The first mid-engined Corvette is also the quickest and most powerful to date
The 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette is the eighth-generation of the iconic sports cars. Unveiled in 2019 for the 2020 model year, the C8 Corvette marks a massive departure from the C7 and its predecessor. For the first time ever, the Corvette features a mid-engined layout and becomes a full-fledged sports car rather than a sporty two-seat grand tourer. In this new configuration, the 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette competes against sports cars like the Ferrari 488 GTB, Ford GT, Lamborghini Huracan Evo, and Audi R8.
Redesigned from the ground up, the C8 is a brand-new car on the outside, but it still sports some trademark Corvette cues. The headlamps, the taillights, and the nose are clearly reminiscent of the C7 model. But the entire is entirely new and boasts more technology than any Corvette from the past. There’s big news under the rear hood as well, where Chevy stuffed a new LT2 V-8 engine. Likewise, the C8 is the first Corvette to feature a dual-clutch transmission, as well as the first of its kind to not have a manual transmission option. The C8 Corvette is also the quickest and more powerful naturally aspirated model of its kind, but more about that in the detailed review below.
A DREAM THAT GOES BACK TO THE LATE 1950S
Duntov experimented with the mid-engined layout through various concepts, starting with the CERV I, introduced in 1960
Although it arrived in 2019, the mid-engined Corvette is an idea the GM pondered with since the late 1950s. The mid-engined Corvette was a concept envisioned by Zora Arkus-Duntov, considered the father of the Corvette. Duntov joined Chevrolet when the original Corvette concept was unveiled in 1953 and played a key role in making the C1 model a popular choice. Chevy’s first true engineer, Duntov experimented with the mid-engined layout through various concepts, starting with the CERV I, introduced in 1960.
In 1964, Duntov took things up a notch with the CERV II, which featured torque converters at both axles and an all-wheel-drive layout. The CERV II was the first mid-engined vehicle with AWD, a concept for which Duntov held the pattern. Although Duntov retired from GM in 1975, Chevy made another attempt to create a mid-engined vehicle with the CERV III in 1990. Built in cooperation with Lotus, CERV III also remained just a concept. Almost 30 years later Chevrolet’s first mid-engined car finally became reality. Sadly, Duntov is no longer among us to see his dream in showrooms, but he’d probably be proud that Chevy took the mid-engined road with the iconic Corvette.
CHEVROLET C8 CORVETTE STINGRAY EXTERIOR
Perfect Mid-Engined Proportions
Shorter Front End
The Same Pointy Nose
Aggressive Profile With Big Vents
Longer Rear Deck
Quad Taillights With Organic Design
Optional High-Wing Spoiler
Exhaust Pipes At The Corners
12 Exterior Colors
Optional Carbon Roof
The nose is notably shorter and the cabin is closer to the rear axle
The C8 Corvette is obviously a big departure from the C7 due to its mid-engined layout. This configuration alters the body dramatically. The nose is notably shorter, the cabin is closer to the rear axle, while the rear section behind the B-pillars is significantly longer. Despite these changes, the C8 still looks familiar as Chevy integrated some trademark Corvette design cues into its exterior.
Up front, we can see the same pointy nose with sculpted character lines on the hood. Two lines run down the center, just like on the previous Corvette. The C8 also features similar headlamps that are long and swept back toward the cabin. Naturally, they have a new lighting pattern with thin LED strips on the lateral edges and turn signals into the upper corners.
The bumper is a more notable departure from the C7. While the previous Corvette has just one big vent in the center, C8 also features side intakes. The front overhang is a bit shorter too.
The canopy-forward stance is inspired by American jet fighters like the F22 and F35
The C8 Corvette stands out even more when seen from the side. It has the perfect mid-engined proportions thanks to its short nose and long rear deck, but it also boasts very muscular rear fenders and a revised cabin. The new mid-engined layout means that the C8 no longer needs the front fender vent seen on the C7. Instead, it now features an even bigger vent behind the door. This outlet feeds air into the engine and the rear brakes.
The doors close almost seamlessly, as does the removable top. With almost no gaps to separate them from the body, they contribute to the C8’s modern design. The canopy-forward stance is inspired by American jet fighters like the F22 and F35. Not only the cabin was moved forward, but it was also heavily redesigned toward the back. The quarter windows are smaller, while the C-pillars are thicker toward the base. The roof was also lowered, so the C8 Corvette has a more aerodynamic and aggressive look than its predecessor.
