It’s a straightforward question: How manymiles can a fire-breathing beast like the new2014 Chevrolet Corvette eke out of a gallon of gasoline? Back in 2009 I took the previous-generation C6 Corvette coupe on a mileage loop and it returned an astonishing 32.8 mpg. The new C7 Corvette promised to be even better.
The C7 coupe takes all the fuel economy advantages of the C6 and stretches them. For instance, the C6’s 436-hp LS3 6.2-liter V-8 engine was rich in low-end torque, so it didn’t need to turn very fast to sustain speed, but it lacked some of the fuel-saving tech we have now. The C7’s new 460-hp LT1 version of the same-size V-8 has the new tricks, including variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, and a cylinder deactivation system that has the engine firing only four cylinders under light loads.
Plus, where the sixth gear in the C6’s six-speed manual transmission was a 0.50:1 overdrive, the seventh gear in the C7’s manual transmission is an even deeper 0.42:1 overdrive. And the low rolling resistance Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flat tires that the C7 wears are more advanced than the C6’s Goodyears. The C7’s only apparent disadvantage compared with the C6 I drove for PopMech in 2009 is that, according to GM, it weighs 3298 pounds. That’s 81 more than the old model.
The 2009 Corvette carried EPA fuel economy ratings of 16 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The 2014 Corvette scored 17/29 mpg. So going into the test, I figured the C7 would return around 35 or 36 mpg.