Sunday, January 13, 2013

Liveblogging the Corvette introduction

6:40 - It doesn't matter what sort of direction or identity this little creation ends up taking. If you care about cars, you care about the Corvette, and tonight we get a new one.

And if you call yourself a journalist or writer or critic or whatever of the scene, it's doubly on you to write about it. So here we go.

I'm here with the official Chevrolet feed at like everyone else who can't be there, and will be passing along impressions as quickly as I can get them out. Hope everyone out there is following along too; leave comments and your take on it all as it develops.

6:45 - Used to be that Corvette intros were about as common as solar eclipses, but Chevrolet's seen fit to speed up their refresh cycle over the past few generations. C3 lived for fifteen model years ('68-'82) and C4 for thirteen ('84-'96). They've brought that down to single digits, at least.

6:51 - I don't think anyone is expecting anything radical tonight. No mid-engined overhead-cam Ferrari hunter, no turbo V6 econoVette. Corvette development is about as traditional and established as any in the industry.

The big question is how close the Jalopnik renderings from earlier this year late 2011 are to the real thing. The leaked magazine covers, if accurate, are pretty much dead-on.

6:55 - What we know so far: Small-block V8, likely still with pushrods but with modern tricks like cylinder deactivation. A choice of seven-speed transmissions - one manual, one automatic/semiauto/flappy-paddle/something with two pedals that is rumored to have development issues. No real word on whether there's anything ambitious going on with the suspension to replace to age-old plastic leaf springs.

6:58 - Yeah, feeling it even though the video link hasn't even started

7:00 - Down to seconds, but leaked pics still popping up:

7:01 - Video is LIVE.

7:02 - Someone really loves the whole clay-sculpting thing.

7:04 - foot tap foot tap foot tap. I know we need to do this, but C'MON....

7:05 - Okay. Tech, check. Stiffer, check, Lighter frame, check. Carbon fiber, check.

7:06 - Direct injection, VVT, cylinder deactivation. No surprises. 450/450 - good.

7:07 - Active throttle blipping - another art fading fast. Driver mode select = ugh.

7:08 - Interior reminds me of the '90-later C4 brought up to date. Kinda cool

7:09 - International design? Don't tell John Birchers. Bit of 599 in the side - not a bad thing.

7:10 - Wow, you think they've heard the criticisms of the interior design and seats? Liking it.

7:11 - Showtime. Who's the guitarist?

7:13 - Boom.

7:14 - Hi, Mark. (Babble babble okay we get it you're a fan.)

7:15 - Killer side profile. Kind of a big ass from the top shot.

7:16 - Stingray is back. Cool.

7:17 - Smallish greenhouse, huge rear haunches....

7:18 - References to "base" or "entry-level" model. Z06 next year?

7:19 - Presentation over. Have to do something; back quick.

7:23 - Back. And it's over anyway.

Right. So what do we know?

The Jalopnik drawings were pretty damn close. Details are a bit more refined on the real thing. (I know one former Editor-in-Chief who's feeling pretty good about himself right now.)

So here's your new Miss America:

Photo: Chevrolet

7:28 - Reports say it still has leaf springs. Not a problem.

7:30 - Impressions? The exterior design seems fantastic from some angles and kinda bulky from others. The interior looks great. Not a fan of seven-speed manuals; will have to see what the two-pedal arrangement is (torque converter vs. robot clutch) before leaning one way or another. Will be interesting to see how the fuel economy numbers look; Corvettes already are pretty impressive on that score, and the cylinder deactivation and direct injection and the rest can only help.

7:38 - Will wait for final judgement until I can see it in real life, but feeling it in a good way. Definitely a positive development from the current car: more aggressive, more interesting - and again, this is the normal one, which currently leaves me a bit cool. Wonder what the monster versions will be like.

7:42 - Okay, time to let it sink in. Everyone will have tons of closeups and details overnight and into tomorrow. Done from here.

Hope you all had fun too.

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