2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible vs. 2014 Jaguar F-type V-8 S – Comparison Tests

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The Chevrolet Corvette convertible and the Jaguar F-type V-8 S we’ve gathered here fulfill the basic tenets of the hot-rod faith. Window-shattering V-8? Check. Two seats tucked into a body that will draw longing stares and disapproving looks? Check. Guy behind the wheel wearing a Hawaiian shirt? Check.

But the Corvette and F-type do have differences. One has a DOHC engine with a supercharger on top, the other a pushrod V-8 that will send quivers through the body at idle. One looks like something a superhero would drive, the other something a superspy might buy. With all these commonalities and contrasts staring us in the face, we figured it appropriate to run our first test of the C7 convertible against its British foe to see who makes the better ride for the Hawaiian-shirt aficionado.

2014 Jaguar F-type V-8 S

Second place: Hot Seats.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible vs. 2014 Jaguar F-type V-8 S

While Americans were chopping, channeling, doo-wopping, and liking Ike, Jaguar was busy winning Le Mans with its C- and D-type racers. In the ’60s,Jaguar’s E-type defined sports-car style. After a four-decade hiatus, Jaguar is again building a knockout of a sports car. Staring isn’t enough; the F-type’s curves beg to be washed. It looks especially good from behind, yet the design is free of gaudiness or vulgarity.

Jag offers three engine options: a 340-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, a 380-hp version of that V-6, and a 495-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. An intercooler is standard. When it came to choosing the right foil for the new Corvette, we selected the supercharged V-8. Hot rods don’t have V-6s (cough, Plymouth Prowler), and here we wanted performance parity between our two roadsters, even though it comes at the expense of price ­parity. Opting for the V-8 pushes the Jag’s starting price by $11,000 to $92,895, which is more than $15,000 over a loaded Stingray convertible. Our test example pushed even further with the $1925 Extended Leather pack and the $1200 Meridian sound system, right past common sense and to an as-tested price of  $100,370.

At the test track, the Jaguar pushed us hard into its thinly padded leather seat. Acceleration to 60 matched the Corvette’s 3.7-second time with the F-type slightly pulling away past 100 mph. In addition to posting a higher power rating, the Jag’s V-8 also has more low-end torque than the Vette, which made launching the car without sending the tires up in smoke a bit of a challenge.

An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission available. Fortunately, it’s phenomenal and utterly convinced that it’s a dual-clutch automatic. It cracks off shifts without delay. Paddles behind the steering-wheel spokes call up the right gear instantly and the revs match perfectly on downshifts.

You’ll find yourself aimlessly dropping down a gear or two just to hear the cackling, metallic rap of  the F-type’s four-pipe exhaust. It’s as loud and raucous as a Ferrari-built foghorn, likely to set off your neighbors’ car alarms. Then again, if you can afford this car, you probably don’t live very close to your neighbors.

We left suburbia and headed into the San Bernardino Mountains. The F-type shines bright on these canyon roads: There’s plenty of easily exploited grip, and the car locks into corners without any suspension squirminess or excessive body roll. Its steering efforts are marginally lighter than the Corvette’s, which helps hide the fact that the aluminum F-type weighs 464 pounds more than the aluminum-and-composite-plastic Chevy. Yet we only felt the Jag’s mass disadvantage and 52.5-percent front-weight bias in our slalom test. Through the cones, the F-type wasn’t quite as eager to turn as the Corvette. And once the nose was pointed, the rear tires would threaten to swing wide. It still managed a slalom speed of 48.3 mph, not far off the Corvette’s 48.7 mph.

The Jag’s nose heaviness can be blamed on its hulking supercharged DOHC V-8. Overhead cams, 32 valves, and a supercharger on top make for a bulkier engine than the 16-valve pushrod V-8 in the Chevy. The Jag’s engine forces a high hood and an equally high instrument panel, so visibility suffers slightly as you sit deep within the car’s black-leather cocoon. While you’re in there, you’ll notice that there’s not much room and that the touch-screen infotainment system appears to be from the year 2005.

We really liked this car’s steering and its playful exuberance, but the new Corvette nearly matches or beats the F-type everywhere, including price.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

First place: Hot Seats.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible vs. 2014 Jaguar F-type V-8 S

While Corvettes haven’t been known for refinement, luxury, or comfort, the seventh-generation Vette may change that. Equipped with the $8005 3LT trim that adds power everything, a useful head-up display, a few extra Corvette-insignia tramp stamps, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, and a leather-wrapped interior, the Chevy is dressed up with the kind of luxury you expect from, well, Jaguar. And it wasn’t just the interior that had us likening our Stingray to a Jag: This Corvette arrived wearing the traditional British color combo of dark green over tan.

