In the last edition of "Currents," we brought you news of the '12 Centennial Edition Corvette, which will be available this fall. This month we detail how the Corvette has improved for the upcoming model year, and we're happy to report that the emphasis is on both track performance and road comfort.
The performance focus begins with new, optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Zero Pressure tires, available on the Z06 and ZR1. This competition-oriented rubber is designed to increase cornering and handling capability in warm, dry conditions. Developed by the same Michelin engineers who design tires for Corvette Racing, they're said to be essentially street-legal versions of a racing tire. They're included in the optional Z07 performance package on the Z06 and in a new PDE performance package to be offered on the ZR1. The 285/30ZR19 (front) and 335/25ZR20 (rear) rubber is matched with all-new aluminum Cup-style wheels in satin black or machined finishes. These rims are both stronger and 4.85 pounds lighter than the 20-spoke wheels offered in 2011.
Performance Traction Management (PTM) will also be offered on the Z06 for the first time in 2012. The system integrates traction control, active handling, and selective-ride-control systems to enhance consistency and overall performance on the track. When full throttle is applied upon exiting a corner, the system automatically manages acceleration dynamics. Factor in the new Michelin tires, and the '12 model is expected to set new benchmarks for marque performance. Engineers estimate an 8-percent gain in maximum lateral acceleration—to more than 1.1g—along with improved braking distance.
A full-width racing-style spoiler is also included in the '12 Z07 and PDE packages. Further, the Z06 will now offer Magnetic Selective Ride Control.
A carbon-fiber hood will be an available option on '12 Z06 models, while the ZR1's manual transmission will include taller gearing in Fifth and Sixth gears, for a 2-mpg improvement in highway fuel economy.
Interior and Feature Changes
All '12 Corvette models will include new seats with larger bolsters on the seatback and cushion areas. These should provide better driver support, especially in high- performance driving. Optional microfiber-suede seat inserts will improve tactile feel and offer additional support.
There's also a revised steering wheel for '12, featuring model-specific badges, streamlined switch trim, and wrapped spokes. Padded center console and armrests for all models are also standard. An additional visual touch inside the car is contrasting-color stitching in red, blue, or yellow; this feature is available with the custom leather-wrapped interior.
Also coming in '12 is a new Bose uplevel audio system, which includes nine speakers (compared to seven in the '11) for improved sound quality that's more precisely tuned to the cabin's acoustics. New tweeters located in the instrument panel and improved bass performance are the main benefits of the new system.
A new Technology Package (2LT trim level) brings together many of the Corvette's popular infotainment features and makes them available on more models. The option group includes the navigation radio, head-up display, Bose premium audio system, Bluetooth wireless-phone connectivity, and a USB port.
Wrapping up the new features for '12 is the option for customers to select brake- caliper colors—red, yellow, silver, or gray—for additional personalization.
For more information, visit www.chevrolet/corvette.