The convertible Vette is better than ever. But is it the one we'd buy?
The eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette boasts the most significant changes to the nameplate since its introduction back in 1953. Not only does this new C8 model come with an engine in the middle of the car, but the convertible version is now a retractable hardtop for the first time. These two changes have done wonders for the convertible's sales. Whereas the outgoing soft top C7 Corvette only accounted for around 20% of overall sales, this new convertible C8 model makes up around 40% of the volume.
So what makes this new convertible Vette so much more popular than the last model? CarBuzz spent the week with the new 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible to find out. Here's why we would recommend the convertible version and why the coupe may still be the better option for some buyers.
We always felt the Corvette Convertible was hampered by too many compromises compared to the coupe, which featured a removable Targa roof. The convertible was less attractive, it had a smaller trunk, it weighed significantly more, and it didn't drive as well. With the new C8, all of these issues have been resolved. With the roofs installed, most casual observers won't be able to tell the coupe and convertible models apart. In fact, we'd say the convertible looks a bit prettier with the roof off, thanks to those rear buttresses.
Chevy's engineers were able to reduce the weight of the hardtop convertible mechanism to only 80 pounds, meaning the performance is virtually identical to the coupe. As for the practicality, both models now boast exactly the same amount of trunk space, so there's no more compromise when opting for the convertible.
The convertible's two-piece hardtop mechanism features six electric motors that can retract in 16 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. Not having to get out of the car to remove the roof is the convertible's most substantial benefit over the coupe. With the convertible, lowering the top only takes a few seconds using an electronic switch mounted inside the car. The top can also be lowered from the key fob.
The coupe model features a Targa top that can be taken off and stowed in the trunk, but doing so can be tricky for one person and requires getting out of the vehicle. Drivers who plan to take the roof off frequently may prefer the convenience of the convertible. If a Corvette Coupe driver wants to bring the roof with them (in case of inclement weather), the roof piece takes up the entire rear trunk. In the convertible, the top stows in a separate area that does not impede trunk space.
The C8 Corvette Convertible offers no significant compromises over the coupe, but there is one minor drawback to consider. Whereas the coupe features a window in the back to peer at the 6.2-liter V8 engine, the convertible completely covers up its motor. There is a way to take off the cover when the convertible top is stored, but it requires 18 torque screws. We'd only recommend taking it off to work on the engine. Once the cover is removed, the convertible's engine doesn't look presentable like it does in the coupe since it was designed not to be seen.
The 2021 Corvette Convertible starts at $66,400, which is $7,500 more than the base Corvette Coupe. Buyers who plan to drive frequently with the roof off may prefer the convertible because it makes dropping the top much more convenient. Taking the roof off in the coupe can be a single-person job, though we imagine it might be tricky for older customers, especially anyone worried about chipping the paint.
If taking the roof off manually doesn't sound like an inconvenience, or you don't plan to drive with the top off very often, we'd recommend saving the $7,500 and opting for the coupe. But if getting out of the car to remove the roof seems like a daunting task, spending $7,500 more for the convertible is a no-compromise path.