with an adrenalin-red leather-clad interior – started at $56,995.

It was a basic car, as much as any Stingray is “basic,” with the optional performance exhaust ($1,195), the MyLink system with navigation ($795) and red brake calipers ($595).

There's the same direct-injected, 6.2-liter, 455-hp V8 engine and the same seven-speed manual transmission with rev matching

It also had the $4,210 2LT package, which gets you a lot of interior features, including a color head-up display, a Bose 10-speaker sound system, heated and ventilated GT seats and an upgraded theft-deter-rent system. Shipping was $995, with the grand total $63,790. Dump the 2LT pack-age and the painted calipers, and you could trim that by $4,805 and barely notice.

So, aside from the $5,000 extra in price, what does the convertible cost you? Not much. The top stores under a separate hatch, reducing trunk room 5 cubic feet, but the remaining 10 still give you enough space for a weekend’s luggage. Since the top doesn’t directly invade the trunk’s space, there’s no need to make sure you have enough clearance before going topless.

At a timed 22 seconds top-up to top-down, this isn’t the quickest automatic convertible mechanism we’ve seen, but it will operate while the car is rolling at speeds up to 30mph. You can lower the top using the button on the key fob, too. Headroom, 38 inches with the top up, is the same as the coupe.

With the top up, the triple-layer sound deadening is so good Chevrolet insists the ride is actually quieter than in the coupe

One thing you get with the convertible is entirely unexpected: With the top up, the triple-layer sound deadening is so good Chevrolet insists the ride is actually quieter than in the coupe.

We had no measuring equipment, but it seems entirely believable. At 60 mph or so with the top down, wind buffeting is minimal, and normal conversation is possible. Except under hard acceleration, any-way – when you’d probably prefer to hear the exhaust note rather than whoever is sitting next to you.

If you want a convertible, Chevy gives you no real reason to pass on the Stingray, except for the modest price increase, though typically with Corvettes you’ll get some of that difference back in resale value. The company really hit one out of the park with the Sting-ray coupe and convertible. Having seen the 2015 StingrayZ06, we can tell you this: The hits just keep on coming.

Specs

         Price: $56,995

         Engine: 6.2-liter, 455-hp, 460-lb-ft V8; RWD, seven-speed manual

         Weight: 3362lb

         0-60mph: 3.9sec

         Economy: 17/29/21 mpg

 
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