For the first time ever, the Corvette Stingray gets a folding hardtop.
The Chevrolet Corvette has been offered as a convertible in every generation. In fact, the first-generation C1 model was only offered as a convertible. As soon as Chevy revealed the new C8 generation model, it immediately teased there would also be a convertible version to be revealed at a later time. Building on the Corvette's history as the car of choice for astronauts, Chevy has chosen to reveal the new 2020 Corvette Convertible at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"We put the world on notice when we introduced the first mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette a few months ago, and now we're raising the bar with the first-ever hardtop Corvette convertible," said Brian Sweeney, Chevrolet US vice president. "And the convertible will be priced only $7,500 more than entry 1LT Stingray coupe." Doing a little math based on the coupe's $59,995 base price (including a $1,095 destination charge), the convertible will start at $67,495.
So what do you get for your extra $7,500? Well, Chevy says the C8 was designed from the offset to be a convertible so the new folding hardtop mechanism still leaves enough space for two sets of golf clubs even when the roof is down. The new hardtop design is also quieter and more secure than past soft top Corvette models.
"Our goal from the beginning was to make sure customers didn't have to sacrifice any functionality, performance or comfort when choosing the hardtop convertible," said Josh Holder, Corvette program engineering manager. "We managed to keep the same design theme as the coupe, as well as the exceptional storage capacity and track capability."
The mechanism is powered by six electric motors rather than hydraulic ones used in past Corvettes (to increase reliability). This allows the top to be deployed at speeds of up to 30 mph and retract in as few as 16 seconds. Compared to the coupe, which has a removable Targa roof, the convertible model does not require the driver to exit the vehicle, which might be worth $7,500 for the convenience alone.
When lowered, the top stores in a compartment made from lightweight composite panels to shield it from the engine's heat. A body-colored roof is standard but a Carbon Flash metallic-painted finish is also available. Like other mid-engined convertibles, the Corvette features a rear window that can be raised or lowered regardless of the roof position. Chevy has also tweaked the chassis specifically for the convertible, with a unique tune on the springs and dampers.
As with the coupe, power comes from a 6.2-liter LT2 V8 producing 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque going out to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch. Chevy didn't quote performance figures but we expect the convertible to be only slightly slower than the coupe due to its added weight.
The 2020 Corvette Stingray coupe will enter production at GM's Bowling Green Assembly plant in late 2019. The convertible model will follow in the late first-quarter of 2020.