Quad taillights are a trademark Corvette feature since the early days and it's nice to see that Chevy retained them for the C8
Around back, only the quad taillights remind of the old Corvette. Quad taillights are trademark Corvette feature since the early days and it’s nice to see that Chevy retained them for the C8 as well. Actually, had the company not used quad taillights, the C8 would have nothing in common with its predecessors in the rear. The taillights are sleeker than before and, for the first time ever, extend into the rear fenders. Also for the first time, the Corvette features sequential turn signals. Although these lights are heavily regulated in the U.S., Chevy found a loop hole in the system.
Because the Government requires that the first sequence that lights up to be bigger than 2,200 square millimeters, Chevy programmed the C8’s taillights to flash on fully at first and then switch to a sequential model. Specifically, instead of using the standard sequence in which the inner section of the taillight lights up first and is followed by the outer element, Chevy programmed them to flash on fully at first and then switch to a sequential routine. Simply put, both elements light up at first and then start flashing from the inside out, indicating the direction of the turn, which means that the first flash is bigger than the required 2,200 square millimeters.
For the first time, the Corvette features sequential turn signals
The license plate recess was moved from the bumper to the fascia and it’s now flanked by small vents on each side. Down below, the C7’s mild bumper was transformed into a full-fledged, race-inspired diffuser. The exhaust pipes no longer sit in the center, an area that’s now covered by a grille. Instead, Chevy went with the traditional layout with a couple of exhaust pipes at each corner of the bumper.
The Corvette doesn’t come standard with the wing you see here, but it’s available through the options list. This high-wing spoiler provides up to 400 pounds of downforce, so it will make the C8 Corvette more nimble and stable at the track.
The C8 Corvette is a bit longer and wider than its predecessor
The C8 Corvette is also highly customizable. Chevy now offers no fewer than 12 exterior colors. The palette includes nine familiar colors, Torch Red, Arctic White, Black, Blade Silver Metallic, Shadow Gray, Ceramic Matrix Gray, Long Beach Red, Elkhart Lake Blue, and Sebring Orange, plus three all-new colors, Rapid Blue, Zeus Bronze, and Accelerate Yellow. You can also opt for a body-colored, transparent, or carbon-fiber removable roof.
You can also pick from six wheel designs, each available in black, silver, or machined finishes. Carbon-fiber is also available for some parts of the car, like the mirror caps, front grille inserts, splitter, side skirts, and side vents. These can also be had in black or high-gloss carbon, while some are available in body color. Finally, the Engine Appearance Package enables you to pick from a black, red or silver engine cover and add carbon-fiber panels on the sides and LED lights for a cool effect.
As far as dimensions go, the C8 Corvette is a bit longer than its predecessor. Now measuring 182.3 inches from bumper to bumper, the C8 is 5.4 inches longer than the C7, which measures 176.9 inches. It’s also a bit wider at 76.1 inches, 2.2 inches more than the C7 Corvette (73.9 inches). Despite being longer and wider, the C8 is just as low as its predecessor at 48.6 inches. Its wheelbase is only a half-inch longer than the C7 at 107.2 inches.
2020 CHEVROLET C8 CORVETTE STINGRAY INTERIOR
Sporty, Supercar-Like Interior
Tall Center Console
Vertical Button Console
Race-Inspired Steering Wheel
12-Inch Instrument Cluster
Three Seat Options
Various Upholstery Options
A Bit Less Passenger Room Than C7
Roomier Than The Competition
12.6 Cubic Feet Of Luggage Room
The tall center console that's slightly angled toward the driver reminds me of the C7
Just like the exterior, the interior of the Corvette is much more aggressive for the eighth-generation. The tall center console that’s slightly angled toward the driver reminds me of the C7, but everything else was redesigned. The console is actually similar to those seen in high-profile supercars. The unit ascents toward the dashboard and thus eliminates the traditional center stack. The infotainment system is placed at the top and it’s angled toward the driver. That’s a nice touch, but it leaves the passenger without access to the car’s functions.
