Is the new car actually the Smart Buy for once?
Buying a brand-new car is a one-of-a-kind experience, but smart shoppers know there is always a better value to be had on the used market. CarBuzz's Smart Buy segment was specifically created to give shoppers cheaper used alternatives to brand-new cars but the reveal of the 2020 C8 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray may have completely broken the Smart Buy formula. The C8 Corvette looks like such a massive improvement in performance over the C7, that even the most powerful C7, the ZR1, will barely outpace a Z51-equipped C8 from 0 to 60 mph.
Chevy says the 6.2-liter V8 producing 495 horsepower enables a 0-60 mph sprint of under 3.0 seconds with the Z51 package and a base car starts at under $60,000, making it an extraordinary value. So instead of looking at several used cars that are a better value than a new car, this list will take a look at seven used supercars that even with the help of depreciation, still may not equal the value of the C8.
People often compare the Corvette to the Porsche 911, so we decided to compare the new C8 to the quickest 911 we could find at a similar price range. We landed on the 997-generation 911 Turbo, which comes powered by a 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six producing 473 hp or a larger 3.8-liter later engine (for 2010 and later) producing 486 hp.
Porsche claims the car can hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds (slower than the C8) and we could only find a handful of high-mileage cars under the $60,000 mark. Even the quickest used 911 is no match for the new Corvette. The 997 generation Turbo was the last to offer a manual transmission though, so it does have one advantage in collector value over the C8.
Switching to a mid-engined layout is a massive leap for the Corvette, putting it in the same conversation as cars like the Audi R8. But can the new Vette really be better than Iron Man's car? Less than $60,000 will put you into an early R8 powered by a 4.2-liter V8 producing 420 hp. But to even be in the same performance ballpark as the new Corvette, you'll have to spend a lot more to get the 5.2-liter V10 model with 520 hp. Even then, the V10's 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds won't be as quick and you'll have to deal with outdated Audi infotainment. At least the V10 will sound more exotic than the LT2 V8.
When we get to the more exotic options, the Corvette's dominance continues. A very early Lamborghini Gallardo can now be purchased for less than $60,000 but with Chevy selling a brand-new C8 for less, we aren't sure why you'd want the Lambo. The early Gallardo features a 5.0-liter V10 producing 493 hp, which is only two horses shy of the C8. In 2005, power was upped to 520 hp but the E-Gear semi-automated manual is no match for the C8's lightning-quick dual-clutch. Factor in the maintenance costs of a decade and a half old Lamborghini and there is really no comparison.
To the casual car fan, switching to a mid-engined layout makes the new Corvette look a bit like a Ferrari. But what Ferrari can you actually get for around the same price as the new C8? Based on used prices, it isn't possible to find a used F430 for less than around $70,000, so you'd have to go older (and slower) with a 360 Modena. We still argue that a manual F430 is a completely different experience than a new Corvette (regardless of where the engine sits) but the C8 is clearly better value.
Used sports cars from Europe are no match for the new Corvette, but what about a car from Japan? Like the Corvette, the Nissan GT-R has long represented superb value compared to rivals from Europe and used examples can now be found for less than $50,000. In terms of price, the GT-R looks to be in a position to challenge the Corvette on value. Even a post-facelift car with the 523-hp V6 can be had for under $60k, with a 0-60 time of just 2.7 seconds.
If you are willing to have a used car with some miles on it, the GT-R is one of the only cars on this list that can compete on price and performance. But the Corvette is brand-new with a warranty, should be cheaper to own, and has more modern technology.
If the Dodge Viper were still around today, it would no longer be competitive with the C8 Corvette. The Viper's front-mounted V10 was an interesting alternative to a high-performance Corvette model like the Z06 but the new C8's mid-engine layout and dual-clutch transmission should be quick enough to challenge even the fastest Vipers like the ACR in a straight line. We think the fifth-generation Viper (2015-2017) will still have some collector value though because it is one of the last pure American sports cars with a big engine and manual transmission.