The seventh version of the best-selling American sports car was formally unveiled at a glitzy event in Detroit prior to this year’s Detroit Motor Show.
The arrival of the new Corvette coincides with the 60th anniversary of the original model’s debut in New York.
To warrant the badge, the new Corvette Stingray needed a dramatic look, and designers have delivered a sharp body with a carbon fibre bonnet and removable roof panel.
Although unmistakably a Corvette, there are obvious similarities to other models – front on there’s a clear resemblance to muscle car rival, the SRT Viper, while from certain angles there are also elements of the Nissan GT-R.
Under the skin, the aluminium frame is 57 per cent stiffer and 45kg lighter than the previous Corvette.
In standard trim, the Stingray gets a 444bhp 6.2-litre V8 delivering 610 Nm of torque, and does 0-60mph in under four seconds. This is the most powerful standard version of the Corvette ever, but even hotter versions will follow.
Economy figures aren’t yet available, but direct-injection, variable valve timing and the ability to shut down four cylinders on light throttle loads mean it uses less fuel despite the extra performance.
As with latest Porsche 911, a seven-speed manual, with rev-matching on downshifts, is available, as well as a six-speed auto box. Adjustable dampers and five driving modes should ensure a much broader character than at present – ranging from focused track car to comfortable tourer.
Handling is claimed to be much improved, too, with engineers insisting that a 50/50 weight balance will help ensure it is the best Corvette ever to drive.
Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer said: “The 2014 Corvette delivers the fastest acceleration, the most cornering grip, the most track capability, the best braking performance and what we expect to be the best fuel economy ever for a standard Corvette.”
And for those who want to pump up the fun factor even further, a Z51 Performance Package for track use will be offered. It features an electronic limited slip differential, a dry-sump oiling system and an aero package to improve stability.
Inside, the Corvette also ups its game, featuring a blend of carbon fibre, aluminium and hand-stitched leather, plus new seats and an eight-inch infotainment screen for the driver.
Prices haven’t been confirmed yet, but the new car is due to go on sale in the third quarter of this year and only in left-hand drive. As before, it will be made in its traditional home of Bowling Green, Kentucky.