Chevrolet has launched the convertible version of the 2020 Corvette Stingray, and for the first time the American sports car has switched to a hard roof. It looks fantastic, too, as the updated configurator will show you.
The new two-piece roof setup is driven by six electric motors instead of the previous hydraulics, making it more precise and more reliable, says Chevy. It’s body-coloured as standard but you can have it painted in Carbon Flash for an extra price, along with the fighter-jet-inspired nacelles.
Drivers can open the new assembly at up to 30mph, we’re told, and it should take about 16 seconds to retract fully. Impressively, the new roof doesn’t reduce formal storage space at all when folded. The convertible still offers an identical pairing of a frunk between the front wheels and a rear boot that can – sigh – accommodate two sets of golf clubs, the ultimate measure of a car aimed at the rich and image-conscious.
Part of the convertible setup is a small glass window that can be raised and lowered with the roof up or down. We’ve seen similar things in European sports and supercars and it’s a cheeky way to make the engine noise even louder even in bad weather. Raise it and there’s less wind swirl in the cabin.
With the roof up, careful design and the addition of the spoiler from the Stingray coupe’s Z51 Performance Package give the convertible the same drag coefficient as the fixed-roof car; a neat touch.
Outright performance isn’t quite on the same level as the coupe at the limit, says Chevrolet, but since the C8 was designed as a convertible from the start, in a similar ethos to the one put to great use by McLaren, it loses very little in terms of strength and speed.
Speaking of speed, power comes from the same 6.2-litre normally-aspirated small-block LT2 V8 as used by the coupe. As long as you spec the performance exhaust, beneath your right foot is a 495bhp hit backed up by 470lb ft of muscle. Those figures that are only 5-10 per cent higher than, say, an Audi RS 4, but the driving experience in the Corvette should be on a totally different plane.
Power is sent to the rear wheels through Chevrolet’s first eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. We don’t have numbers but in theory it should be smaller and lighter than a torque converter equivalent. Customers can expect lightning-fast shifts, says Chevrolet.
Make some time to play with the configurator and you’ll find a stunning range of colours. From the more reserved Elkhart Lake Blue Metallic to the bonkers Accelerate Yellow, via a deeply lovely trio of reds and oranges, you’re spoiled for choice. Even white looks good, while black is stealth-tastic but effectively hides too much of the glorious styling. There are also silver and grey choices, but what kind of miserable oaf would you have to be?
Production starts later this year with deliveries starting towards March. Prices for options on the configurator aren’t public yet, unless you badger Chevrolet and wave a deposit under their noses. The starting price, though, is a fairly standard $7500 more than the coupe.