Since its introduction in 2014, the Corvette Stingray has proven time and again to be one of the most powerful, most performance-driven, most track-capable Corvettes of all time. The 2014 Corvette received more than twenty automotive industry awards in its inaugural year and earned another spot in 2015 on the coveted “10 Best” from Car and Driver magazine.
As Chevrolet prepared for the arrival of the 2016 Corvette Stingray, there was little doubt that the car’s third-year offerings would only continue to enhance a car that, by all accounts, was already at the pinnacle of what a Corvette could – and should – become.
2016 Corvette Stingray
The 2016 Corvette Stingray was the first in the seventh-generation lineup not to include a special edition. Wherein the 2014 Corvette included 500 units of the Premiere Edition Corvette Stingray, and the 2015 included both the Atlantic and Pacific Design Packages, the 2016 Corvette coupe and convertible would not include any specific special edition packages.
Instead, Chevrolet introduced three all-new, color-themed design packages for the 2016 model year. Finished in either Twilight Blue, Spice Red or Jet Black Suede, the special color-themed design packages offered consumers a custom-tailored appearance package that helped to elevate the Stingray’s presence both on the street and on the track. Additionally, each of the customized appearance packages reflected the different roles the Corvette represented in different customer experiences – from high-performance driving to grand touring cruising.
Each of the three new design packages offered with the 2016 Corvette Stingray were available on all cars equipped with the 3LT package and included the following details:
Twilight Blue Design Package
Offered in Shark Gray, Blade Silver, Arctic White or Night Race Blue exterior colors
Convertibles feature a blue top and Shark Gray tonneau inserts
Shark Gray accent vents
Polished Motorsport wheel
Black or gray brake calipers
Wing rear spoiler included on Stingray models without the Z51 package
Optional tri-color stripe package
Special Twilight Blue full-color interior color
Magnetic Ride Control required on Stingray models without Z51.
Spice Red Design Package
Offered in new Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat, Shark Gray, Blade Silver and Arctic White exterior colors
Convertibles feature a Spice Red top
Polished Motorsport wheel
·Wing rear spoiler included on Stingray models without the Z51 package
·Special Spice Red full-color interior color
·Magnetic Ride Control required on Stingray models without Z51.
Jet Black Suede Design Package
Offered in Black, Blade Silver, Arctic White and Torch Red exterior colors
Convertibles feature a black top
Satin black wheels with red stripe
Red brake calipers
Wing rear spoiler included on Stingray models without the Z51 package
Carbon Flash exterior badges
Satin black hood extractor and graphic
Special Jet Black sueded microfiber interior – with sueded microfiber steering wheel and shifter
Carbon fiber (high gloss) interior trim plate
Magnetic Ride Control on Stingray models without Z51.
Interestingly, when the final sales numbers closed on the 2016 model, the special design packages only accounted for a small percentage (just over 3%) of the cars sold that year. The result of the poor sales numbers suggests that those equipped with one of these three packages may eventually prove to be one of the more collectible versions of the 2016 model year.
Improved In-Car Entertainment & Connectivity
In addition to the enhanced aesthetics offered as part of the three design packages offered, the engineers behind the 2016 Corvette also focused on developing the car’s connectivity, technology and convenience features. Each of these enhancements were developed specifically to increase the customer’s ability to customize their cars.
The 2016 Corvette Stingray’s most noteworthy advancements included the introduction of a front curb view parking camera which was offered on all 2LT/3LT and 2LZ/3LZ (Z06) models. This camera, while a minor enhancement to the aesthetic of the car itself, provided drivers with visibility to high-curbs and other obstructions which are known to “bite” the front end of this low-riding Corvette Stingray.
The 2016 Corvette also featured a smartphone projection technology as part of the Stingray’s new MyLink system. This new smartphone technology interface enabled drivers to display content from their Apple Iphone (for Iphone 5 or later models) and select Android phones on the Corvette’s eight-inch, multicolor center-console display screen. The Apple/Android CarPlay feature enabled users to utilize their phone, text messages, maps, music and compatible third-party apps.
