I. Have. got. to. get. me. one. of. these.
Will Smith, Independence Day
Smith wasn't talking about the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray C7 with 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque out of a 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated direct-injection when he said this, but it is the first thing I thought when I slid into the cockpit of the all-aluminum, all new seven-speed manual gearbox with active rev-matching. It was also the second thing I thought as the car took off as though it were an alien spaceship being used to attack the mothership that was attacking earth.
The structure of the C6 has been replaced and thinned down 100 pounds to create a stiffer structure. The midfront-mounted V-8 engine has a beautiful throttle sound as I feel the G-force throw me back. The smile creeps in as I wind around the golden hills of California on the backroads of Monterey on the eve of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the classic car event of the year. It was only fitting that Chevrolet brought a bevy of their classic beauties to the event.
The five driving modes, Eco, Normal, Winter, Sport and Track all give a distinct, refined drive, not just through the suspension but in the instrument panel. From the Eco mode you get the obligatory green screen, and the deactivation from 8-cylinders to 4-cylinders, to give our car around 30 miles per gallon. The Track screen mimics a race car for information. This function alone adds a value to the car that I haven't found in any other sports car priced in the category a new Stingray ($52,000-$70,000).
The Michelin run-flat 19-inch and 20-inch wheels (front/rear) are some of the best ridding run-flats I have ever experienced. The run-flats are the first for Michelin on a U.S. manufacturer. The tires are fitted with sensors that tell the car when the tires are getting hot and when they are not at their optimum air pressure. The Stingray is sweet and steady on the road, secure in it's manliness as it struts its stuff in 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
Most impressive was the seat for the Corvette. I didn't get anywhere near the top speed of 190 miles per hour, but the speeds I did reach made me glad the seats were solid enough to hold me tight around the curves.
Somewhere during the ride my mind shifts to the legacy of a Harley Davidson. There's a certain bad boy attitude with the Harley and the Corvette, a James Dean, rebel without a cause feeling that harkens to open roads while singing out loud I'm proud to be an American.
There aren't many people who will think that they are going to buy a Porsche just because of the numbers, but the numbers given by Tadge Juerchlin, chief engineer for Corvette, are impressive and probably have the folks at Porsche a tad (not Tadge) concerned. Pounds per horsepower - power to weight ratio - is a great measuring stick for a sports car. Juerchlin says the Corvette is 7.7 pounds per horsepower while Porsche is laden down with 9 pounds per horsepower.
My buddy, and colleague, Pulitzer prize winner and writer for the Wall Street Journal, Dan Neil, took me for a couple laps around the autocross that Chevy set up at an airport in Monterey. Neil tested the limits of the car, taking out not just one cone, but a family of cones, both of us laughing the entire way. Skirting through the cones, testing the limit of the rear-wheel drive, sliding back into the lane with the ease of a car that knows it is sleek , so it doesn't have to show off.
The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray C7 is designed for the 21st century. The long lineage that precludes this Corvette can hold their heads high, knowing that the legacy lives on.
At the end of the movie, Independence Day, fighter pilots Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum slay the alien mothership and save the world.
Celebrate your independence. The next generation is here.