Just under the screen we can see the gearshift lever and the mode selector. Further down is a storage compartment with a stylish lid. What about the various control usually found on the center stack and center console? Well, Chevrolet took a unique approach and placed them on the right-side edge of the center console. The control plate stretches over the entire length of the console, which make some buttons difficult to reach for the driver. However, given the lower position of the seat and the higher placement of the unit, you shouldn’t have issues operating all of them. On the flipside, I think that the entire stripe that incorporates the controls looks too plasticky and cheap. This is probably one of the areas where Chevy had to make compromises to keep the base price low.
Thanks to the flat top of the steering wheel, the flat dashboard, and the lowered front hood, you'll also have a better view of the road ahead
The rest of the dashboard looks rather cool. The element is flat and extends a long way under the windshield, while the horizontal A/C vents makes it look even thinner toward the passenger. The steering wheel is brand-new and a massive departure from the usual Corvette stuff. After decades of featuring a bland steering wheel, the Corvette finally has a race-inspired unit in the base model. The squared-off wheel has a flat top and bottom and a two-spoke design with the redesigned "Corvette" badge in the center. The upper section provides a perfect view of the 12-inch digital instrument cluster.
The big news here is that the cockpit was also moved 16.5 inches toward the front axle compared to the C7 Corvette.
Another cool design feature is the widened lower section of the door. It also includes detailing that trickles down from the dashboard and the result is a wraparound design that will make you feel like in a race car. The contrast stitching, the aluminum inserts and controls, and the smooth surfaces also give the door panels a premium look. However, some surfaces still look and feel like plastic, so don’t expect Ferrari quality in the C8 Corvette.
The range-topping option is called Competition Sport and it was designed for "the serious track-focused driver"
As before, you can choose between three different seats. The standard GT1 seats are sporty enough for a car with serious performance credentials and come wrapped in Mulan leather. Optionally, you can add two-way lumbar support and wing adjustment. Go with the optional GT2 seats and you’ll get a race-inspired design with dual density foam for increased comfort during long trips. They feature carbon-fiber trim, Napa leather inserts, Mulan leather bolsters, black-painted seatbacks, two-way lumbar support, plus heating and ventilation.
The range-topping option is called Competition Sport and it was designed for "the serious track-focused driver" according to Chevrolet. These seats have bigger side bolsters, full Nappa leather seating surfaces, and carbon fiber trim on the headrests. They also include heating and ventilation and an all-new durable performance textile inspired by Kevlar vests. This is the option you’ll have to get if you plan on taking the C8 to the track, but these seats will also serve you well for long trips thanks to their construction and features.
Speaking of features, Chevrolet also offers a range of premium amenities, like hand-wrapped, cut-and-sew leather components with thick press stitching, stainless steel speaker grilles with the Bose Performance Series audio system, carbon-fiber trim on the center console and door panels, and authentic aluminum.
As far as tech goes, you now have access to six modes instead of four
You can also pick from six different interior color themes. There’s the classic Jet Black and Sky Cool Gray is you prefer the mild monochrome scheme. If you’re into colorful cabin, you can go with Two-Tone Blue, Adrenaline Red, or Morello Red. Chevy also offers Natural and Natural Dipped, two light brown layouts with the former also combining black. You can combine any of these with yellow or red stitching. However, the standard black interiors have Sky Cool Gray thread. You can also opt for seatbelts in either black, blue, light brown, Torch Red, yellow or orange.
You’ll find the familiar Weather, Tour, Sport, and Track modes from the C7 Corvette, but also two new modes called Z and MyMode. MyMode is a configurable setting that allows you to combine functions from all the other modes. If you want a milder track setting or a Tour setup with a sportier style, MyMode will allow you to do just that. Z mode was named after the Z06, ZR1, and Z51 performance packages and it’s essentially MyMode with the ability to adjust the engine and transmission as well. This mode can be activated through a "Z" button on the steering wheel.
The infotainment system is faster and simpler, while the screen has a higher resolution display
The C8 Corvette also features Chevy’s brand-new infotainment system. There isn’t much information available, but Chevy did point out that it’s faster and simpler, while the screen has a higher resolution display. It also comes with Bluetooth pairing with Near Field Communication, wireless charging, voice recognition, and real-time traffic. A tire fill alert system warns you when the tire meets maximum pressure.
Just like its predecessor, the C8 can be equipped with the Performance Data Recorder, which you can use to record circuit and point-to-point road courses. It can also be programmed to work like a dash cam or you can configure it to only start when the car is set in Valet mode. The Performance Data Recorder was improved over the old version and now features a higher resolution camera and a new in-vehicle interface.
