Is The New C7 Corvette
the Most Boring Car on the Road?
So the 2013 Detroit Auto Show is coming up, and the introduction overshadowing all other activity is that of Chevy’s 7th generation (C7) Corvette. It’s automaker’s halo car and bonafide proof that in spite of the general lack of quality of American cars compared to most of our rivals around the globe, we can create a world-beater when we put our minds to it. The C7 will undoubtedly exhibit pavement-buckling power from its signature pushrod V8, and astonishing capability around a circuit.
Chevy has announced a figure of 450 hp for the C7′s heavily revised LT1 6.2l mill. The new engine’s output complements updated suspension (still sporting transverse leaf springs at the rear) and a thoroughly reworked interior to address longstanding criticism of that aspect of the Corvette. The trip from a standstill to 60 mph is expected to take less than 4 seconds, while the car’s price is likely to comfortably undercut just about anything with remotely the C7′s level of capability.
So, completely void of sarcasm, it’ll be a fantastic car. The automotive press will burst into spontaneous applause when the veil is lifted Sunday night as scheduled, and wax lyrical over its specifications and abilities, amply hyped by the GM press machine.
And I couldn’t be less interested.
Let’s look at the formula: Front pushrod V8, rear drive, shark-y looks. That’s the Corvette template, and it hasn’t changed in the past 50 years even as Chevy has refined, perfected and polished it to its current state of brilliance. Again, I’m not arguing the car’s capability, or even how exciting it is to drive—I’ve no doubt it would utterly blow me away—but the concept of the car is beyond uninteresting at this point. The execution is near-flawless, but I (and many other enthusiasts) place a premium on creativity, and engineering adventurousness—and those two qualities are completely absent the C7′s specification.
So the idea of the Corvette bores me. But the most boring car on the road? Really? More so than, say, an Accord or a Camry? Well, yes. Consider: The Accord or the Camry’s laundry list of technological features is probably equally as uninteresting as the Corvette’s—but the Accord and Camry aren’t created to be exciting. There’s little contrast between the creativity invested in either their concept or execution; they’re thoroughly competent, full stop. The Corvette, on the other hand, was designed with driving excitement and excellence as an end goal, and as such the dramatic difference between the lack of originality in its layout or details and the dominant nature of its performance is front and center. I really can’t think of an less interesting car that does what it does so well.
But that’s the Corvette way. I really don’t expect anything to change when the curtain is drawn Sunday night.