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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The New Chevrolet Corvette (Apparently)

It looks 'shawped. I can tell from teh pixels and from seeing quite a few shawps in mah tahm.
38 minutes after they said they would, Jalopnik have released what they say are images showing exactly what the next Chevrolet Corvette will look like. For some reason they based it on an assumed ZR1 version, so I had a go at toning it down to show you what the normal C7 Corvette may very well look like. I'm having mixed feelings towards it even after de-ricing it. Here's what else The Internet may know about it....

So we have a rough idea of its appearance, but what else do we know? Well, it will be the second production car (after the Porsche 991) to have a 7-speed manual gearbox, because Americans can like totally do anything Yurpeens can. In fact, the new car is apparently designed to "look more European". Why? As the premier American sports car (read: only American sports car), it should look distinctively American. What they appear to mean by looking 'more European' is that they've added rear quarter windows for the first time - taken straight from an Aston Martin Vanquish - and headlights from the AMG SLS or the (Japanese) Nissan GT-R. These details and Camaro-esque tail lights have mixed in with the now-familiar Corvette shape; a low, pointy nose, long bonnet, sloping roof and very square tail, all of which now has more creases in it than a hobo's trousers.

Anyway, it is of course going to be powered by a V8. At one point it was going to be a small-capacity V8 that revved very high, but they seem to have decided against being too revolutionary (and haven't made it mid-engined either), as they've stuck with a 6.2-litre engine, now with direct injection, which will of course be more powerful and more efficient than the LS3 in the C6 'Vette, whose platform this will share when it arrives in 2013. The 7-Speed transmission will mean shorter gear ratios than before, which is a good thing, as the Corvette had very long gears, partly for fuel economy. This way, it can still do that, but the acceleration will improve. Or, the acceleration will be the same and it will have one more gear for cruizin'. If I remember correctly, the C6 Corvette in at least one guise didn't need 6th gear to reach its top speed. With shorter gears it might stay in the main power band more, and might grab a few more miles per hour in 6th, while still having 7th for doing 80mph at 2000rpm or something.

To your right is the original version of the image I played around with. The people at Jalopnik (who are making a big fuss about this, by the way) decided to go straight for the ZR1 they supposedly saw in person and rendered that instead, and so it looks very busy. To try and see the standard car - and to play around with GIMP 2.0 that I recently downloaded - I decided to tone it down a bit. The ZR1 version will apparently have a big front splitter, a lip spoiler on the back and many, many vents, perhaps to help cool some supercharged 700-horsepower beast under the bulging bonnet (although what on earth's the vent above the rear wheel supposed to do???). The heat vent in front of the doors, I've decided, will be bigger for the ZR1, to show it has more engine under there. It will also have a large rear diffuser and four big round exhaust pipes in the middle, much like the C6 ZR1 everyone in America's very proud of. I haven't played with the rear-left view shot of it yet, because I'd only do the same things to it and then set about making the diffuser smaller. Despite rumours, there won't be a C2 Corvette Stingray-style split rear window.

Is any of this accurate? Annoyingly - or perhaps helpfully for Jalopnik - we won't be able to find out until 2013, at which point we'll all have forgotten about these images, Porsche will have released about 5 new versions of the 911 (991), and I will be about 21. Scary. General Motors say that the new Corvette will be "world-class", and compete with the likes of Ferrari or Lamborghini. Them's fightin' words! Maybe I still fail to take American sports cars seriously, and maybe nowadays that's a failing on my part, but I just don't see it. Current Corvettes are all driven by old people in Florida, save for some drag racing enthusiasts and those living near Laguna Seca who have Z06s and ZR1s, and a shonky plastic car cannot compete with the Porsche 911, even if they have now Googled "The Nurburgring" on their iPhones and discovered what corners are. One stand-out criticism of the C6 'Vette is the interior, which is as hideous and plastic as Europeans have come to expect of them, and perhaps the money GM saved on not developing a new platform for this car has gone into materials and fit 'n' finish instead.

To be honest though, I'm being cruel here. The C7 Corvette will probably be a vast improvement over the C6. It may even handle well and be compared to something European in UK magazines without losing. I just can't shake off something about American cars though. I guess it's a prejudice, of sorts. Even when the Dodge Viper ACR-X snatched the Nordschleife lap record for production cars, it was just like "oh, that's nice for them", or maybe even "big deal". It's not helped by Americans on the internet trying to force their cars down our throats in an overly proud and defensive manner, like they're all pissed off about prejudiced people like me saying their cars are worse. Let the cars do the talking, please. Stop yelling and swearing and saying I'm an idiot for preferring a Nissan GT-R or a Porsche 911. You don't see me saying you're a burger-mauling imbecile for not preferring a Jaguar XKR, do you?

Anyway, I digress. This is the new Corvette, if Jalopnik's apparently petty head writer is to be believed. Enjoy the pictures. I will post more technical information when I find it.

That front bumper has a hint of Ferrari 458 in it from this angle.

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