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.