460 horsepower, 30mpg: How GM’s Corvette engineers pulled off the impossible

By Amir Iliaifar — July 22, 2013
Digtial Trends

With the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray slated to hit dealerships early next year, there’s a good amount of buzz brewing over its arrival. Not only will the newest ‘Vette sport a heart-pounding V8, capable of generating 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, along with a modest $52,000 price tag, but when equipped with a seven-speed manual transmission, Chevy’s claims that the Stingray will achieve up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

With jaw dropped firmly on the floor, I jumped on the horn with Chevrolet’s Bala Murthy, lead engineer for energy integration and Roger Clark, senior manager energy center to find out how the normally thirsty Corvette’s fuel-saving sorcery was accomplished.

DT: The latest version of the Corvette has already gathered a lot of positive reaction. Now we hear the seven-speed manual is able to get up to 30 mpg on the highway. How were you guys were able to achieve that?

Roger Clark: We wanted to improve fuel economy while trying to match its heritage and history, so we had to focus on some of the fundamentals: things like tire rolling resistance, thinks like electric power steering. But the challenge is trying to have those systems that are really low in losses still provide the on-center feel [of the steering] and the responsiveness of a Corvette. We had two initiatives: tires, we greatly improved tire rolling resistance but we also went to electric power steering and both of those provided huge challenges in terms of keeping the Corvette’s performance level.

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