As far as passenger space goes, the C8 Corvette is actually a bit more cramped than the C7. Headroom remains unchanged at 37.9 inches, but legroom decreased from 43 to 42.8 inches. The C8 Corvette also lost 0.8 inches in shoulder room, dropping from 55.2 to 54.4 inches. Likewise, hip room decreased from 53.7 inches in the C7 to 52 inches in the C8 Corvette. Granted, these small differences won’t be noticeable, but it’s an important piece of information because it goes against the tide. While most new-generation cars offer a bit more room than their predecessors, the C8 Corvette goes the other way around.
When compared to the Ford GT, one of its main rivals, the C8 Corvette benefits from an extra 2.2 inches of headroom. The GT is rated at 35.7 inches versus the C8’s 37.9 inches. Legroom is about the same, with an extra 0.2 inches for the Ford GT. When it comes to shoulder room, however, the GT offers only 48.7 inches, 5.7 inches less than the C8 Corvette. The same goes for hip room. At 45.1 inches, the GT falls behind the C8 by a solid 6.9 inches.
When it comes to luggage room, the C8 Corvette offers two different storage compartments. While the C7 had space just under the rear hatch, the C8 offers luggage room under the front trunk as well. There’s a secondary storage area under the rear deck lid, behind the engine, but it’s smaller that the C7’s and become even smaller when the roof top is stored in there. Overall, the C8 offers a combined 12.6 cubic feet of space, which is enough for two sets of golf clubs.
That’s a notable decrease from the C7 Corvette, which offers 15 cubic feet. It’s also a massive decrease from the C6, which had a 22.4-cubic-foot trunk.
However, that’s notably more than the Ford GT, which comes with a trunk section that swallows only 0.4 cubic feet. The C8 Corvette is also notably roomier than supercars like the Ferrari 488 GTB and Lamborghini Huracan, rated at only eight and 7.8 cubic feet, respectively. The McLaren 720S is just as spacious at 12.7 cubic feet. On the flipside, the C8 Corvette falls behind mid-engined competitors design with enhanced luggage room in mind. The McLaren 570GT offers an extra half cubic foot at 13.1, while the McLaren GT wins the battle by a large margin at 20.1 cubic feet.
2020 CHEVROLET C8 CORVETTE STINGRAY DRIVETRAIN AND PERFORMANCE
New 6.2-Liter V-8 Engine
Up To 495 Horsepower
Up To 470 Pound-Feet Of Torque
0 To 60 Mph In 2.9 Seconds
Top Speed At 194 Mph
Quicker Than Some Competitors
Not As Powerful As Ferrari And Ford
No Manual Gearbox
Quickest Base Corvette Yet
Most Powerful Base Vette Yet
The mid-engined layout enables the C8 Corvette to be notably quicker than the C7 with a mild increase in power
The mid-engined layout is by far the biggest news about the C8 Corvette.
After 66 years as a front-engined sports car, the Corvette was radically redesigned into a mid-engined vehicle. The reasons are obvious. Chevy needed a contender for the increasingly popular midship sports car market and wants to keep the iconic Corvette away from the limitations of a front-engined architecture.
This layout comes with many advantages, including that of a superior weight distribution and a rear weight bias that enhances performance both in a straight line and on the race track. The C8 also provides better responsiveness due to the cabin being placed closer to the front axle. It also enables the C8 Corvette to be notably quicker than the C7 with a mild increase in power.
The new LT2 engine delivers up to 490 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque
Although it’s based on the LT1, the LT2 boasts significant changes. It has a new block and vent system, a crankshaft that sits an inch lower to the ground, a low-profile oil pan for reduced mass, and an oil cooler with 25-percent greater capacity than the C7’s.
Speaking of power, the C8 Corvette features a brand-new V-8 engine called LT2. Based on the LT1 in the C7 Corvette, it also displaces 6.2 liters, but it was heavily revised in order to be fitted on the rear axle. The engine produces 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque in the standard model. When paired to the performance exhaust that comes with the optional Z51 Performance Package, the mill delivers 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. That’s an extra 35 horsepower and five pound-feet over the C7 Corvette and the most power and torque in any entry-level Corvette.