“This was my first Apple Car Play experience. You control it via the touchscreen; I suppose there’s probably voice activation, too, but I didn’t try that. It’s easy and intuitive: plug in the phone and the Car Play button pops up on the screen, press that and what looks like your phone screen appears, and off you go, able to pick music, maps, whatever. It works well. Whether it’s actually necessary, I need more time with it to determine that. For now, I’d say if automakers start letting Car Play trickle down to less expensive cars, I can see it becoming the norm.”
–Wes Raynal, Editor, Autoweek Magazine
Aesthetic Improvements – Inside & Out
The interior trim of the 2016 Corvette also featured a number of minor, but notable, improvements:
A new, flat-bottom steering wheel was introduced for the 2016 model.This new steering wheel was smaller than its predecessor at just 14.1 inches (360 mm). Equipped with a flat bottom design, the steering wheel was specifically developed to foster a more direct, immediate feel to directional inputs – much like the steering wheels crafted for the C7.R Corvette race cars.
GT seats could now be purchased in an available two-tone configuration – either red or gray – and could be finished in either leather or suede.
Stringray’s equipped with the 3LT Jet Black interior could include red or yellow stitching as part of their finish.
A power-cinch feature was introduced for both the coupe hatch and the convertible trunk latches. The power-cinch allowed Corvette owners to gently lower the rear decklid into an “almost-closed” position, and a powered cinch motor would then retract and lock the decklid into place.
Outwardly, the coupe and convertible models would receive minimal improvement to the overall aesthetic of the car, save for some minor but notable improvements, which included:
Two new color choices: Corvette Racing Yellow Tintcoat and Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat (replacing the Velocity Yellow and Crystal Red Tintcoat).
The introduction of a new wheel design offered in silver, black, black machined and chrome.
A Carbon Flash badge option which replaced the chrome bar previously seen on the front grille. (This feature is actually one of the key differentiators between the 2016 Corvette and earlier models of the seventh-generation Stingray.)
A Carbon Fiber Hood option that features a visible weave section.
As with earlier models of the car, the 2016 Corvette Stingray carried forward the C7’s uncompromising blend of performance and efficiency.
The heart of the 2016 Corvette Stingray continued to feature Chevrolet’s LT1 – a 6.2L V-8 engine rated at an SAE certified 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 460 lb-ft of torque (624 Nm). When equipped with the available performance exhaust system, those numbers jumped to 460 horsepower ( 343kW) and 465 lb-ft (630 Nm) of torque.
The LT1 engine was again mated to either a seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Match or a paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission that offered drivers quick shifts that were in line with cars equipped with the world’s best dual-clutch transmissions – and all the while delivered with the shift smoothness unique to a transmission equipped with a torque converter.
Acceleration, Quarter Mile Statistics, and Fuel Economy
As for the performance numbers? The Corvette Stingray’s well-appointed powertrain enabled Z51-equipped models paired with a manual transmission to accelerate from 0-60 in just 3.8 seconds.
Even more impressive was the 3.7 second times achieved by the same Corvette equipped with an eight-speed automatic. Add to that a quarter-mile time of just 12 seconds at 119 mph, 1.03g in cornering grip and the ability to stop from 60mph in just 107 feet, and there was no doubt that the 2016 Corvette Stingray continued to rival sports cars in its class from around the globe, at a fraction of the sticker price!
Equally impressive is the fact that the Corvette Stingray coupe and convertible can back its performance capability with some of the greatest efficiencies of any sports car on the market producing more than 450 horsepower. The 2016 Corvette delivered an EPA-estimated 17 mpg during city driving and 29 mpg on the highway (when equipped with the seven-speed manual transmission).
A True Supercar Contender…
While the 2016 Corvette Stingray demonstrates a well-balanced alignment between performance and relative fuel economy, the Z06 Corvette challenges automotive manufacturers from around the world as a true supercar contender.
When the Z06 rejoined the Corvette lineup in 2015, it was quickly recognized by both automotive enthusiasts and critics alike as the most capable Corvette model in the car’s long, sometimes sorted history. While some automotive journalists were initially quick to critique the car against its earlier predecessors, they quickly contended that the new, seventh-generation Z06 Corvette had joined an elite fraternity of the world’s most capable supercars.
