Mid-Engine Corvette C8Apr 20th, 2020
The Chevrolet Corvette has always been the exotic supercar slayer from America. A front-engined, rear-wheel-drive car which isn’t a proper supercar but is too fast to be classified a sportscar either. After seven generations of sticking to the traditional FR layout, Chevrolet finally decided it’s time to give everyone what they’ve been asking for and completely revamp the Corvette. The end result is the eight-gen Corvette C8, the first mid-engined Corvette in the model’s 67-year lifespan.
With the previous C7 generation, GM found the limits of traction with the Corvette. No matter how much power they threw at it, the rear wheels were ultimately unable to cope and grip. Since the new C8 Corvette has a much better weight distribution because of where the engine sits, the rear tires have a lot more grip and don’t have to be as wide as they were on the C7 to extract the same amount of performance.
The end result is a car which is ridiculously fast even in standard, base trim. The LT2 naturally-aspirated V8 positioned behind the driver develops 495 horsepower and 465 lb-ft (630 Nm) of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, with no option of a manual transmission. The automatic transmission in the last Corvette was a conventional torque converter, so it was both slow and unresponsive for a performance vehicle. The dual-clutch transmission solves that issue to the point where GM thought no one would opt for a manual, so they decided not to offer one at all. If you look at the C8’s rivals you’ll quickly figure out that none of them are available with a manual, making this a non-issue.
The sprint to 60 mph (100 km/h) takes just 2.8 seconds, rivaling the likes of Nissan’s GT-R, Porsche’s 911 Carrera S, and even Ferrari’s 488 GTB. It will run the quarter-mile in roughly 11.2 seconds at 122 mph without even breaking a sweat. With the new mid-engine layout, the C8 is better in the corners as well. Since you get better weight transfer towards the rear of the car on acceleration, you can get on the gas pedal much sooner on corner exit. There is very little drama or oversteer because there’s an incredible amount of grip from both axles.
If this is how the base C8 behaves, we can’t wait for the Z06 and ZR1 iterations of GM’s latest Corvette. German and Italian exotics should be worried, especially once Chevrolet straps a supercharger on top of the LT2 and decides to decimate anything in the supercar bracket.
Speaking of brackets, we should talk about price. A Ferrari 488 GTB costs upwards of $262,000. A Porsche 911 (992) Carrera S will set you back a hefty $143,700, and Mercedes’ AMG GT starts at around $170,400. The Corvette C8, for all its performance and supercar styling, has a base price of just $69,998. That’s not a typo either, the Corvette really is half the price of the 911 and four times less than the Ferrari.
Even with optional extras or the Z51 performance package, you’ll struggle to break the $90k barrier. We don’t know what GM has planned with the Z06, but German and Italian car manufacturers are worryingly looking on in anticipation.