The C8 Corvette is the only vehicle in its class powered by a naturally aspirated V-8 engine
It’s also worth noting that the C8 Corvette is the only vehicle in its class powered by a naturally aspirated V-8 engine. This makes it difficult to compare to other sports cars, but I’ll give it a shot.
The first competitor that comes to mind is the Ford GT. Granted, the GT is significantly more powerful than the C8, but it’s the kind of car that Chevy wants to take down with a supercharged model later on. The rivalry between these two companies go back several decades when the C1 Corvette competed against the Ford Thunderbird and the Chevy Camaro was launched to rival the Ford Mustang in the 1960s. Through the C8 Corvette, Chevrolet finally has a competitor for the Ford GT. But unlike the C8, the GT features a twin-turbo V-6 engine. The mill generates 647 horsepower and 550 pound-feet, an extra 152 horses and 80 pound-feet.
Chevy also wants a piece of the action in the higher performance segment dominated by the Ferrari 488 GTB, but the Italian supercar also packs more punch. Powered by a twin-turbo, 3.9-liter V-8, the GTB comes with 661 horsepower and 561 pound-feet on tap. That’s 166 horses and 91 pound-feet more than the GT. It’s the same thing with the McLaren 570GT, powered by a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8. The British sports car comes with 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet, also more than the C8. However, while it delivers an 67 horsepower, the 570GT falls behind in the torque department by 27 pound-feet.
Moving on to the only options that still feature naturally aspirated engines, both the Lamborghini Huracan and Audi R8 feature 5.2-liter V-10 engines. But both are more powerful than the C8. The Huracan boasts an extra 136 horsepower at 631 horses while the R8 generates up to 612 horsepower, 117 more, in Performance trim. Both suffer in the torque department though at 443 and 428 pound-feet, respectively.
Chevrolet has yet to release sprint times, but did say that the C8 will hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than three seconds. This could mean anything, but the final figure is usually just a tad below the estimated number. For instance, Chevy released the same estimate for the C7 Corvette Z06 and the final figure came in at 2.95 seconds. As a result, I wouldn’t get my hopes up for the C8 Corvette to be quicker than 2.9 clicks. But this would be an impressive benchmark, as it would make the C8 almost a full second quicker than the entry C7, which hits the benchmark in 3.8 seconds. It would also make the base C8 a tad quicker than the C7 Corvette Z06.
But how about the competition? Is the C8 quicker than its rivals? It depends on the car. As you might have already guessed, the C8 won’t beat the sports cars that have more power, but there’s an exception. The Ford GT, albeit notably more powerful, needs three seconds to hit 60 mph. If the C8 gets there in 2.9 clicks, it will be a tenth-second quicker. The other exception is the McLaren 570GT, rated at 3.3 seconds, some four tenths slower. The Ferrari 488 GTB, on the other hand, is a tenth-second quicker at 2.8 clicks.
As for the naturally aspirated competitors, the Lamborghini Huracan Evo is just as quick as the C8 Corvette with a 2.9-second benchmark. The less powerful Audi R8 is slower though. The standard model hits 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, while the Performance trim reach the speed in three seconds flat.
As expected, the C8 Corvette has a higher top speed than the outgoing C7. The mid-engined sports car will charge to 194 mph, seven mph more than the front-engined C7. While this is a notable improvement, the C8 Corvette isn’t competitive in its market because most mid-engined sports cars hit in excess of 200 mph. The Ford GT is rated at 216 mph, the Ferrari 488 GTB hits 205 mph, while Lamborghini Huracan Evo charges to 212 mph. Likewise, the McLaren 570GT hits 204 mph, while the Audi R8 reaches 201 mph. The only potential competitors that have lower top speeds are the Porsche 911 Carrera at 182 mph and the upcoming Saleen S1 at around 180 mph.
This 194-mph can only be reached in the base C8 Corvette. Opt for the Z51 Performance Package that adds five horsepower and five pound-feet of torque and you won’t be able to get there. That’s because this bundle also changes the car’s aerodynamics. Chevy didn’t say how many mph you need to sacrifice for the Z51 package, but it’s safe to assume that it won’t drop below 190 mph.
Chevrolet doesn't offer an automatic, which is a premier for the C8 Corvette
The LT2 V-8 mates to a brand-new transmission, in the form of an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. Chevy’s first unit of this kind, it was design with Tremec specifically for the C8 Corvette. The company says that it combines the direct feeling of a manual gearbox and the premium comfort of an automatic transmission. Like most automatics on the market, you can shift manually using paddles placed behind the steering wheel.
