No matter that the Corvette ZR1 is faster than an Enzo and a 911 around the 'Ring. No matter that a Z06 regularly spanks BMWs at track events. No matter the growl of a Corvette V8 always turns heads, whether you're in Athens, Georgia or Athens, Greece.
The Corvette isn't "world class." It's too crude. Too loud. Too American.
Bullshit. If the new Corvette isn't world class then it's because the world hasn't invented that class yet.
Here's what makes the 2014 Corvette the sports car you no longer have to make excuses to drive.
Owning a Corvette these days requires explaining that no, you're not going through a midlife criss. No, you don't own a bait shop or a Tommy Bahama shirt. No your forum avatar isn't a woman with a gigantic backside making pancakes.
Those kinds of Corvette buyers (i.e. most Corvette buyers) could be offended by the more European-style exterior design and the no longer embarrassing interior, but more likely they'll just be happy to get the respect they know they deserve.
Aesthetically, the Corvette makes the first massive visual leap since the C5. (yes, it looks familiar for those of you who frequent Jalopnik, but there simply isn't time to gloat right now. Later). Yes, it still looks American. There's the iconic short tail and long nose. The cockpit still retains the jet fighter-inspired dual cockpit, and of course the "cove" inlet aft of the front wheels.
From there it ventures into new territory. People have compared it to such disparate designs as the Ferrari 599 and Nissan GT-R, thanks to the blacked-out A-pillar, elongated greenhouse, and completely new kinked rear. I hope you like vents, because it's basically an outdoor A/C unit. Vents on the tail, vents on the side, and I think there's a vent in the gearshift.
Yes, the twin taillights are there, but now they're more Camaro-esque and square. This has upset the Corvette faithful the most, yet if they care about the brand they'll eventually accept it needed to move forward. The same goes for the multifunction HID headlights. You can see more in the Road & Track photo gallery right here.
The interior finally looks like it's deserving of a car being sold in the 21st century. It had to grate on Corvette owners a little bit that their neighbor's $14,000 Hyundai made their car look like a Chinese knockoff of a sports car.
Now the Vette's interior been turned into a leather and carbon fiber sex chamber that would be familiar to someone who knows the Corvette but upgraded with interior materials not stolen from a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. There's also the all digital gauge cluster, which allows the driver to select the desired information and a larger, integrated digital dash (with redundant controls, Thank God). The wheel insert is even in the shape of… a Stingray!
And what's that poking out from the center tunnel? Why yes, it is a 7-speed transmission. Following on the example set out by Porsche, Corvette's latest manual has seven forward gears. For those not opting for a manual transmission there's a six-speed automatic.
As we already knew, power for that transmission comes from the new 450 horsepower 6.2-liter Gen V LT1 V8, which will feature cylinder deactivation to improve the phallic sports car's mileage to something a little more acceptable. Oh, and it still has the transverse leaf-springs.
The new car is debuting with two trims: Stingray and the return of the Z51 (which was briefly the Grandsport). The Stingray is the base and gets the stingray badges above the front vents. The Z51 adds larger Brembo brakes, larger wheels, and optional variable-damping Magnetic Ride Control.
More info coming soon as we get it, but the message is clear: America's new Corvette is the World's problem.
Photo Credit: Getty Images