A couple of years ago at the New York Auto Show I was lucky enough to have a sit-down with Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter. Whose name probably conjures up images of the kind of Stetson-wearing, Budweiser-chugging Yank we snobby Europeans imagine develops such cars. Nothing could be further from the truth. Juechter was steely, calmly spoken, focused and very, very on the ball of what today's purist drivers want.
As an opening gambit 'his' Corvette uses an aluminium structure 57 per cent stiffer but 45kg lighter than its predecessor's. Don't like the 911's move to downsized turbo engines? The C7 has a racy 460bhp 6.2-litre V8 that revs quickly and eagerly and drives through a transaxle-mounted seven-speed manual for excellent weight distribution. It sounds magnificent. The Z51 pack optional in the US is standard on European cars and adds an active locking differential, dry sump lubrication with additional coolers for extended track use, plus fancier Bilstein dampers. It's got modes and configurability galore to match any European rival but at heart is fundamentally light, stiff, balanced and powered by a hugely charismatic V8 motor with no character-sucking turbos to spoil its response. It is, basically, all the stuff purists moan is being stripped out of cars like the 911, wrapped up in brilliantly menacing styling and at half the price.