“This thing’s a monster. I mean that as a compliment. It’s only about 60 hp shy of a NASCAR Sprint Cup car. Lordy. And yet it’s so drivable. The knob on the center console controls everything. Put the control knob in Eco or Tour and the car just cruises around town as nice as can be. Sport quickens the steering and firms the suspension a bit. Track — holy cow, Track! — the exhaust opens up, the steering is razor sharp, launch control is available, the suspension is stiffer — you get the idea. Put the car in Track mode and turn off the traction control and you’re poking a tiger with a stick.”
Despite a somewhat higher price tag (starting at $79,400 when purchased as a coupe with a manual transmission) than its Stingray counterpart, the Z06 still accounted for more than 35% of all Corvette sales in 2015. It was therefore no surprise when Chevrolet announced the continuation of the Z06 Corvette program for the 2016 model year.
Much like its predecessors in the fifth– and sixth-generation models, the 2016 Z06 Corvette was the continued embodiment of track-ready, uncompromised high-performance driving and handling. Its return for the 2016 model year would provide consumers with more options to personalize their cars, but it would also finally pay homage to Corvette’s racing heritage with the introduction of a special, C7.R Edition model.
The C7.R Edition Z06 Corvette was specifically designed as a direct tribute to the Corvette Racing C7.R race cars. The Corvette Racing program was influential in the development of the Corvette Z06. Much of the data collected on the racetrack was funneled into the technology implemented in the car’s development. It represents the closest link between the racecar and the production model of any Corvette in the car’s sixty-three-year history.
The Z06 Special Edition
The special edition package was offered in two color schemes, both paying homage to Corvette Racing’s signature yellow and black liveries. Each car featured a number of coordinated exterior and interior accents which included:
A C7.R Edition graphics package.
The Z07 Performance Package with Brembo carbon ceramic brakes and Michelin PS Cup 2 tires.
Yellow brake calipers.
Black wheels with a yellow accent stripe and Corvette Racing-logo center caps.
A visible carbon fiber ground effects package.
A new, visible carbon fiber hood section.
Grilles and vents finished in Spectra Gray Metallic
A Jet Black leather interior with sueded microfiber accents on the instrument panel and doors.
Sueded microfiber-trimmed Competition Sport Seats, steering wheel and shifter.
Yellow contrast stitching throughout the car’s interior.
A Carbon Fiber interior trim package (high-gloss).
Corvette Racing sill plates.
Special indoor car cover with C7.R graphics.
Only 500 of the C7.R Edition Z06 Corvettes were built, and all 500 came equipped with the Z07 Performance Package, carbon ceramic brakes, and a specially serialized vehicle identification number.
Additionally, just like the 2016 Corvette Stingray Coupe and Convertible, the new Z06 was offered with the same three color-themed design packages. As with the Stingray, the custom-tailored appearances were specifically designed to elevate the Z06’s presence on both the street and the race track.
From a design standpoint, much of the 2016 Z06 remained unchanged from its inaugural year. Chevrolet did enhance a few items on the car for the new model year, including:
A new “Blade” accessory wheel.
A new Brownstone interior color offered with the 3LZ trim package. This package includes a specific “color breakup” design.
A new chrome engine start/stop button.
New red or yellow accent stitching option offered on 3LZ Jet Black interior.
Incredible Power & Performance
Once more, the heart of the 2016 Corvette Z06 was GM’s ultra-powerful LT4 supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine. For 2016, the LT4 was once more SAE-certified at 650 horsepower (485 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 650-lb-ft of torque (881 Nm) at 3,600 rpm.
This certified performance rating identified the Z06 Corvette as not only the most-powerful production car ever built by General Motors, but also one of the most powerful production cars available in the United States. Consider these numbers (when equipped with the available Z07 package):
0-60 mph acceleration in 2.95 seconds with the eight-speed automatic and 3.2 seconds with the seven-speed manual transmission.
Quarter-mile times of 10.95 seconds at 127 mph with the eight-speed and 11.2 seconds at 127 mph with the seven-speed transmission.
