We wouldn’t by lying if we said that Chevrolet stole the 2013 Detroit Auto Show when it introduced the all-new C7 Corvette Stingray coupe in January. And with the introduction of the coupe out of the way, we quickly began to see renderings of the coupe’s topless sister. Just a few short hours ago, Chevrolet pulled (all) the wraps off the 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible at the Geneva Motor Show.
For starters, let’s get this out of the way: the convertible is the same car as the coupe. Whereas most convertibles are in some way braced, reinforced, or in some other way beefed up to accommodate the lack of the structural element that is the roof, the Corvette enjoys the advantage of having been designed for the open-air experience from the get-go — an attribute that allows its soft-top variant to have identical specifications as the coupe. In fact, both the coupe and convertible have the same dimensions — in particular, they are the same in height and perfect 50/50 weight distribution. In addition, the stiff yet lightweight aluminum frame that’s 57 percent stiffer and 99 pounds lighter than the steel frame from the C6, is common to both the coupe and convertible.
“The convertible has been a part of the heart and soul of Corvette since the very beginning in 1953″, points out GM’s global design chief Ed Welburn. “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.”
The commonality between the seventh-generation Corvette coupe and convertible is accentuated even further when taking into consideration the fact that the coupe is no stranger to the open-air experience itself thanks to its removable carbon fiber roof panel. The only changes made to the soft-top model compared to the coupe were to provide the various elements for the folding soft top as well as the resulting change in the location of the seat belts. In addition, the space immediately behind and between the two front seats, commonly referred to as “the waterfall”, continues to wear body color paint with a sexy Corvette logo, while the soft top is covered by a body-colored access panel. Outside of those modifications, the cabin of the convertible is the same as that of the coupe.
The fully-electric push-button soft-top can be operated at speeds of up to 30 mph; it can also be raised and lowered using the key fob — providing the perfect opportunity to surprise (or scare) unassuming passer-bys or gawkers.
The rag top is extremely well-sealed and quiet, complemented by a glass rear window. This is in part thanks to the top’s three-layer design and sound-absorbing padding. By comparison, the last-generation Corvette Convertible utilized a less effective five-layer soft top.
One last difference of the 2014 Stingray Convertible is the lack of air intakes at the top of the car’s rear fenders (that we like to refer to as “the hips”). Instead, the air to cool the transmission and differential is drawn from under the car.
Other than that, the Stingray Convertible is the Stingray Coupe, powered by the same 6.2 liter LT1 V8 engine making 450 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a seven-speed Tremec manual transmission with rev-matched upshift and downshifts, or the six-speed paddle-shifted automatic; expect the same 0-60 time of “under four seconds”. Just like the coupe, the ragtop will also sport the new drive-mode selector. And those who feel the need for more oomph can always spring for the Z51 performance package.
Production of the 2014 Corvette Stingray coupe and convertible will commence in the second and third quarters of 2013, with dealer availability in both North American and Europe by the end of the year.