A Refresh for the C6 Corvette, Finally, and Rumors of New C7

2009 Stingray Centennial concept

Corvette fans love their cars, leaf springs, bad interiors and all. Over the years (and six generations of Corvettes) they have been generally put down by lovers of fine European sports machines. Snubbed and snobbed, Corvette fans don’t care, because they know they’re driving a bargain performance car.

But the present Corvette has been getting long in the tooth, and sales in 2010 were dismal (12,624 sold). As of April, Chevy has sold 4,293 cars to date in 2011, up almost 22 percent. Rebates and financing deals have helped.

So, finally, GM is making appropriate noises about refreshing the car for 2012, hoping to keep these dedicated buyers in the fold. Finally, the base car gets a better interior, and the Z06 gets some new Michelins, new brakes, spoiler and other cosmetic stuff.

What’s really needed, of course, is a new car. But a “completely different” C7 (per GM’s Mark Reuss) won’t happen until 2013, and the company is being very coy about any details, so rumors abound.

Autocar claims that a midengine layout is “a strong possibility,” though that would require an entirely new platform. A turbo V6 is more likely to be offered as an option to the V8, which may get downsized from 6.2 liters to 5.5, but still produce in the 440-hp range.

Corvette, door openRampant speculation continues over what the C7 might look like. It might very well use much of the design of the 2009 Stingray Centennial concept (at right), which would indeed be a hoot.

Ed Wellburn, GM’s VP for design, has called the present cockpit “a disappointment” and promised the new C7 interior will be “absolutely world class.”

GM announced last week it would invest $131 million in its Bowling Green, Ky., plant to produce the new car. I think it would be foolish to go midengine, with all the engineering and development problems that would entail. Let the car have a flashy new look, an efficient V6 for power, and keep producing 4.2-second 0-60 mph times.

And keep the base price in the $50K range. Corvettes have always held their value pretty well, but I am seeing some substantial bargains on DealFinder.

Does the Corvette still maintain its iconic status? Why so, or why not?


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  1. Yes there is a mechanical backup. In general there is a large lack of knowledge about Corvettes. The C6 is much “Better” than the M3 in all the ways that are important to Corvette drivers, namely looks, and performance.. although I do admit the M3 looks pretty good in the rear view mirror of my C6.

  2. There is nothing wrong with the current vettes..except the electronic door system…scary. I currently own thre vettes and have been a vette owner for twenty years since I got my first at 18yoa which I still have in my possesion. the whole electronic door opening mechanism scares the crap out of me..god forbid you are in an accident and need to get out of the car with a smashed battery….eek, scarry or is there a mechanical backup that I am just not privy to since my newest vette is a ’94?

  3. Just to refine my comments. The C6 was better than the C5 I drove, not the BMW M3. I honestly can’t think of a single instance of “better” when comparing the two except for BMW’s weird electronics.

  4. I have mixed feelings about Corvette. I spent some time in the tribology department at GM, and drove a Corvette convertible for two years doing a test. I admit I grew to revile the car. It was junky, squeeky, rattle-ey, noisy, leaky and the valves would float before yellow line, making the engine sound like a smoker running a marathon. I wish I could say it was a blunt instrument, but it wasn’t that good. In the past few years we started using a C6 for basic driver training, as well as a BMW M3. The C6 was better, but it never had the feeling of refinement and smoothness of the M3. Not a good comparison when the price was about even. The first Corvette I ever drove was a 1963 split-window coupe. It’s pretty easy to impress a 17-year-old, and driving the car remains a happy memory, but I realize by today’s standards is wasn’t a very good car.
    If I could give any advice to GM, it would be this: If you expect Corvette to be a flagship performance car for Chevy and GM, make it a flagship, not a cheap supercar. Is there any reason why GM can’t sell a $150,000 supercar? They can if it’s truly a supercar, and not the usual GM group-think marketing creation. Forget the outdated pushrod V8’s, front engine/rear drive cliche’ that Corvette has come to represent.

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