While the first-generation model was launched with an automatic only in 1953, Chevrolet added a manual in 1955. Since then, all Corvettes featured manual transmissions. 64 years later and we need to say farewell to the manual-equipped Corvette.
While this may be a sad day for gearheads, Chevy has solid reasons to give up on the manual. For starters, sales of manual Corvettes have dropped dramatically in recent years, with less than 20 percent of cars specified with three pedals. Second, Chevy says that the C8 Corvette would have required a bespoke manual that would have been too expensive to justify.
The good news is that dual-clutch is incredibly fast. Likely inspired by Porsche’s PDK unit, which Chevrolet used in the early mules of the C8 Corvette, the DCT is quicker than any other transmission from the American brand so far. The DCT was set up with a very low first gear, which takes the car off the line quickly, and with close-ratio gears from second to sixth gears to keep the engine near peak power. The tall seventh and eighth gears provide easy long-distance cruising with improved fuel economy.
2020 CHEVROLET C8 CORVETTE STINGRAY STRUCTURE, CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION
The design also lowers the C8's center of gravity, alongside the engine, which results in improved stability compared to the C7
Chevrolet developed a brand-new structure for the C8 Corvette. Hardly surprising since it doesn’t share the front-engined architecture of the C7. The new structure was built around the car’s center tunnel, a layout that enables a light and stiff foundation for the suspension system. This design comes with many advantages, Chevy argues, starting with improved torsional rigidity for a more connected feel on the road and track. Chevy also claims that the design eliminates the need for oversized rocker panels to bear the structure, which results in easier ingress and egress compared to the competition.
The design also lowers the C8’s center of gravity, alongside the engine, which results in improved stability compared to the C7. It also freed up some space for the front storage compartment and allowed Chevy to add an additional inch of rearward seat travel and more room for the reclining seat backs. More importantly, it allows for the Corvette to be built in both left- and right-hand-drive versions, a premier for the nameplate.
The structure itself is innovative, as it features six high-pressure die-cast aluminum parts that reduce the number of joints necessary within the vehicle. This results in a stiffer structure that improves handling and cornering. The rear bumper beam is made from carbon-fiber to reduce weight, an industry-first feature. The front and rear trunk tubs are molded from a new material called "float." Derived from fiberglass and resin, it’s so light that it can float in water. Not only it reduces the car’s curb weight, but it also helps reduce noise and vibration.
The available Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 further improves responsiveness and handling
The suspension system includes coilover dampers that improve handling. The available Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 further improves responsiveness and handling by responding faster and more smoothly to driver inputs. When driven at low speeds and on the highway, the C8 Corvette acts like a full-fledged grand tourer. Chevy also equipped the Corvette with a nose-lift system that raises the front ground clearance by about 1.5 inches in 2.8 seconds. The innovative feature here is that nose-lift works in conjunction with the car’s GPS system and records and remembers the location where you lift the front end. If you pass through the same area, the car will activate the nose-lift automatically.
The C8 Corvette also features an improved steering ratio, a launch control feature, and an electronic limited-slip differential integrated into the transaxle. The Z51 Performance Package adds larger brake rotors, enhanced cooling, a bespoke axle ratio, front brake cooling inlets, and the performance exhaust system that adds the extra five horsepower and five pound-feet of torque.
2020 CHEVROLET C8 CORVETTE STINGRAY PRICING
Chevrolet initially said that the C8 Corvette will start from under $60,000. With the outgoing C7 Corvette priced from $55,900, I assumed that the C8 will cost more than that. I also predicted that Chevy’s "under $60,000" sticker is probably just a marketing scheme that will result in a starting price of $59,995. A few weeks later and Chevrolet confirmed just that: the base C8 Corvette starts from $59,995. Is this bad? By no means!
Sure, the C8 Corvette is a bit more expensive than its predecessor, but it’s also significantly cheaper than the competition. The Ford GT, for instance, costs a whopping $450,000 before options, while the Ferrari 488 GTB retails from around $260,000. The McLaren 570GT is also more expensive at $202,000, while the newer McLaren GT comes in at $210,000. The Lamborghini Huracan EVO isn’t cheap either at $287,400, but the Audi R8 comes in at $169,900. The Porsche 911, a rear-engined sports car, is the only proposition that starts under $100,000, with a sticker set at $91,100.
