After you've won accolades from the automotive press and enthusiasts, cleaned house at LeMans, and kept the assembly plant humming, what do you do if you're Chevrolet and it's time to trot out the '07 Vette? The answer is simple, really. You upgrade some of the hardware, add a few new goodies, and enhance the remainder of the package. In short, the best just gets better.
For 2006, the standard Corvette received an optional six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and the Z06 returned after a one-year absence. This year's package may not have anything as spectacular as 100 more horsepower or a new transmission, but '07 Corvettes do receive improvements, some significant and some that will likely be relegated to next year's Corvette Trivia Game.
Let's start with the basics. For 2007, there are no changes to the model or engine lineups. The coupe and convertible are still powered by the 400hp LS2, with a choice of six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions. The Z06 powerplant remains the LS7, good for 505 hp with the six-speed manual only. The slippery (0.286 cd) body is unchanged and can still cut through the air at a maximum velocity of 186 mph. And if you're going to go that fast, you might as well be comfortable. With that in mind, we'll review what's new this season.
The bulk of the enhancements for 2007 appear in the cockpit. Most apparent are the optional two-tone perforated leather seats offered with the 2LT and 3LT equipment packages. Available on both coupe and convertible models, and in a choice of Red, Cashmere, or Titanium, the seats are finished off with crossed-flags embroidery and contrasting stitching. The package also includes contrasting colors on the console, door panels, and lower instrument panel.
Buying the optional Bose audio system will deliver steering-wheel mounted audio controls, and you'll probably rejoice at the '07 model's larger glove-compartment space. Z06 buyers may now enjoy the safety and security of OnStar when they specify the 2LZ package. The same 6.5-inch color touch screen is shared with the standard Corvette and the Z06. And if you're looking for a convertible, you'll be interested to know that the power soft top is now included as standard equipment in the 3LT package.
Underneath, the C6 architecture carries over unchanged. What is new for 2007 is the availability of the heavy-duty, cross-drilled rotors-previously offered only as part of the Z51 package-with the Magnetic Selective Ride Control option. The latter suspension features magnetorheological dampers able to "read" road surfaces and adjust the damping rates to those surfaces almost instantly for optimal ride control.
Other significant changes include the introduction of a new color, Atomic Orange Tintcoat Metallic, which replaces last year's popular Daytona Sunset Orange Metallic. Also new for '07 is an extensive menu of GM-approved customization accessories, including an underhood blanket, racing-stripe and body-side-molding packages, stainless mesh inserts for the front grille and side coves, premium floor mats, and a protective cover for the rear fascia.
The Corvette has long been one of the few bright spots in GM's moribund passenger-car lineup. Though subtle, this year's enhancements promise to have the car shining more brightly than ever.
New Ray Set To Sting?
Rumors continue to fly about a $100,000 "Super Corvette" under consideration by GM. While such a model would represent the next logical step in the evolution of the brand, the General's ongoing fiscal woes and a rumored personnel shake-up at the highest levels of management mean the project is far from a sure thing.
The most recent scuttlebutt has the car being called the "Sting Ray," rather than "SS" or "Blue Devil," as previously suggested. If given the green light, the new Ray could hit dealer showrooms in very limited numbers before the 2007 model year is over. Packing a supercharged 427ci V-8-dubbed the LS9-and extensive carbon fiber, the car would produce a minimum of 600 hp and weigh just 2,900 pounds.
The LS9 would place the blower compressor down low in the lifter valley, with the blower drive snout just ahead of the front-mounted throttle body. Air would flow upward to an air-to-water intercooler and then back into the intake ports, an arrangement somewhat akin to the one used on Cadillac's supercharged Northstar engines.
Production would be limited to 500 units.