Lateral acceleration of 1.2 g.
60-0 mph braking in only 99.6 feet – the best of any production car tested by General Motors.
The Z07 package also added adjustable front and rear aero components for true aerodynamic downforce. It equipped the 2016 Z06 Corvette with Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires for enhanced grip, and Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors specifically designed to improve braking performance and to contribute to greater handling through reduced un-sprung weight.
For 2016, the Z06 Corvette was offered in both coupe and convertible models and came in three – 1LZ, 2LZ and 3LZ – trim levels.
Corvette Continues to Show Off its Racing Prowess
While there is little question that the 2016 Corvette Stingray and Z06 models continue to get better with each successive year, there is also no denying that the success of the Corvette production car program is tied – at least in part – to the success of the Corvette on the racetrack.
The old adage “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” certainly holds true for this American Sports Car. As evidenced by the C7.R edition Corvette Z06 – which Chevrolet attributes as “the closest any production Corvette has ever come to a racecar” – there is little doubt that the winning combination of the Corvette on the racetrack has translated into higher sales numbers.
Consider the year that the 2016 Corvette C7.R No. 4 Racing team had on the racetrack.
They won a total of four races in 2016, including the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Twelve Hours of Sebring, Lime Rock Park and Road America. These victories, combined with a solid season overall, attributed to the No.4 Corvette sweeping all six GT Le Mans titles for the 2016 season.
The driving team, which consists of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, are certainly no strangers to either the Corvette Racing program or to taking the C7.R Corvette to victory lane. Still, in a sport where American Racing continues to be perceived by oval track racing in the NASCAR program, establishing the Corvette Racing program as a serious contender year after year has helped to establish and solidify the car’s reputation as a true sports car – both on and off the track.
“Corvette Racing has built this foundation of success, and in some ways we’re almost expected to do well every single year. I believe that all the other Chevrolet teams have the same mentality and the same goals and desires. We’ve done it at Corvette Racing for 16 or 17 years have set a standard. The IndyCar group has carried that well since Chevrolet came back in 2012. On the NASCAR side, Chevrolet is the most successful brand in history. So there’s a culture there with the success of all the programs. It’s never spoken but it’s there within every team – us, IndyCar, NASCAR and NHRA. Chevrolet gets the best teams and the best drivers, and they give us the best equipment. You add all those ingredients together, that’s why there is a standard of what we expect for each of us. Chevrolet has built a foundation for each team and program to work from and build on that toward success.”
-Tommy Milner, Driver, No. 4 C7.R Corvette
What’s Next for the ‘Vette?
Some say that the best is yet to come. While this certainly may continue to hold true for Corvette, many believe that Chevrolet continues to put “the best of what’s around” on the road and the race track every single day. Considering the advances seen in the Corvette since the C7’s introduction in 2014, it is hard to fathom the direction that the Corvette’s future will take.
In August, 2016, rumors began to circulate of a mid-engine Corvette making an appearance in late 2018 as a 2019 production model. The car, as it was reported at that time, was expected to have a lower hood line, a longer rear deck and much shorter dash-to-axle ratios than the current C7 model.
A switch from a front to mid-engine layout would entail redesigning the Corvette entirely, including the development of a new chassis, a new transaxle to drive the rear wheels, the development of a new cooling and suspension systems, and of course, an entirely new body design.
Spy photographs taken throughout 2016 certainly seem to indicate that Chevrolet is working on something with a mid-engine stance, but as of the time of this article’s publication, no information has been officially released by General Motors.
Could the future of the Corvette mean the introduction of a mid-engine variant? Only time will tell. However, while the Corvette has been synonymous with front-engine/rear-wheel power for nearly 65 years, it was Zora Arkus-Duntov – the “Father of the Corvette” – who first envisioned a mid-engine Corvette design. Appropriately, one of the names being used by automotive journalists when discussing the future possibility of a mid-engine Corvette, refer to the car as either “Corvette Zora” or, simply “the Zora.”
Whatever lay ahead, there is no doubt that the Corvette has become one of the great sports cars – no longer just in America – but in the world. And who knows? Maybe the best IS yet to come….