The rollout party for the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette continues, with the C7 convertible making its debut this week at the Geneva Motor Show.
The words "Corvette" and "convertible" have gone together since the first fiberglass sports car debuted for 1953. Like that original, the C7 convertible has a cloth top. In the premium market the convertible plays, the lack of a retractable hardtop may at first seem an odd omission. However, despite their virtues, retractable hardtops weigh much more than a cloth top and also gobble up more cargo space—sometimes all of it. With a modern Corvette, that would be a shame, as much effort has gone into creating enough space for golf clubs.
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Top-down motoring should add even more appeal to this promising car, which marks a more dramatic styling statement compared to the current C6 model. (Read: "Stunning new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray breaks cover.")
The Corvette Stingray frame is all aluminum, boasting 57-percent greater stiffness than before, while shaving almost 100 lbs. (With the C6, only the high-dollar Z06 and ZR-1 had aluminum frames.)
A new V8 engine, dubbed LT1, produces a Chevrolet-estimated 450 horsepower and 450 lbs.-ft. of torque. The engine is teamed with a choice of a six-speed, paddle-shifted automatic or seven-speed manual transmission, each fitted to the rear to balance weight distribution.
To aid performance, the C7 features the next-generation magnetic ride control system, with quick-reacting shocks that can transition from holding the road to absorbing harsh impacts in the blink of an eye. The Z51 performance package returns, offering heightened grip to the tune of a claimed 1 g in lateral acceleration. The driver is able to select from three modes to dial in the appropriate personality for the task, making attitude adjustments among a dozen systems, such as the electronic limited-slip differential, exhaust, transmission, launch control, and stability control.
Chevrolet is claiming that 0-60 mph sprints will be at a rocket-like sub-4 seconds—blazingly quick. If Eco mode is selected, the car will favor four-cylinder operation until hard acceleration is summoned by the right foot. With the top down, hats will need to be secured.
An on-sale date has not been announced, but hopefully it will be in summer 2013 when the coupe arrives, allowing the convertible to be enjoyed in all parts of the country before winter chill sets in.