General Motors Company (GM), Ford Motor Company (F): Does the 2014 Corvette Stingray Live Up to the Hype?

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A historic look at the Corvette Lineup. Photo: General Motors.

Only a few special vehicles can reach the legendary status of an iconic American muscle car. Those special rides give the brand what is called a “halo” vehicle — a unique ride that draws consumers to the dealership. Because of the attention those vehicles garner, they mean much more to the brands than the sales they produce.

In that elite group are muscle cars such as Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)‘s Shelby Mustang and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)‘ Chevy Camaro and Corvette. There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the redesigned 2014 Chevy Corvette, but does it live up to the lofty expectations? More importantly, is General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) screwing it up by not allowing every dealership to have its halo vehicle? Here are the details, and what it means for consumers as well as GM investors.

Expectations and overview

“The convertible has been a part of the heart and soul of Corvette since the very beginning in 1953,” said Ed Welburn, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) vice president of global design. “With the all-new Corvette Stingray, we designed and developed the coupe and convertible simultaneously. As a result, the Corvette Stingray offers an open-top driving experience with no compromise in performance, technology, or design.”

As Welburn mentioned, there’s no sacrifice in performance, as the 2014 Corvette stingray is estimated to put out 450 horsepower and 610 newton meters of torque. If you’re comparing, that makes it the most powerful standard Corvette in its long history.

All the horsepower is produced by the Corvette’s 6.2L V8 engine, and its advanced combustion system obviously commands enough raw power and torque to embarrass any tricked-out Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) Civic rolling around your neighborhood. On top of embarrassing Fast and Furious wannabes, what’s even better about this generation of Corvette is the interior design.

While the outside of the Corvette has always screamed for attention with its aggressive styling, the interior design left much to be desired. With years of complaints from consumers and critics alike, Chevy designers finally placed the bulk of their attention on the interior issues. Consumers can rest assured that the interior is much improved. The interior offers carbon fiber and aluminum trims with hand-wrapped leather.

Interior of the 2014 Corvette. Photo: General Motors.

You can see the dual 8-inch infotainment screens that feature the Chevrolet “MyLink” system. The interior also boasts a nine-speaker Bose audio system that’s typically found in luxury models. Here are some of the other features for standard models, not including premium options.

1). Seating with lightweight magnesium frames for exceptional support, and eight-way power adjustment.
2). A five-position Drive Mode Selector that tailors up to 12 vehicle attributes.
3). A new seven-speed manual transmission with “Active Rev Matching.”
4). A carbon fiber hood on all models, and a carbon fiber removable roof panel on coupes.
5). Advanced high-intensity discharge (HID) and light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.
6). Keyless access with push-button start.7). Power tilt/telescope steering wheel.

While those features aren’t necessarily anything to write home about, the premium features listed on the Corvette website are impressive — you just have to pay up for them.

“The 2014 Corvette Stingray perfectly embodies Chevrolet’s mission to deliver more than expected for our customers,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet marketing. “The Corvette Stingray delivers a combination of performance, design, and technology that very few manufacturers can match, and none can even come close for $52,000.”

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