The mid-engine Corvette is gorgeous…and fast!
Chevrolet threw out the previous playbook when designing its latest Corvette. For seven generations, Chevy’s sports car has featured a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. But beginning with its eighth generation, the 2020 Corvette sees its engine moved to the center of the vehicle. With this change, we have the most handsome and fastest Corvette yet, an all-American beauty with no domestic rival.
Chevrolet offers the 2021 Corvette in one Stingray model with your choice of a coupe ($59,900) or a convertible ($67,400). Add $1,095 for the destination charge. Shoppers have three trims to consider: 1LT ($60,995), 2LT ($68,295), and 3LT ($72,945). These prices are for the coupe and include the destination charge; add $7,500 to the respective trim to get the convertible’s pricing.
C7 Gives Way to C8
The Corvette is always defined by its generation with the C7 representing the seventh generation and the current C8 the eighth generation. The connection between the two latest generations is evident from the front, but elsewhere the similarities ease. Indeed, the latest Corvette’s profile supplies the strongest hint of a mid-engine layout. The cabin sits forward and additional mass added behind the seats. Large air ducts emerge from the rear quarter panels, just like you’d find on most any supercar. The rear LED track lighting, diffuser panel, and quad exhaust ports are the final stamp on its canvas.
On coupe versions, the engine is featured prominently with a thick glass encasement offering an unusual view of the bay. You don’t have that look with the convertible as the hard-top falls and rises again in a special compartment located between the engine and the rear trunk. Yes, the Corvette has a front trunk too, supplying this sportscar with a net 12.6 cubic feet of cargo space.
Jet Aircraft Inspired Cabin
Inside, the appropriately named cockpit seems borrowed from a fighter jet’s design with its small, squared steering wheel one indication. The cabin is neatly divided into two sections with the driver surrounded by controls, including a nifty strip of climate control switches separating the front seats. Between the seats and located on the engine bulkhead is an available wireless charging pad for a smartphone.
We found the seats were very comfortable with a surprising amount of seat play available to help the passengers find the right position. That fact is especially important for tall drivers who shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to drive this masterpiece. Okay, the Panthers’ Efe Obada and Chris Manhertz may find the space a bit too confining, but it’s doubtful either would turn down hot laps at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Engine and Transmission
The 6.2-liter V8 powering the Corvette Stingray is a familiar engine. It’s a traditional push-rod motor with several changes incorporated this year, including updated variable valve timing, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and a dry-sump oil system for lubrication.
But what’s significantly different is the engine’s placement, as it was moved from the front of the car to its center, shifting weight to the rear, thereby allowing power to transfer quickly to the wheels. With the available Z51 performance package, Chevrolet says this engine produces 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Published reports, including from Motor Trend, indicate much more power is on tap. Regardless, this naturally aspirated engine is exceptional.
You don’t have the option of a manual transmission with the new Corvette, the first time in decades one isn’t available. As disappointing as that fact is to some, the new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission shifts faster automatically, enabling drivers to match the Stingray’s 0-60 mph time of just 2.9 seconds. Thus, this is the fastest Corvette yet and we haven’t even seen what subsequent trims will offer with a variety of turbocharged, hybrid, and full-electric versions anticipated.
High Octane Performance
As for the model at hand, this one is what dreams are made of. Happily, it’s a dream come true with its direct steering, precision handling, and big brakes ensuring driver confidence. The test, though, is how fast this sportscar zips from a dead stop to highway speeds. It’s an exhilarating feeling brought to bear with heads suddenly slapped back against the headrest and the accompanying exclamations of surprise from passengers who are not used to the experience.
But the most telling example of the Stingray’s prowess comes at speeds far above the posted limits. While we won’t reveal just how fast, we can say that with an opportunity to take one to the track. You should because that’s where the gravitational pull is the strongest. Under hard acceleration, the bodily effects are evident through pressure applied to the cheeks, although just as easily we might have been flushed with excitement.
Dropping the top supplies a built-in advantage, but that also means the eye-fetching engine bay is obscured. Pick your design detail (coupe v. convertible), then begin your build with the 2LT trim. Add in the Z51 performance package and the magnetic ride control option, and you’ll enjoy the best-handling Corvette coupe money can buy for about $75,000.
See Also — 7 of the Best Corvettes Ever Made
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