No this isn’t Corvette blog, it’s still BMWBLOG and its focus is definitely BMW. But the entire staff of the blog are car enthusiasts and there’s no way we’re going to walk past the new Corvette without stopping and taking a good hard look at it. There is nothing in BMW’s portfolio of vehicles that is on a par with the Corvette. And some readers will say that’s a good thing.
But for all the derogatory comments about low tech pushrods and leaf springs, that the uninformed throw out as gospel when deriding the Corvette, there is some significant engineering that has gone into this car that merits attention. Let’s start with the engine.
Yes the valves are actuated by pushrods. So if your engine religion forbids the practice of opening valves from a cam lobe that then has to change it’s motion by 180 degrees, you will not be impressed with the LT1. But if you understand that the vertical height of the engine (and subsequently the center of gravity of the car) benefit from the lower height of the LT1 then you’ll approve. And regardless of how you feel about pushrods, the LT1’s 450 HP and 450 lb-ft of torque speak loudly. If you think the Porsche seven speed manual transmission is a really good idea, then you should be OK with the seven speed manual found in the new Corvette. And the all aluminum frame, transaxle, and huge brakes should be a plus too.
But even if you can forgive the pushrods, maybe the leaf springs are the deal killer. But you should know why Chevy has continued to use the transverse leaf springs in the Corvette. Where are the coil springs located on a BMW M3? They’re above the center of the wheel hub. Where are they on the Corvette? Below the center of the wheel hub. If you have to have weight on a sports car, keep it as low on the car as you can. The other interesting tech tidbit of using transverse leaf springs is that you can get away with a smaller sway bar (since the transverse mounting of the spring tackles a bit of the swaybar’s functionality).
The Corvette is a frivolous piece of kit from a car brand that’s as much about bland as performance. But the Corvette has an energizing impact on GM and helps bring customer’s into showrooms. While BMWBLOG has mixed feelings about the design and execution of some features of the car, it does recognize the absolutely astounding value the Corvette represents in the performance market. Love it or hate it, it’s still an important car.