A 6.2-liter small-block V-8 with 450 horsepower takes the car from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds. That's at least a few tenths of a second faster than the current base model.
Engineers also redesigned the somewhat-chintzy interior, giving it a jet cockpit look with leather, carbon fiber and soft plastics.
GM hopes the styling, performance and updated dashboard electronics will expand the car's appeal to younger buyers. The Corvette's been a favorite of adrenaline junkies for 60 years. Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard owned one from the first year — 1953.
The company won't quote a price on the 2014 model. But Juechter said someone who bought the current version can afford the new one. The Corvette starts at $49,600. That is more than $30,000 below what GM considers its chief competitor, the Porsche 911. The car makes a decent profit for GM despite relatively low sales, Juechter said.
GM wouldn't give sales targets for the new car. Last year it sold only 14,000 of the aging Corvettes, down from over 30,000 the first few years after the current version was rolled out. Porsche sold about 8,500 911s last year.
The prospect of a new 'Vette has fans waiting anxiously, browsing the Internet for unauthorized photos or drawings. Thousands of aficionados live in the U.S., and even Europe and the Middle East.
John Browning, 70, president of the Renegade Corvette Club of Hollywood, Fla., one of 600 such clubs in the U.S, said some Corvette lovers can't contain themselves.
"I've got one member, he just sold his '13 in anticipation, to wait for the '14," said Browning. "I think the Corvette is the icon. As far as I'm concerned you can't get a better deal."
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