Project C7 Corvette Stingray: Introduction Part 1

Project C7 Corvette Stingray Z51: Introduction (Part 1 of 2)

by Mike Kojima

MotoIQ recently suffered a great loss, our project Golf TDI. A victim of the great VW emissions scandal, we got a cash deal we couldn't refuse to return her to the motherland for whatever VW plans to do with all those dirty diesels. Although getting great money for a well-used car is always good, it still left us short one very versatile daily driver.  

So the search for the next MotoIQ long term project car started. We looked at a bunch of other cars to try to find a new unicorn. We wanted an STi or a Golf R but we already have a lot of WRX like things in the stable as well as a Golf R which ruled any of those out.

Next, we considered Camaro 1LE. When we went to test drive the Camaro, we liked its new LT1 performance but it had 4 problems that we couldn't get over. These were; 1) Visibility. Yes, it's supposed to be better than the larger Camaro before it, but it still sucked, and the car still feels big because of it. 2) The side window sill is way too high, if you have a Camaro you need to be able to hang your arm out the window or at least be able to rest your elbow on it and that wasn't possible in the new car. The high sill made it hard to see out of the car. Also, this contributes greatly to beef #1. 3)  It has a completely unusable backseat for anyone with legs. It's ok if it was designed for only 2 people, make the back seat area usable storage space or something.  4)  The trunk opening is on top, you can't get a camera case, for example, down into the hole of a trunk. This awful trunk space makes it hard to carry luggage or gear. 

While we were in the showroom waiting on the sales dude to get pricing or something, we sat in a C7 Stingray on a whim. All the problems the Camaro had, the Corvette solved, great visibility, the car doesn't feel big, the window sill is at a normal height, and most importantly, there is TONS of storage space in the rear hatch area believe it or not.

The Corvette driving experience was a whole lot better too. The car felt lighter, handles and responds exactly like you want it to.  We would never have considered a new Corvette but we got a stupid good deal on a 2016 3LT with the performance Z51 package and a 7-SPEED manual gearbox that had been on the lot forever down in San Diego probably because it's a manual and most elderly Corvette buyers have bad knees!

However, the C7 Corvette isn't just a weekend toy for the viagra set anymore.  It is a world class supercar loaded with features, materials, and technology that would unheard of from a domestic car company just a few short years ago.

 

The C7 is a complete redesign from the C6, it first came out in 2014. There is a few year over year additions we got on the 2016 that weren't available on older models.  

Off all the new features the C7 has to offer, one of the ones most appreciated by us are the forward facing cameras that keep us from smacking the front lip into parking curbs. It's kinda hard to judge distances over the long hood. If you have a low car with an airdam, you can't believe just how handy this feature is! We have seen everything from GT-R's to Porsches smacked up against parking blocks and curbs, and we will never do it to this car thanks to the cameras.

 

Our C7 is equipped with the high-performance Z51 package which includes: performance brakes/slotted brake rotors, dry sump oil system, Z51 performance suspension (specific shocks, springs and stabilizer bars), performance exhaust, P245/35ZR19 front and P285/30ZR20 rear tires, silver-painted aluminum, 19″ front and 20″ rear wheels, performance gear ratios, Electronic Limited Slip Differential, rear differential cooler, transmission cooling and Aero Package.

The Z51 package is the highest-performance Corvette short of the ZO6 and Grand Sport Models. Our car probably sat on the lot because most owners of fully loaded base Corvettes are mid-life crises non-enthusiasts that want a carrying case for a blonde or retirees that want a smooth ride, an automatic transmission, and room for golf clubs. Performance guys buy the ZO6 or the Grandsport and are done with it!

 

A large driving force of the C7 redesign was to provide a more aggressive appearance that would appeal to a younger demographic. GM's product planning data showed that 46 percent of Corvette owners were 55 or older.  

Chevy wanted to shed the old man's toy image the Corvette portrayed reasoning that no one wants to be seen driving an old man's car but everyone wants to drive a young man's car.  For this reason, the C7 looks low, aggressive and mean compared to its predecessor with angular styling and sharp edges.

 

Big Brembo brakes are part of the Z51 performance package, although impressive for standard equipment, they are still a step down from the huge anchors that come on the Z06 and the Grand Sport.

 

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