For a sports car with almost 500 horsepower, a sprint to 60 mph in less than three seconds, and a top speed of more than 190 mph, the C8 Corvette is practically a bargain.
2020 CHEVROLET C8 CORVETTE STINGRAY COMPETITION
Previously a competitor for cars like the Dodge Viper (now discontinued) and the Mercedes-AMG GT, although both were notably more expensive, the Corvette now joins the mid-engined sports car market. Chevy’s plan is to tackle automakers like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren, but these companies offer far more powerful cars that are also significantly more expensive. The Ford GT, the C8’s main rival as far as tradition goes, is also more powerful and expensive. But this mission will be accomplished by the upcoming Z06 and ZR1 models. These issues make the C8’s competitor list look very thin, not to mention that even the most affordable vehicles in this class are still notably more expensive. But let’s see which cars come close.
The R8 is essentially a less powerful and less spectacular Lamborghini Huracan Evo. It’s also a bit more affordable, fetching less than $200K in base trim. The R8 is one of the very few sports cars with naturally aspirated engines, sharing the 5.2-liter V-10 with the Huracan. The mill generates 562 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque in the base model and 612 horses and 428 pound-feet in performance spec. Although it benefits from extra horsepower, it’s slower than the C8 Corvette, needing 3.3 and three seconds to hit 60 mph. Its top speed is rated at 201 and 206 mph, respectively. Pricing starts from $169,900 for the base model and from $195,900 for the Performance model.
The Porsche 911 is actually a rear-engined sports car, but it’s aimed at the same type of customers looking for a daily driver that can also be used on the race track without aftermarket upgrades. The sub-$100K sticker also recommends the 911 as a competitor for the C8 Corvette The 911 was redesigned for the 2020 model year and dropped its old naturally aspirated flat-six in favor of a twin-turbo flat-six. The new engine generates 444 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque in the 911 Carrera S, which makes it slightly less powerful than the C8 Corvette. It’s also a full second slower to 60 mph and has the lowest top speed at 182 mph. Pricing starts from $97,400, making it the most affordable of the bunch.
0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds
The Saleen S1 is not yet available, but it will go on sale later in 2019. A spiritual successor to the cool S7, the S1 is a bit more compact, lighter, and features a four-cylinder engine instead of a V-8. Designed in cooperation with Saleen’s new partner, Jiangsu Automotive from China, the S1 rides on an aluminum tub and features a carbon-fiber body. Saleen ditched the V-8 engine used in the S7 and built its very own, turbocharged 2.5-liter four-banger. The engine generates 450 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, a rating that places it well below the C8 Corvette. The S1 needs 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph on its way to a top speed of 180 mph, figures that are a bit inferior to Chevy’s sports car. While the S1 is very similar to the C8 Corvette in many aspects, it will cost notably more as Saleen estimates a $100,000 sticker.
Needless to say, the C8 is a major breakthrough for both the Corvette nameplate and for Chevrolet. After almost 60 years since Zora Arkus-Duntov, the father of the Corvette, created the first mid-engined Chevy, the American brand finally put this idea into a production car. And it chose the Corvette, the nameplate that Duntov wanted to transform into a mid-engined design so many times. This dramatic shift marks a new beginning for the Corvette, which now competes in a different segment, one that’s packed with spectacular and very expensive vehicles. And the Corvette wins big time here. Not only more affordable than the competition, but it also offers solid performance given what’s under its midsection.
For a sports car with less than 500 horsepower, the C8 Corvette is impressively fast. It’s only marginally slower than competitors that deliver in excess of 600 horsepower via turbocharged engines, a sign that Chevrolet didn’t just want a mid-engined Corvette, it wanted a capable sports car that could give the competition a run for its money. And you know, it kind of succeeded. Sure, it doesn’t have a manual transmission for purists and it can’t hit 200 mph, but it’s packed with state-of-the-art technology, it’s decently customizable for the price, it has a cool design, and it’s significantly more affordable than all the other mid-engined sports cars out there. And you know what? It’s the only car in the world that costs less than $70,000 and hits 60 mph in under three seconds. If this isn’t an impressive benchmark, I don’t know what is.