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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2013 New York Auto Show in NYC.
Chevrolet Corvette

What is it? Chevrolet has revealed its seventh-generation Corvette, bringing sharp-edged styling, more power, better-dressed interior, and the return of the famed "Stingray" designation.

What’s new or notable? Everything except two parts, even the logo. The core formula remains unchanged, with wedge-like styling, beefy V8 up front driving the rear wheels, and two seats in a form-fitting cabin. However, it is sharpened at every corner.

The new engine is dubbed LT1, a moniker that has been used twice before—with a carbureted small-block back in 1970 and more modern, fuel-injected V8 in 1992 that breathed new life into the C4 (and later the Camaro). This latest iteration will be used in other GM products, making fuel efficiency a key attribute.

Here, the LT1 produces a Chevrolet-estimated 450 horsepower and 450 lbs.-ft. of torque. The engine is teamed with a choice of a six-speed, paddle-shifted automatic or seven-speed manual transmission, each fitted to the rear to aid weight distribution.

The frame for the base car is all aluminum, boasting 57-percent greater stiffness than before, while shaving almost 100 lbs. (With the C6, only the high-dollar Z06 and ZR-1 had aluminum frames.)

To aid performance, the C7 features the next-generation magnetic ride control system, with quick-reacting shocks that can transition from holding the road to absorbing harsh impacts in the blink of an eye. The Z51 performance package returns, offering heightened grip to the tune of a claimed 1 g in lateral acceleration. The driver is able to select from three modes to dial in the appropriate personality for the task, making attitude adjustments among a doze systems, such as the electronic limited-slip differential, exhaust, transmission, launch control, and stability control.

Chevrolet is claiming that 0-60 mph sprints will be at a rocket-like sub-4 seconds—blazingly quick. If Eco mode is selected, the car will favor four-cylinder operation until hard acceleration is summoned by the right foot.

The exterior boasts a carbon-fiber hood and roof panel, in addition to underbody panels, to shave weight.

The cabin is treated to a significant update, addressing a critical weakness with the outgoing car. The C7 will be offered with a choice of form-fitting bucket seats (sporty or track-ready), and all examples will be decked in soft-touch materials, with aluminum and leather trim.

CR’s take: The comprehensive makeover, compete with aggressive styling, has us wondering what will differentiate the expected higher-performance variants besides horsepower.

When will it be available? Summer 2013.

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