It’s been rumoured for years and leaked multiple times, but finally, the Corvette has gone mid-engined with the reveal of the new C8 model.
“The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout,” GM boss Mark Reuss says, adding “In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history.”
The new layout doesn’t only mean it’ll drive unlike previous Corvettes - it also looks very different too, with its cab-forward layout (said to be inspired by F-22 and F-35 fighter jets) and giant side intakes. The rear end keeps it in the family, though, with some Camaro-like vibes going on.
Plus, although the engine is in an unfamiliar place, the unit itself is a little more familiar. It’s an evolution of the old Corvette’s LT1 pushrod 6.2-litre V8, dubbed ‘LT2’. Although the Stingray is the baby of the ‘Vette range, there’s nothing entry-level about the performance: the new Small Block - which also gains a dry-sump lubrication system - is good for 488bhp and 470lb ft of torque.
That’s an increase of 40bhp compared to the old Stingray, helping launch the 1530kg (dry) sports car from 0-60mph in under three seconds. We don’t have an exact figure just yet, nor has the top speed been revealed.
The LT2 engine sends its power rearwards via a Chevy’s first dual-clutch gearbox. The Tremec-supplied transmission packs eight ratios and has a de-clutch feature. There’s no mention of a manual ‘box, however, and it seems unlikely one will be offered.
As before, the Corvette gets the ideal front and rear double-wishbone suspension setup. Spec the Z51 performance pack - which includes bigger brakes, better cooling and a new exhaust - and the option of Magnetic Ride 4.0 adaptive dampers is given.
The tyres measure in at 245/35/R19 up front, and 305/30/20 at the back. You have a choice of either Michelin ALS all-seasons, or with the Z51 pack, Pilot Sport 4S rubber.
The C8 is built around a strong central tunnel, giving a “light, stiff structure”. This also negates the need for beefy sills, making the C8 easier to get in and out of.
You can see the central tunnel quite clearly sat between the driver and passenger seats, with the pilot further segregated by an unusual wraparound centre console lined with buttons. Depending on how seriously you take driving fast, there are three seat options: the comfort-orientated GT1 set, the carbonfibre-trimmed, bigger-bolstered GT2s, or the ultra-focused Competition Sport chairs.
Full pricing information will be revealed later in the year, but Chevrolet has said that the Stingray will start under $60,000, which is ludicrous value for money. It’ll be followed-up by multiple derivatives, including, we think, a turbocharged version. The most significant news for us Brits? There’ll be a right-hand drive C8…