2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible

How important is Europe to Chevrolet? Very important. To underline this, the automaker made a significant world debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show: the 2014 Corvette Stingray convertible. The coupe debuted in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the premiere of the soft-top so soon after the hardtop indicates that Chevrolet means business with the Corvette in the halo car's two most lucrative markets.

There's a fondness for the Corvette in Europe, helped in part by its exploits at Le Mans each year, but also aided by Europeans' love of sports cars. With the radically improved new C7, Chevy finally has a car to take the fight to the Porsche 911.

The Stingray ragtop drew plenty of attention in Geneva. Some visitors made an interesting observation: Here's Chevrolet going after Porsche with an open-top Stingray, while downstairs at the show Jaguar is getting ready to do the same with its open-top F-Type. We're betting in time they will all be together in a three-way face-off — the battle of America, England and Germany?

View Pictures:  Stingray drop-top debuts in Geneva

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible C7

Click to enlarge picture2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible (© Perry Stern)

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

Click to enlarge picture2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible (© Magic Car Pics/Microsoft)

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible

Click to enlarge picture2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible (© Magic Car Pics/Microsoft)

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible

What is it? The new seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette was revealed in January, reviving the Stingray name along with it, but Chevy has lopped off the roof already for the Corvette Stingray convertible. The Stingray's new 6.2-liter V8 engine puts out a nice, round 450 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque — enough to hurtle the convertible from zero to 62 mph in less than four seconds, according to Chevrolet.

What's hot? All C7 Corvettes get Chevrolet's Active Rev Matching feature, which automatically blips downshifts on the new 7-speed manual gearbox. Better still is the engine's new Active Fuel Management system, which shuts down half of the V8's cylinders when cruising. It means this Motor City muscle car will return 31 mpg highway. Designed with a drop-top version in mind from the start, the chassis should be relatively stiff, too.

What's not? The interior is an improvement on past Corvettes, but it still has a way to go before it matches some European rivals. The coupe actually gets a removable targa-style roof as well, so we wonder if the open car will warrant the likely price premium.

How much and when? Chevrolet hasn't confirmed when it will go on sale or how much it will cost, but we'd expect the Stingray convertible to start between $55,000 and $65,000 when it does.

MSN Autos' verdict: Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type, watch out: A new U.S. challenger is in town.