New mid-engined layout, a first for a production 'Vette, to take on European rivals
19 July 2019

The new eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette has been revealed, featuring a mid-engine layout for the first time in a bid to take on European rivals such as Porsche and Ferrari.

Since the first version of the two-seater was launched in 1953, Corvettes have featured a front-engined, rear-drive layout – but the 495bhp 6.2-litre V8 in the new C8 machine is mounted behind the driver for the first time.

Mark Reuss, the president of Chevrolet parent firm General Motors, said that “the traditional front-engined vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout.” He added that: “in terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history.”

The entry level version of the new machine will be dubbed Stingray, reviving a badge first used in 1963, and will be able to reach 0-60mph in under three seconds, making it the fastest base-level Corvette ever. More powerful variants are due to follow.

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Switching to a mid-engine layout has increased the length of the new model by 137mm to 4630mm, with the wheelbase stretched to 2723mm. It is 1933mm wide, 56mm wider than the previous C7 model, although at 1234mm it is marginally lower. The new Corvette weighs 1527kg, 166kg more than previously.

While retaining some familiar design cues, the new Corvette will have a more ‘global’ look due to the new layout, with echoes of recent two-seat McLaren and Ferrari machines. Chevrolet also promised a more ‘driver-centric’ interior design, with the shorter bonnet bringing increased visibility.

When it was introduced in 1953, the original Corvette was a striking alternative to the hefty behemoths that dominated American roads, with its lightweight fibreglass body and two-seat cabin. Zora Arkus-Duntov, considered the ‘father’ of the Corvette, had long pushed for a mid-engine layout, but, while several prototypes were built, this is the first production version to make the switch.

To underscore the switch, the C8 Corvette features a glass cover to highlight its engine, which produces 40bhp more than in the previous model. It also develops 470lb ft of torque, 10lb ft more than previously.

It will also be the first Corvette since the sports car's early years to forego a manual gearbox in favour of an all-new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle-shifters. It includes a new feature called double-paddle de-clutch, which allows the driver to decouple the clutch for greater manual control.

The gearshifter is electronically linked to the transmission, freeing up space, and an array of key controls line up, Porsche-style, along the edge of the centre console. A new customisable display will be visible through the squared-off steering wheel, while the infotainment screen now angles towards the driver.

As with the C7, the new C8 Stingray will feature Magnetic Ride Control, which uses a special, magnetically sensitive fluid that allows the suspension dampers to be quickly adjusted. A performance traction management system is also available, with an electronic limited slip differential standard on the entry-level car. 

A front splitter and open two-piece rear spoiler work together to generate as much as 400 pounds of downforce under aggressive cornering.

Buyers will have the option of all-season Michelin Pilot Sport ALS tyres – which Chevrolet claims can manage nearly 1G cornering – or the Z51 package’s Michelin Pilot Sport 4S. Front tyres are 245/35ZR19s, with 305/30ZR20s at the rear.

Like all recent generations of the Corvette, the C8 will be assembled in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Pricing, top speed and fuel economy numbers won’t be released until later this year. Chevy is expected to try to increase the 2020 Corvette’s presence around the world, much as rival Ford has done with the latest-generation Mustang.

Upgraded versions likely to retain familiar designations like Z06 and ZR1 will be following over the next few years, rumors suggesting the C8 could eventually nudge towards 1,000nhp.

READ MORE

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Comments
37

19 July 2019

Unfortunately Chevy have merely taken the C7 design language, already degraded with Camaro cues, and reproduced it in mid-engined form, with a messy rear and also a ho hum interior (without the opton of a gear lever!).  But, if it performs the way I think it is likely to, and starts at around one sixth the price of the Ford GT, as I think it will, I'm willing to forgive a lot.  It's just frustrating that I already want to see the half life do over.

19 July 2019

That looks superb!  Well balanced and just edgy enough.

Not sure how it will do sub 3s but we'll see.

Best (base model) 'Vette yet?  I'd the house (ranch!) on it!!!

19 July 2019

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19 July 2019

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19 July 2019

275not599 that very big of you showing such forgiveness  !. Lets celebrate the vastness of   change this new Chevvy   is going mid engine. to me it looks fine .Messy rear you say elaborate and the interior has a driver focused look to me. Think this will be a hit

19 July 2019

275not599 that very big of you showing such forgiveness  !. Lets celebrate the vastness of   change this new Chevvy   is going mid engine. to me it looks fine .Messy rear you say elaborate and the interior has a driver focused look to me. Think this will be a hit

19 July 2019
Good that they are making right hand drive too.

I am suspicious a 495bhp and 1533kg car can sub 3s to 60 though

19 July 2019
Cenuijmu wrote:

Good that they are making right hand drive too. I am suspicious a 495bhp and 1533kg car can sub 3s to 60 though

I'd imagine street-legal track tyres will play heavily into that sub-3 second time, but if it can get close, a $70k base model (in USA) is a whole lot of looks and performance for the money...

 

19 July 2019
Folsom wrote:

Cenuijmu wrote:

Good that they are making right hand drive too. I am suspicious a 495bhp and 1533kg car can sub 3s to 60 though

I'd imagine street-legal track tyres will play heavily into that sub-3 second time, but if it can get close, a $70k base model (in USA) is a whole lot of looks and performance for the money...

Yeah,  good point, also the fact they have lots of sticky asphalt over there, motortrend gets really low numbers at the strip for cars.

19 July 2019
Oviously you did not watch the unveiling, where the astonishing news was dropped on the motor press, that the Base price for an LT1 coupe will start at under $60,000 USD..

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