Here it is in all its glory: the highly anticipated eighth-gen Corvette.
The Corvette C8 reveal was perhaps one of the most highly anticipated unveilings in recent automotive history. It also helps that the car was hyped up for years leading up to last night’s official event. The renderings, rumors, spy shots, leaks, and articles were flying out of the woodworks for years. Speculations ran wild and the forums were overflowing with commentary and images of what could be and what should be. Well, now we can finally breathe a sigh of relief–well, sort of. While the official Corvette event may be over, the flow of posts on the Internet are just beginning and the opinions are running wild.
Let’s take a moment to go over the facts and features of the all-new, 2020 mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8. While our sister site, Motor1, has been diligently covering this, I wanted to speak out from an enthusiast and Chevrolet owner's standpoint. I currently drive a Chevrolet Camaro SS and feel like a Corvette is likely to fall into my future. This Corvette C8 event was on my calendar for months and, while I wish I was actually there, I feel like the excitement on the web and the ongoing real-time conversations made up for that. If you were watching the live stream, you know the music, exhaust note, and impeccable graphics were enough to rouse up even non-Corvette enthusiasts.
Right off the bat, I can say that I am pretty pleased with the exterior of the C8 Corvette. Although I do agree that it bears a resemblance to the Ferrari, in ways, I still think it looks really cool. The exotic proportions and futuristic “supercar” styling cues will definitely appeal to consumers and those looking for a car that “looks fast.” Don’t worry, I’ll get into the power figures soon. The exterior is lean and muscular at the same time, while sporting an athletic and sculptural shape that looks sharp from every angle. The C8’s overall exterior design isn’t too far off from the C7, despite having a completely new configuration. The numerous renderings over the years were pretty close, as evidenced by the low-profile headlights and lower front fascia.
The C8 Corvette was definitely built with large attention to detail and aerodynamics; just look at that front splitter, large side air intakes, and two-piece rear spoiler. All together that accounts for 400 pounds of downforce while also improving cornering grip. While I do like the front and side styling, especially the hidden door releases, the rear of the car isn’t speaking to me. Although the taillight design looks to be an evolution of its predecessors, the rest of it just looks like leftover parts from the Camaro. And, we all know how poorly the new Camaros are selling. I have always loved the centered exhaust tips on the Corvettes, so these quad tips on the outer ends do not cut it for me.
The interior has not been a fan-favorite among the masses as soon as the cabin photo leaked. I was really hoping that it wasn’t an image of the C8’s cockpit, as it was irking my OCD in more ways than one. First, let’s talk about that “long strip of buttons” as everyone’s calling it. Chevrolet says that the vertical climate controls and ultra-thin vents were designed to minimize the height of the instrument panel and create more room. After all, the speakers at the unveiling kept reiterating that the C8 Corvette interior is more driver-focused than ever before. It drew its aeronautical inspiration from the F-22 and F-35. I don’t know about you, but perhaps they could have made it a bit more symmetrical and easier on the eyes. I won’t know how I really feel about the buttons or angled 12-inch infotainment screen until I’m behind the wheel or in the passenger’s seat. Because of the mid-engine configuration, the cockpit has moved forward by 16.5 inches. This gives the driver more visibility as he/she is much closer to the nose of the car.
One thing I am impressed with is the technology. The infotainment screen comes with an upgraded version of Chevrolet’s Performance Data Recorder and doubles as an integrated dashcam to record lap times in high-res. Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 is also available with a new GPS-enabled nose-lift feature. The front suspension lift raises the C8 Corvette’s nose by 40mm in under three seconds for rough roads, steep driveways, and pesky speed bumps. The system operates at speeds up to 25 mph and can be programmed automatically to memorize 1,000 locations where you want the car to lift its nose. I definitely find that technology useful; though sometimes the more tech that’s present, the more problems.
The heart and soul of the 2020 Corvette C8 Stingray is Chevy’s next-generation 6.2-liter Small Block V8 LT2 engine, the only naturally aspirated eight-cylinder motor in its segment. It delivers 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque when equipped with the performance exhaust. While some may say these numbers are underwhelming, it is the most horsepower and torque for any entry-level Corvette. And with starting prices below $60,000, it’s hard to complain about that. Especially when some of its competitors are charging way above that. The new LT2 engine is mated to Chevy’s first eight-speed dual-clutch transmission by Tremec to provide lightning-fast shifts and impeccable power transfer. While it’s not a manual and will not satisfy shifting fiends, it does provide the feeling of being connected to the car with the comfort of an automatic. Chevrolet also boasts close ratios between gears and impressive acceleration rates with this arrangement.
If you need somewhere to put your hands, the paddle shifters got your back. In any gear and at any speed, you can pull both paddle shifters simultaneously to disengage the clutch. We all know that people are going to do with that: rev the engine at stoplights at the drop of a hat to satisfy passersby and intimidate other drivers.
All in all, I am pretty impressed with what Chevrolet has developed for the mid-engine Corvette. While you can’t please everyone, I feel that a majority of people really like the design and features of the C8. I look forward to seeing the other trim levels, convertible variants, and the global right-hand-drive model that was teased in the unveiling. Though, for the first mid-engine Corvette Stingray, I think this one is pretty neat. I also hear that those who had the opportunity to drive one are all pretty pleased with the car’s performance. Chevrolet says that the all-new body structure is more than 10 percent stiffer than the previous gen, which contributes to a more confident and enjoyable ride. I feel like every inch of this car was thoughtfully engineered (even the cargo space!), though the interior still doesn’t strike my fancy. Even so, I cannot wait to see this car in person and form a more solid opinion on the C8.
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray goes into production at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly later this year. Additional pricing and packaging information is set to launch closer to the launch dates. But for right now, head on over to www.Chevrolet.com/nextgenCorvette for the latest news and live configurator.