We can’t remember the last time a Corvette had such good seats. Probably never. More forgiving than the Jaguar’s stiff saddles, the Chevy’s also hug better. Fake suede covers the inside of the windshield frame for an extra $495 (Porsche would charge double that), and bits of aluminum trim highlight the smooth swaths of leather. The displays are modern, attractive, and intuitive to use, if a bit slow to respond. Someone at GM finally sweated the interior details and the results are excellent. Our only gripe is that we wish we could smell the leather over the strong scent of plastic resin.

Insult to injury: The Corvette not only won this comparo, but it did so wearing a color conspicuously close to British Racing Green.

Refinement has come to the driving experience, too. Tire noise is subdued even though the Michelins will hum loudly on concrete freeways. Magnetorheological shocks add $1795 to the track-ready Z51 package, but despite the eager chassis, the ride is more compliant and comfortable than the Jaguar’s flinty setup.

Before you start thinking the Corvette has become a European dandy, sit behind the wheel and take in the ridiculous front fenders. The view out the windshield makes you feel like a comic-book hero with hyperinflated pecs; C3 owners will feel right at home. The view out the back? Well, the body’s high tail and the roof’s slit of glass when the top is up don’t leave much of one. Despite learning about the salad fork, the Corvette is still very much a sports car in a superhero costume. If the body doesn’t convince you of that, the four polished bazookas firing from the rear bumper will.

A new structure arrived for the seventh generation, and, although it’s more solid than before, there’s a 196-pound weight penalty compared with the last C6 convertible we tested. That weight is distributed slightly rearward, a product of the compact V-8 that fits behind the front-axle center, as well as the transaxle located ahead of the rear wheels. We did notice a very slight quiver coming up through the steering column that we don’t recall in the coupe.

Like most Corvettes we’ve tested, the C7 convertible aced the track portion of our exam. Stops from 70 mph took a retina-detaching 141 feet, and skidpad grip came in at 1.00 g. Acceleration numbers were within a hair of the Jaguar’s, with the Chevy rocking back onto its rear wheels and enjoying a slight advantage at launch. This convertible proved quicker than the Z51 manual coupe we tested last year, and that makes it easier to forgive the presence of the six-speed automatic, which we chose for the sake of car-to-car comparability, and because less than half of ­Corvette convertible owners opt for the stick. Shifts happen nearly as fast as they do in the Jag, and there’s a pleasing snap, crackle, pop with each upshift. With a torque-laden 6.2-liter under the hood making 460 horsepower, more speeds than six are overkill. But this entire vehicle segment is about overkill, so an eight-speed auto is on the way for 2015. All the ­Corvette’s numbers were very repeatable, but it did throw a flag after we ran its trans fluid into the red zone during the last of our six maximum-acceleration runs.

Unlike so many Corvettes we’ve driven, the C7 is a joy to play with on public roads. Steering efforts are a little higher than the Jaguar’s, but there’s real feedback and road feel, even when you’re stuck behind a ­Winnebago chugging up a mountain.

The Vette’s width intimidates and annoys at first, especially around town. Start exploring the big grip, though, and its imposing size vanishes. This is an easy car to drive fast; its sedan-length 106.7-inch wheelbase imparts serious stability. And, as long as the transmission isn’t overheating, it’s ready and willing to party, provided you switch into track or sport mode. So configured, the automatic holds gears and downshifts under braking to give you the right gear for the corner. There’s also a manual mode that will let you bounce the 6.2 into the rev limiter when you forget to pull the right-side paddle.

And though we said right upfront that there will always be a price disparity between these two V-8–powered hot rods, the Corvette convertible’s performance, style, refinement, and, yes, price make it a winner. It’s tough to break $75,000 here. Loaded to the fabric top with $17,730 worth of options, our Corvette arrived with an as-tested price of $76,725, almost 25 percent less than our F-type. Yes, 76 grand is still expensive, but considering that the C7 convertible is now a legitimate alternative to $100,000 cars, this Corvette is a royal value.

Final Scoring, Performance Data, and Complete Specs

Hot Seats: Roadsters separated by an ocean (and $23,000).

