It seems that the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 took the limelight at the still-running 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. But this is not a surprise being an American car making its debut at the first American auto show of this year, especially when it bears the iconic “Stingray” nameplate.

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“Stingray is one of the hallowed names in automotive history,” said General Motors (GM) Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn. “We knew we couldn’t use the Stingray name unless the new car truly lived up to the legacy. The result is a new Corvette Stingray that breaks from tradition, while remaining instantly recognizable as a Corvette the world over.”

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“Like the ’63 Sting Ray, the best Corvettes embodied performance leadership, delivering cutting-edge technologies, breathtaking design and awe-inspiring driving experiences,” said GM North America President Mark Reuss. “The all-new Corvette goes farther than ever, thanks to today’s advancements in design, technology and engineering.”

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Although its silhouette looks similar to the outgoing model, this C7 incorporates a new frame structure and chassis, a new powertrain and supporting technologies, as well as completely new exterior and interior designs. Chevrolet claims that no single detail was repeated although it does feature the distinctive profile of ‘a long dash-to-axle ratio and the greenhouse evoking the canopy of a fighter jet with dual-element taillamps’.

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“For the new Corvette to be called a Stingray, it had to deliver an incredible, purposeful visual impact – just as the original did in 1963,” said GM Exterior Design Director Tom Peters. “That visual impact is evident in fighter jets and the Stingray animal itself. Their beauty comes from their purpose, designed to cut through air or water as quickly and efficiently as possible. As with aircraft and living forms, every transition on every surface of the Corvette Stingray serves a purpose executed with beauty and proportion.”

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Advanced computer-aided modeling programs is said to be used by its engineers and designers to predict and track airflow over, under and through the new Stingray’s body as well as data gained from the Corvette Racing program to help balance front and rear grip for high-speed stability.

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Its lights are supposedly a signature element of the C7 but, while the redesigned front headlights, with indirect white LED lamps forming a distinctive daytime styling cue set in a black-chrome housing and HID projector, look menacingly good, it is the rear lights that is causing some controversy as it departs from the traditional twin round design. Instead, an all-new, dual-element taillamps with three-dimensional, sculpted lenses that houses innovative indirect LED lighting is used. It features hidden LED lamps that lights up from the bottom into a reverse reflector, creating an even glow.

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According to GM’s Interior Design Director Helen Emsley, its interior blends fine materials and craftsmanship with advanced technologies that gives a more connected and engaging driving experience.

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“Every feature and detail in the interior is designed to enhance the driver’s connection to the Corvette. It starts with the fighter jet inspired wraparound cockpit; continues to build with the smaller steering wheel, more supportive seats, and high-definition, configurable screens, and is finished in gorgeous materials.” she said.

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Also included as part of the interior are its driver-oriented technologies. Via a cockpit-mounted rotary knob near the gear shifter, there is  is the Driver Mode Selector with different five settings; The Tour mode is for everyday driving; Weather mode is for driving in rain and snow; Eco mode is for optimal fuel economy; Sport mode is for spirited road driving and Track mode is for track use.

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The C7 features a new aluminium frame structure that is 57 percent stiffer but 45 kg lighter using lightweight materials: including carbon fiber hood and roof panels; lightweight Sheet Molded Compound for the fenders, doors and rear quarter panels; and carbon-nano composite for the underbody panels, to achieve a 50/50 weight balance.

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Power-wise, this Stingray uses a new LT1 Small Block unit which is 6.2 litre V8 producing 450 hp and 610 Nm of torque and features advanced technologies like direct injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing with an advanced combustion system.

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It is mated to either a six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission or an industry-exclusive TREMEC TR6070 seven-speed manual with Active Rev Matching. The manual transmission incorporates rev-matching technology for upshifts and downshifts with a new dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch, which supposedly delivers greater shift quality and feel through lower inertia.

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“Active Rev Matching makes the new Corvette easier and more fun to drive in performance conditions,” said Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter. “It anticipates the next gear selection and electronically ‘blips’ the throttle to match engine speed for a seamless gear change.”

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