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GM's newest Corvette brings back the Stingray name

Matthew ShaerThe Christian Science Monitor

Almost a decade after the launch of the sixth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, GM has finally taken the wraps off its official successor – a muscular, carbon fiber-enhanced juggernaut dubbed the Stingray. At a press event at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, GM exec Mark Reuss said the Stingray apellation, first used on a 1950s Corvette racer, was a good fit for the seventh-generation Corvette.

"It is absolutely the best performance car that we know how to engineer and build," Reuss said. "I will eagerly put this car up against any of the top performance cars in the world. In terms of design, technology and performance, this car is second to none. And it is obtainable. It is so dramatic and special, that we thought it deserved some extra recognition. That's why we're calling it, once again, the Corvette Stingray."

The Stingray will be available with either a seven-speed automatic or a six-speed paddle shift automatic. GM says the 6.2-liter V8 can rocket the car from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in under 4 seconds – expect also 450 horsepower and 450 lbs. per foot of torque, Consumer Reports notes. Of course for many potential Corvette owners, the big selling point isn't just the engine. It's also the looks.

So how does the latest Corvette stack up? Well, GM has retained the basic lines of the C6 Corvette, but updated the details of the fascia and the familiar up-turned tail. Meanwhile, carbon-fiber roof panels and an aluminum frame helps make the Stingray lighter and stiffer than the C6.

"The Corvette has never been a refined machine," writes Damon Lavrinc of Wired. "But that’s part of its blue-collar charm. It’s the working man’s supercar.... This latest version doesn’t stray too far from that path. But like the Viper we drove last year, the all-new Corvette is finally something you don’t need a hair shirt, some gold chains and a Tommy Bahama polo to drive."

And over at Fortune, Doron Levin wonders if the C7 Corvette could have the effect of buoying GM's prospects across the board.

"Chevrolet dealers expect that many people drawn to their showrooms to see the seventh generation of the car will ultimately buy a sedan or a pickup," Levin writes. "Carmakers have long believed in the 'halo' effect of such high-performance vehicles, though the practice of building and selling them has waned somewhat in an age of cost cuts."

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