Indeed, the new word in the Stingray’s vocabulary is “structure.” Every good thing about it—its refinement and drivability, the fine-tuning of each of the five driving modes (Eco, Normal, Winter, Sport and Track), the “sportivity,” as the Germans would call it—is thanks primarily to its new rigid cartilage of alloy tubes, panels and extrusions. This is pretty much the technology Scaglietti uses to build the monocoque of the Ferrari 458 (except that car has a stressed aluminum skin); Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Lotus use something similar. Corvette doubters are going to have to show me a better mass-production chassis that is priced anything like a new Stingray ($52,000-$70,000).
Wait, there is actually one. Anybody? The Tesla Model S.
Arcane figures about Stingray’s torsional rigidity translate in the cabin to a sense of things being tightly tamped and torqued down. That is definitely novel for Corvette. The new car is almost entirely cured of Corvette’s distinctive cowl-shake or unpleasant noise, vibration and harshness. In previous ‘Vettes, hitting a big pothole would send an undamped shudder through the structure and, if the car was cornering, it would take a moment to recompose itself and regain the trace. In the C7, such impacts are reduced to a single, tympanic thump, instantly dissipated.
In fuel-saving Eco driving mode, the Stingray can deactivate four of its eight cylinders (itself a neat trick in a cam-in-block V8), helping the base car to lope to a 30-miles-per-gallon highway mileage rating. And yet the fluttering off and on of these cylinders, in this high-compression (11.5:1) V8, is virtually undetectable.
Code, you want code? In order to better calibrate the behavior of the various adaptive driving modes (weather, eco, tour, sport and track)—modulating no less than 12 vehicle systems including the electric steering and magnetic adaptive dampers—the Stingray Z51’s 19- and 20-inch wheels (front/rear) are fitted with tiny temperature sensors, because warm tires behave differently than cold tires. But because these sensing thermocouples heat up more slowly than the air inside the tires, their signals go through a special temperature-estimating algorithm before they are processed by the driving-mode head office.