The 2014 Corvette Stingray, Audi vs Mercedes AMG AWD - Road Testament

Uploaded by drive on 17.01.2013


JF MUSIAL: Today on "Road Testament," I sit in for Mike
Spinelli, and we recap the biggest reveal from this
year's Detroit Auto Show, the C7 Corvette Stingray.
JF MUSIAL: After spending two days on the ground in Detroit,
there was a certain vibe in the air.
The only thing people cared about was the new Corvette, or
at least that's what it seemed like.
Very rarely do you see new car reveals end up on the front
page of newspapers across the country.
The Corvette is the exception.
Even websites like,
ran front-page stories.
The C7 seem to have captured the attention of the masses
across the US, or rather, Chevy dropped a pretty penny
with their PR agencies.
The Stingray is a visual leap forward compared to the past
At the roots, though, the chassis is relatively
the same as the C6.
Now I must say, that is not a jab at GM engineers.
From what we've seen, what we've been told, and what
you're about to hear, the car's been radically
re-engineered. recently ran a story about the suspension
setup of the new Dodge Viper.
I rarely suggest you go to competing websites, but Dan
did a great job with this article.
In it, you realize that from the forefront, the Viper has
had very few major engineering changes since the past
generation, but it's all in the fine details.
When it all came together, it made for a great package.
I think the same can be said about this new Corvette.
Visually, it's vastly different.
I, for one, love the front 3/4 of the car.
But the rear, too Camaro-ish for me, too busy.
Maybe it'll grow on me, maybe not.
I feel like the C7 is a moment in time, 2012.
The C6 was simple.
It was clean.
It was fresh.
Something that could actually last for another five years
and still feel modern.
But back to the engineering.
It seems the GM engineers have gone to great lengths to
change all the small things.
Given from what we've seen, cars like the Viper, even more
importantly, things like the 911, sometimes it has nothing
do with the big changes.
It all comes down to the small changes, the small
We had the opportunity to sit down with Chevy's chief
engineer to ask what makes the C7 so different.
TADGE JUECHTER: Our goals this time were the same as whenever
we do a new Corvette.
We try to take things that we perceive of as weaknesses
about the vehicle, which is input we get from customers,
input we get from media.
Many of us are customers.
We drive the cars all the time.
We know what its strengths and weaknesses are.
So we try to take the weaknesses of the car and turn
them into strengths.
And we try to take the things that are really good about the
car and make them even better.
So what's really good about the Corvette?
What's good about it is it does a lot of things well.
Today's car is a great daily driver.
It's comfortable for people of a lot of different sizes.
It's got all the internal features that you'd want.
It gets pretty darn good fuel economy.
It's a great long distance tourer.
It's got lots of luggage room.
A couple can go and take all their stuff with
them on a long trip.
It's also a robust car on the track.
It's really fun track car so it's got a lot of bandwidth.
And one of our goals in the new car was not to lose that.
We wanted to not sacrifice one thing to get more of another.
It was to take everything up.
So people ask me, what are you most proud of on this car?
That's it.
Taking that very wide bandwidth and
doing it all better.
It is more performance, but it's also better fuel economy.
All these things that are extremely challenging to do, I
think we've accomplished with this car, and it looks great.
JF MUSIAL: The new Corvette is powered by a 6.2 liter V8.
And as Tadge went on to explain, what makes it so
great is what happens with the torque on the bottom end.
TADGE JUECHTER: One thing that Corvette gives uniquely, as
part of the driving experience, is a massively
torque-y V8.
And that makes the car feel instantly responsive.
You don't have to wait for turbos to spool up.
It's got enormous torque from down low.
It makes the car feels really light and agile, and that's
another thing that we've really improved on this car.
The 6.2 liter engine has more torque from 1,000 to 4,000 RPM
than our 7.0 liter engine, Z06, of today and get that
with variable valve timing, direct injection.
And then, oh by the way, since this car is so light and so
aerodynamic, it only takes 12 horsepower to push it down the
road at 50 miles an hour.
So we take a 450-plus horsepower engine, and you're
only working it very lightly.
So what we do is we shut off four cylinders for a lot of
the time in daily driving, and that improves
fuel economy a lot.
JF MUSIAL: A base C7 that is as good, if not better, than
an older generation Z06.
Truly one of the best bargain sports cars
on the market today.
That says a lot.
But why a pushrod V8?
TADGE JUECHTER: It's basically small overall size, extremely
power dense.
Most people think of specific output as a measure of power
density, but when you're designing a very small car--
sports cars tend be small, compact--
what matters to you is exterior dimensions of the
engine and the mass of the engine.
That's really what you want to do, especially if you want to
do a mid-engine car-- you're putting the engine mass behind
the front wheels--
you really want that mass to be as low as possible.
And you want the engine to enable the body to be as
efficient as possible.
Since the small-block V8 is very compact dimensions, we're
able to put huge body structure sections around it,
making the body structure very efficient.
So you have one of, if not the lightest, 450 horsepower
engine in the world, and it's enabling the body structure to
be very efficient.
I talked about fuel economy.
It has relatively few moving parts.
And because it has so much low-end torque, we can gear it
relatively tall so the engine spins relatively slowly.
That's great for fuel economy, it's great for long-term
durability, and it's part of the Corvette
formula for 60 years.
JF MUSIAL: One of the most impressive things Chevy has
told us about the new car is that the new engine has a rev
matching system to improve shift times.
TADGE JUECHTER: Rev matching is so cool.
Many of us didn't realize how cool it was going to be until
we started getting in the car.
We thought it would be a good idea.
You've got a large displacement V8
engine, a lot of torque.
So necessarily, a lot of the driveline components are
extremely big, robust.
You've got a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
So a lot of the stuff is really over designed.
And so we thought, you know, this would be a really good
idea to have the engine jump to be perfectly speed matched
every time you change a gear.
And some of the competition is doing that as well.
And so we started looking at the best way to do it, and we
realized the best way is not to look at the sensors in the
transmission to see when you're in gear and then rev
the engine.
We said, you know, it really starts
with the shifter movement.
And so we invented a new technology that's patented.
It's a three-dimensional hall effect sensor, and it's right
at the base of the shift lever.
And it can sense really small movements of the shifter.
And so it actually anticipates which gear you're going in.
Since we have a seven-speed manual, you now have nine
places the shifter can be-- seven forward gears, one
reverse, and neutral.
So the shifter can be in a lot of places, so you really want
to sense that immediately and get the engine doing what it
needs to do to make the shifting really good.
So we have it on both upshifts and downshifts, and what we
discovered was it changes the way you drive a manual
It's like playing a musical instrument because you can
move the shifter around just a little bit with your wrist and
watch the engine fly around to different RPM.
And so you can actually sense check, do I want three, five,
or seven, in real quick succession with your foot on
the clutch, and you watch engine jump.
And you say, I'll take five.
And you drop it in gear and just take your foot off the
clutch and it's perfectly smooth, and
you just drive away.
And we've actually put the gear state up in the cluster
so you can see exactly where you are at all times.
You see that the tac rev. And it's so much fun, we knew
people would be wanting to turn it on and off to show
their friends, see how good they could do on their own
versus rev matching.
So we're actually using the same mechanization as our
automatic paddle shifters.
So we actually have paddles on the steering wheel, which some
people think, oh my gosh, you've got a manual car, and
you've got paddles on the steering wheel.
It's because it's so much fun to turn that thing on and off,
we wanted to make it instantly accessible.
And we're even finding driving like on a road course, there
are some places where you want the car to do the work.
Your workload is really high, you don't want to worry about
that heel toe being perfect.
So boom, you paddle it, and man, it's
perfect, butter smooth.
Now you want to be on your own.
You're going to power shift up the next straightaway.
Boom, turn it off, and you're totally on your own.
So it's just a riot, and it really--
a lot of people are walking away from traditional
three-pedal manual transmissions.
We're really embracing it with this car because we think it's
really part of the driving experience.
JF MUSIAL: Despite what Tadge said, this isn't really
all-new technology.
The concept has been around.
Let's remember, the Nissan 370Z had something very
similar when it was introduced three years ago.
Now, I can't claim this is a great car or a bad car.
No one can.
No one has driven it.
And that's where I'll leave the story.
Until we get behind the wheel, I'll reserve my judgment.
I only wish some of the buff books would do the same thing.
But I am happy to hear the GM is starting to get it.
The interior is vastly improved over past
The biggest flaw most people have had with the Corvette in
the past years was the seats sucked.
So simple.
Why couldn't they change that?
Well, they did.
On a side note from the Auto Show, Mercedes revealed a new
E-Class lineup.
The E63 AMG now has all-wheel drive.
An AMG with all-wheel drive is very strange in my book.
So I wanted to ask what the head of quattro GmbH had to
say about one of their biggest competitors
following their suit.
STEPHAN REIL: Well, I'm happy that we now have first-time
competitors with equal weapons being not anymore rear-wheel
drive against all-wheel drive.
So now we have a competitor on all-wheel drive, and we can
show what the performance benefits and the technology
benefit of the quattro drivetrain is.
Well, all our cars--
quattro means all-wheel drive cars for good reason, and I'm
happy that somebody joined us.

