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Chevrolet Corvette C8 Unleashed With 495 Mid-Engined Horsepower

Reveal / 263 Comments

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived.

After decades of rumors, countless sightings of prototypes, and weeks of anticipation, the time to introduce the first mid-engine Corvette is here. What began 66 years ago as an attempt to undermine Europe's pricey exotics and put America on the sports car map has reached a fever pitch in Orange County, California, where Chevrolet has chosen to unveil the 8th generation Corvette. The coastal air may be cool, but the temperature in the room is hot with excitement and the narrow spotlight beams shooting at the handsome body on stage.

Immediately, the C8 Corvette stands out as the oddball in its family portrait, which is to be expected from the first mid-engine model ever. The styling looks far more exotic than its predecessor but it still distinctly looks like a Vette with details like the Camaro-inspired taillights.

Under the mid-mounted hood sits a new 6.2-liter V8 called the LT2, which produces 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque - 40 horsepower and 10 more lb-ft of torque than the C7's LT1 engine. There's some bad news for manual lovers because the only transmission on offer is a new eight-speed dual-clutch (let's all shed a collective tear for the Corvette's seven-speed manual).

On the bright side, with the Z51 Packaged equipped the C8 is expected to hit 60 mph in under three seconds. Remember, this is just the "base" engine and there will likely be Z06 and ZR1 models later on. Clearly, the switch to a mid-engine layout has done wonders for the performance metrics because the 755-hp C7 ZR1 took around 2.8 seconds to hit 60 mph. The Z51 package will also include larger brakes, improved cooling, and a louder exhaust system.

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As with the styling, the interior features radical changes when compared to the C7. The driver is treated to a digital gauge cluster combined with an infotainment screen that is pointed in their direction (sorry passenger). Chevy previously revealed the car's two-spoke steering wheel, which has drawn some criticism for looking a bit too odd. Remember when the C6 Corvette was first revealed, customers complained about the steering wheel and it was promptly replaced the following year. The C8's interior also features an enormous string of buttons cascading down the center console for various climate controls. On initial impression, it looks like the row of buttons will take some getting used to.

Practicality has not been ignored because the C8 has two trunks (one in the front and one in the back). The front is large enough for a handful of grocery bags while the rear should be large enough for golf clubs. Chevy will offer 12 colors at launch (some of which are fan favorites) including three new shades called Rapid Blue, Zeus Bronze, and Accelerate Yellow. The new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will enter production later this year and start at under $60,000.