Chevy's affordable sports car just became even more of a bargain.
Some people said it would never happen, but Chevrolet has finally released the first-ever mid-engined Corvette. The 2020 Corvette will retain the Stingray name from C7, which first debuted back in the C2 generation. But along with a new engine configuration comes powertrain changes, styling differences, and a radically new interior. The C8 is unlike Corvette that preceded it, which is either a good or bad thing depending on your point of view. Now that the 2020 Stingray is finally here, let's see how it compares to its predecessor, the C7 Stingray. Since Chevy has only revealed the base model C8, we will only be comparing it to the base C7.
Many people expected the new Corvette to jump in price compared to its front-engined predecessor due to the complications with building a mid-engined car. Much to everyone's surprise, Chevy announced the 2020 car will start at under $60,000. Options like the Z51 Sport Package will likely take the price well into the $80,000 range but GM's quoted starting price is so low, it seems almost too good to be true. The outgoing C7 started at $55,900 for a base coupe model, so this new car won't see a massive increase in price. Those who worried the Corvette would no longer be an attainable sports car, can now rest easy.
Chevy had to save money on development costs somewhere with the new Corvette but the cost-cutting is extremely minimal. The C8 is powered by a new 6.2-liter V8 called the LT2, which is an evolution of the C7's LT1 engine. Power now sits at 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque - increases of 40 and 10 compared to the C7. One of the biggest changes is the elimination of the Corvette's seven-speed manual option (an eight-speed dual-clutch is now the only transmission available).
Don't shed any tears though, because Chevy says a Z51-equipped C8 will hit 60 mph in under three seconds. To understand how bonkers that is, the current C7 ZR1 (which has 755 hp) takes 2.8 seconds to hit 60 mph. Remember, this is still the base model, so Grand Sport, Z06, and ZR1 variants should be on the way along with a full convertible variant. Those cars could produce upwards of 700 hp and should really have Ferrari and Lamborghini worried.
The C7 and C8 differ heavily on styling but the Corvette heritage is there. Comparisons between the new Corvette and other mid-engine cars like the Acura NSX and Ferrari 488 can be made but the car does have a unique look of its own. The taillights appear to be inspired by the current Camaro but the headlights look like they belong on a Corvette. Many Corvette enthusiasts took a while to warm up to the C7 with its square taillights, so the split views on the C8's styling may fade away over time.
As with the exterior, the C8's interior takes a radical departure from the C7. The slide-down screen and grab handle are gone in favor of a fighter jet-inspired cockpit that heavily favors the driver. The squared-off two-spoke steering wheel and the long row of buttons on the center console will take getting used to but after sitting in the car at the launch event, the materials feel more upscale than any past Corvette. Chevy will offer a huge assortment of leather options (and an available cloth interior), seat belt colors, and seat types, which can all be found on the configurator.
Cargo capacity has always been a Corvette calling card and the C8 is no different. The C7 Vette includes a massive rear hatchback with 15 cubic feet of storage, which is large enough for a couple of golf bags. It may not be quite as practical due to the mid-engined layout, but Chevy says you can still fit golf clubs in the rear trunk of the C8 and there is also a trunk up front. Like the C7, the C8 can also store its removable Targo roof in the cargo area.
The shape may have changed but the C8 is still a Corvette. Corvette has always stood for offering insane amounts of performance at a budget price and the C8 does this in spades. Just as the C7 did for the past six years, the C8 will ask the question "why should I spend double the money on a less powerful Porsche?" Only now, the Corvette looks just as exotic and may finally have an interior worthy of consideration over a European car. When the C8 arrives at dealerships, we expect massive markups to follow as Chevy struggles to fill the massive demand.