JF MUSIAL: A new segment on "Road Testament," Drive Trend.
As many of you know, last week, this is where we
evaluate the SEO values of
particular cars on the interwebs.
You guys had plenty of comments last week.
We're going to try the format out for another week or two
before we make changes.
But let's look at how our lists are doing.
So down at the bottom, the affordable sports cars.
The E30 and the BRZ are both up this week, while the MX5 is
slightly down.
The FRS GT86 is up as well.
In the mid-range, the M3 has gone up.
Everything has actually gone up with the
exception of Elise.
Onto the next slide.
We have the top branch.
And of course, the Corvette has dominated the interwebs
because of the new C7 reveal, 100%.
While the Ferrari and Porsche 911 are below five and GTR and
McLaren MP4-12C not.
Funny that the GT-R has a zero value considering that that
was one of the most popular trends on the internet three
to five years ago.
In the Uber section, which will promptly be renamed based
off some comments from our commenters, the Bugatti Veyron
is back up.
The Koenigsegg and Huayra are both up.
Koenigsegg is a little bit weird because I know a lot of
you can't spell Koenigsegg.
The i8 is, I believe, it's not changed.
Has not changed, and the McLaren F1 is up a little bit.
A point up on the McLaren F1.
I think we're going to get rid of the Veyron soon.
JF MUSIAL: Say yes or no.
Your decision.

Thumbs down?
JF MUSIAL: All right.
So that's it for Drive Trend and "Road Testament." Where
are we going from here?
Oh, yes.
On Facebook, Drive TV.
I feel like Mike Spinelli not knowing what's going on with
my own show. and then we've got Twitter.
All right.
That's "Road Testament." All right.
Bye guys.