Electrification adds both performance and dynamic security to a 65-year-old American sporting hero

Find Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray deals
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
New car deals
Nearly-new car deals
Sell your car
In partnership with
Powered by

Having kept the basic principles of the Corvette sports car mostly unchanged through seven generations and 65 years, Chevrolet is throwing innovation at the C8 version. 

As launched in 2019, this was the first mid-engined Corvette. Now the new Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray derivative is making it both the first hybrid and the first Corvette ever to feature all-wheel drive.



Corvette e-ray review 2023 002 tracking rear

Unlike posher PHEV supercars like the Ferrari SF90 Stradale and forthcoming Lamborghini Revuelto, the Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray is not a plug-in hybrid, and nor does it feature multiple electric motors. 

Instead, it splits its powertrain by axle. At the rear, it uses the same LT2 pushrod ‘small-block' V8 that powers the regular Stingray and turns the back wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. At the front is a single compact AC electric motor that can add 160bhp and up to 125lb ft of torque, and it's fed from a compact 1.9kWh battery pack that sits in the tunnel between the seats. 

Selecting the Charge+ mode replenishes the battery at the highest possible rate, something that takes as little as three minutes. Selecting it in Track mode will reduce the rate at which the battery discharges, but will increase lap times by about 4%. Using Track without Charge+ will consume the battery in, typically, less than five minutes to maximise performance.

By performance hybrid standards, it is a very simple system, but it is also a very effective one. Hybridisation and the front-drive hardware has added mass, but only a relatively modest 110kg on Chevrolet’s numbers compared with the Stingray.

The most obvious visual difference is that the E-Ray shares the widened bodywork of the range-topping Corvette Z06, with a 90mm increase necessary to accommodate its huge tyres. At the back, the E-Ray’s 345/25 R21 tyres are, Chevrolet says, the largest fitted as standard to any passenger car. All-season Michelins will be standard, but the car we drove rolled on the optional summer-spec Pilot Sport 4S covers.


Corvette e-ray  review 2023 006 interior

The Corvette E-Ray's cabin is similar to the regular Corvette C8's. The E-Ray gets new digital display options to show the drive battery status and how much power is going to each end but, beyond that, the only significant change is a small button next to the driver’s right knee for the Charge+ mode, which replenishes the battery at the highest possible rate. 

Because the C8 was designed with electrification in mind, it hasn’t brought packaging compromises. Luggage space is effectively identical: Chevrolet quotes a 1.8-litre reduction in the volume of the compartment behind the engine. It even keeps the regular ’Vette’s dinky little 'frunk'. 

The E-Ray does shares the same ergonomic frustrations as the regular car, though, including a high seating position and the ridge of tiny, hard-to-see buttons that separates driver and passenger.


corevette e ray review 2023 009 scenic panning

While the E-Ray has an EV-only mode, this will be little used. It has to be selected before the ignition is turned fully on, and performance is limited to a mere 45mph, with less than five miles of range. As its Stealth mode name suggests, it is intended as a sneak-away option to avoid disturbing neighbours. 

Beyond that, the E-Ray keeps the same dynamic modes as the regular Stingray: Tour, Sport, Track and Weather (for slippery conditions), plus a configurable My Mode and a Z setting, which brings up a shortcut screen to tweak individual chassis and powertrain settings on the fly.

Under gentle use, all power comes from the combustion engine, but requests for harder acceleration get the electric motor delivering instant torque. The contribution from the front is indicated by a synthesised whirr through the speakers, which supplements the entirely natural V8 noises from the rear rather than trying to compete with them. 

Fully lit, the E-Ray feels impressively quick, with increased traction obvious in the way it launches from rest and punches its way out of tight corners without drama. It feels like a big car on tight roads, but not noticeably more so than the standard Stingray.

The E-Ray also gets carbon-ceramic brakes as standard, which proved tireless under huge thermal loadings. It might not be intended as a circuit car, but it is seriously effective on track, such as northern California’s Thunderhill Raceway, where the car felt brutally fast and the launch control mode delivered a 2.4sec 0-60mph time, according to the car’s on-board timer. That figure makes it the quickest standard Corvette of all time, despite the weight penalty over the Z06. 

Only at higher speeds does the E-Ray start to fall behind. Chevrolet says there is no electric assistance at all beyond 150mph, with the hybrid system becoming ballast from there to the 180mph top speed.


Corvette e-ray review 2023 010 tracking front

Despite a power output that puts it close the Z06, on the road the E-Ray feels much more like a punchier normal Stingray than some circuit-intended tearaway. It rides well over broken surfaces in its gentlest Tour mode but is solidly lashed down in Sport or Tour. 

It takes a track to show what the E-Ray is really capable of. On the road the fast-geared steering feels short on feedback, but the higher lateral forces of a circuit dramatically improve the sense of connection. 

It is also much more willing to play than the regular Corvette and Z06 and yet is much more friendly at the limit due to the front axle’s ability to keep pulling as the rear loses grip. Breakaway is remarkably progressive for something with its engine in the middle.


Corvette e-ray review 2023 013 static front

In the US, much of the marketing message behind the Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray is pushing its virtues as an all-wheel-drive sports car for those parts of the country with harsh winters. 

But electrification has also brought both a new level of performance and, for those not chasing ultimate lap times, a broader dynamic appeal to this celebrated old sports car. When the E-Ray eventually reaches Europe, it feels like it will become the Corvette to have.

Mike Duff

Mike Duff
Title: Contributing editor

Mike has been writing about cars for more than 25 years, having defected from radio journalism to follow his passion. He has been a contributor to Autocar since 2004, and is a former editor of the Autocar website. 

Mike joined Autocar full-time in 2007, first as features editor before taking the reins at autocar.co.uk. Being in charge of the video strategy at the time saw him create our long running “will it drift?” series. For which he apologies.

He specialises in adventurous drive stories, many in unlikely places. He once drove to Serbia to visit the Zastava factory, took a £1500 Mercedes W124 E-Class to Berlin to meet some of its taxi siblings and did Scotland’s North Coast 500 in a Porsche Boxster during a winter storm. He also seems to be a hypercar magnet, having driven such exotics as the Koenigsegg One:1, Lamborghini SCV12, Lotus Evija and Pagani Huayra R.