Mid-engined 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette unveiled
The covers are off from the eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, and the first thing that differentiates it from its predecessor (or any other Corvette before it) is that the engine, like that on the Ferrari F8 or a McLaren 720S, is no longer ahead of the driver.
At first glance, there are some familiar design cues carried over from the current Corvette, such as the taillights and the way the hood has been sculpted. But the mid-engined layout gives it more European proportions. And to showcase the new engine, Chevy has borrowed a trick from Ferrari and Lamborghini, that allows a sneak peek through the 3.2mm glass.
Under the hood
Firstly, the 6.2-litre naturally-aspirated V8 LT2 engine now makes 484bhp (488bhp with the optional Z51 performance package), which is a significant jump over the predecessor’s 454, with the power going (as always) to the rear wheels. Additionally, it has no manual transmission, not even as an option, needing the driver to toggle ratios via paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Chevy claims performance figures at par with the best of the best, with 100kmph coming up in a scant three seconds. Now, top speed figures aren’t in the open yet, but with the amount of power it makes (and the bump up in power it gets) the 2020 ‘vette won’t at all be a slouch.
Additionally, the Z51 Performance Package adds beefier brakes and a higher-performance cooling system along with a bit more bellow from the exhausts, freeing four extra ponies for the engine. As for the handling, it gets coilovers on all corners, with an electronic steering system to guide the car around sharp turns. Magnetic Ride Control is available as well, controlled via six driving modes (including the four from the previous model). Chief among them is the Z mode that offers full customisation. The electrics are all part of the 2020 Corvette’s new digital vehicle platform and electronic architecture that, among other things, will allow over-the-air updates for the computer systems.
Within the cabin
The mid-engined layout means there’s been a complete overhaul of the interiors from the previous model, with a pair of digital displays for the instrument cluster and infotainment system. The wraparound arrangement makes it very driver-centric, with a beefy center console separating the driver from the passenger. And, knowing Chevrolet’s penchant for doing it the good, old-fashioned way, there’s a veritable plethora of buttons to operate the Corvette’s climate functions for the dash and seats, something that may not be to everyone’s liking.
Considering the literal about-face the new-gen Corvette is, there’s a possibility for it to be a disaster. However, everyone seems enthusiastic so far. Only time will tell if this will it continue to be a household name, get a tepid response (like the ‘Fox Body’ Mustangs from the ‘80s) or get the brickbats from not just the enthusiasts but even the general public (like Pontiac’s ill-fated early-200’s attempts at reinventing the GTO).