VEHICLE
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible 2014 Jaguar F-type V-8 S
BASE PRICE $58,995 $92,895
PRICE AS TESTED $76,725 $100,370
DIMENSIONS
LENGTH 176.9 inches 176.0 inches
WIDTH 73.9 inches 75.7 inches
HEIGHT 48.6 inches 51.5 inches
WHEELBASE 106.7 inches 103.2 inches
FRONT TRACK 63.0 inches 62.4 inches
REAR TRACK 61.7 inches 64.1 inches
INTERIOR VOLUME 52 cubic feet 52 cubic feet
TRUNK, TOP UP/DOWN 10/10 cubic feet 7/7 cubic feet

POWERTRAIN
ENGINE pushrod 16-valve V-8 376 cu in (6162 cc) supercharged DOHC 32-valve V-8 305 cu in (5000 cc)
POWER HP @ RPM 460 @ 6000 495 @ 6500
TORQUE LB-FT @ RPM 465 @ 4600 460 @ 2500
REDLINE / FUEL CUTOFF 6500/6600 rpm 6600/6600 rpm
LB PER HP 7.6 8.0
DRIVELINE
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
DRIVEN WHEELS rear rear
GEAR RATIO:1/
MPH PER 1000 RPM/
MAX MPH
4.03/7.1/47
2.36/12.1/80
1.53/18.7/123
1.15/24.8/164
0.85/33.6/185
0.67/42.6/175
4.71/6.7/44
3.14/10.0/66
2.11/14.8/98
1.67/18.6/123
1.29/23.8/157
1.00/30.5/171
0.84/36.3/156
0.67/45.5/139
AXLE RATIO:1 2.73 2.56

CHASSIS
SUSPENSION F: control arms, leaf spring, anti-roll bar
R: control arms, leaf spring, anti-roll bar
F: multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
R: control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
BRAKES F: 13.6-inch vented, grooved disc
R: 13.3-inch vented, grooved disc
F: 15.0-inch vented disc
R: 14.8-inch vented disc
STABILITY CONTROL fully defeatable, traction off, competition mode, launch control fully defeatable, traction off
TIRES Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP
F: 245/35ZR-19 (89Y)
R: 285/30ZR-20 (95Y)
Pirelli P Zero
F: 255/35ZR-20 (97Y)
R: 295/30ZR-20 (101Y)

C/D TEST RESULTS
ACCELERATION
0–30 MPH 1.4 sec 1.5 sec
0–60 MPH 3.7 sec 3.7 sec
0–100 MPH 8.7 sec 8.4 sec
0–150 MPH 22.2 sec 20.4 sec
¼-MILE @ MPH 12.1 sec @ 119 12.0 sec @ 120
ROLLING START, 5–60 MPH 4.0 sec 3.9 sec
TOP GEAR, 30–50 MPH 2.5 sec 2.1 sec
TOP GEAR, 50–70 MPH 2.5 sec 2.8 sec
TOP SPEED 185 mph (drag ltd, C/D est) 171 mph (drag ltd)
CHASSIS
BRAKING 70–0 MPH 141 feet 147 feet
ROADHOLDING,
300-FT-DIA SKIDPAD
1.00 g 0.96 g
610-FT SLALOM 48.7 mph 48.3 mph
WEIGHT
CURB 3496 pounds 3960 pounds
%FRONT/%REAR 47.9/52.1 52.5/47.5
CG HEIGHT 18.0 inches 19.5 inches
FUEL
TANK 18.5 gallons 19.0 gallons
RATING 91 octane 91 octane
EPA CITY/HWY 16/28 mpg 16/23 mpg
C/D 500-MILE TRIP 18 mpg 16 mpg
CONVERTIBLE TOP
TIME TO OPEN/CLOSE 21/22 sec 11/13 sec
SOUND LEVEL
IDLE 55 dBA 47 dBA
FULL THROTTLE 90 dBA 89 dBA
70-MPH CRUISE 73 dBA 72 dBA
Final Results
VEHICLE
RANK

Max Pts. Available

1

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

2

2014 Jaguar F-type V-8 S

DRIVER COMFORT 10 9 8
ERGONOMICS 10 8 7
TRUNK SPACE* 5 5 4
FEATURES/AMENITIES* 10 10 7
FIT AND FINISH 10 9 9
INTERIOR STYLING 10 9 8
EXTERIOR STYLING 10 8 10
REBATES/EXTRAS* 5 0 0
AS-TESTED PRICE* 20 20 14
SUBTOTAL 90 78 67

POWERTRAIN
1/4-MILE ACCELERATION* 20 20 20
FLEXIBILITY* 5 4 5
FUEL ECONOMY* 10 10 8
ENGINE NVH 10 9 10
TRANSMISSION 10 8 10
SUBTOTAL 55 51 53

CHASSIS
PERFORMANCE* 20 20 18
STEERING FEEL 10 9 9
BRAKE FEEL 10 9 10
HANDLING 10 9 9
RIDE 10 8 7
SUBTOTAL 60 55 53

EXPERIENCE
FUN TO DRIVE 25 22 23

GRAND TOTAL
230
206
196

* These objective scores are calculated from the vehicle’s dimensions, capacities, rebates and extras, and/or test results.

(caranddriver.com)

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