Chevrolet has teased the American car-buying public with the idea of a mid-engine Corvette. Chevrolet has batted the idea around the design studio since the late 1950s. Numerous spy reports and unconfirmed sources have hinted at the promise of European-style power plant placement for decades. Chevrolet has announced the first C8 2020 Corvette Stingray car will be available on January 11-19, 2020, during the Barret-Jackson Scottsdale Auto Auction. Chevrolet has promised the fixed-roof and convertible Stingray will be available for purchase in early 2020.
If the 2020 Corvette Stingray wore an Italian badge, the mid-engine layout and respectable power would not be the headline. Instead, the sub-$60,000 price tag would highlight the discussion. But, after 67 years of front-engine, rear-drive Corvette models, few things could be more shocking than the transition to a mid-engine layout.
Balance and Power
The automotive world has seen hundreds of incredible sports cars powered by behemoth engines placed behind the seats. Virtually all of these cars carry equivalently behemoth price tags. Stateside buyers seeking a rear-engine car with American badges have very limited options. The last rear-engine American car was the ill-fated Chevy Corvair, a car that was created in part as a tease of what the Corvette could be. In fact, the Corvair name was first used on the pre-production C1 Corvette.
Automotive engineers have known since at least the 1930s that a rear- or mid-engine layout allows for better weight and power balance. Ferdinand Porsche, who introduced the Volkswagen Beetle before creating his own car company based his designs on the platform to unimaginable success led the way with rear-engine performance.
The engineers at Chevrolet took advantage of the repositioned engine and created a cockpit with unparalleled viewing angles. Anyone who has ever driven almost any generation of Corvette knows how difficult it can be to see out of. The new body allows for lower fenders and a steeply dropped nose.
All-New Small Block V8
The Corvette will be powered by a brand-new 6.2L V8 in all variations. Power levels advertised by Chevrolet thus far indicate a base model ‘Vette will get around 500hp, while the ultimate performance package will push 800hp in stock trim. An R-model race car will debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and compete in the GT LeMans class. The stock, base model Corvette Stingray has an advertised top speed of 184 miles per hour.
The new small-block V8 is engineered specifically for the mid-engine configuration. It sits lower than previous engines and uses a dry-sump oiling system for excellent lubrication, even when under prolonged G-forces. Continuously Variable Valve Timing ensures smooth performance from cruising to racing.
No More Manual Transmission, But Who Cares?
All that power is meaningless without a great transmission. Purists may not be happy to see only one transmission available and no clutch pedal, but that won’t likely be a deal-breaker for anyone buying a Corvette Stingray C8. Chevrolet purpose-built a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that promises the smooth shifting of an automatic with the action of a manual gearbox. Stock 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels are lightweight and sturdy.
The new suspension system is magnificent and unique. Instead of relying on traditional steering and suspension components, Chevrolet has introduced a magnetic ride control system that adapts to road conditions in 10 to 15 milliseconds. Massive disc brakes will bring all that power to a steady and controllable stop.
A New Style that Still Looks the Part
If the new body shape doesn’t get your heart racing, take a peek inside. From the race car-inspired steering wheel to the standard GT1 seats, the interior of the new Corvette is spectacular. Chevrolet says the interior is inspired by a fighter jet and features vertical climate controls and a stunning digital dash. The eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system is Chevrolet’s latest and best-engineered system yet.
A dial on the dash allows drivers to select one of 12 performance settings. The Corvette Stingray features two modes called My Mode and Z-Mode that allow custom-tuned settings for additional personalized performance.
The all-new Corvette will bring back the convertible. The new convertible features a retractable folding hardtop powered by six electric motors. Removable hardtop panels can be stowed in the front bonnet. By placing the engine midship, the new Corvette has some of the largest storage capacity of any model. Chevrolet claims two regular golf bags will fit in the trunk behind the engine.
The first Corvette Stingray C8 vehicles will be the coupe version. Three initial performance packages provide numerous options for buyers. Chevrolet retooled the Bowling Green, Kentucky factory that built the C7 Corvette to build the C8.
Do you plan on buying a new C8 Corvette? Let us know below!