The 2020 Mid-Engine Corvette Stingray

For years rumors circulated that General Motors Co. was developing a mid-engine Corvette that would compete nose-to-nose with European exotics like Ferrari and the Ford GT built by its crosstown rival. The rumors turned out to be true.

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Corvette Stingray
Corvette Stingray

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray CHEVROLET

For years rumors circulated that General Motors Co. was developing a mid-engine Corvette that would compete nose-to-nose with European exotics like Ferrari and the Ford GT built by its crosstown rival.  The rumors turned out to be true.

On Thursday night in a hangar in Tustin, California GM unveiled the eighth-generation Corvette Stingray, a 495-horsepower beauty that promises to dazzle sports car fans around the globe with a 0-60 mph capability of less than three seconds..  For the first time, Corvette will be available in right-hand-drive for fans in Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan. Chevrolet dealers in the U.S. can start ordering the new vehicle immediately, delivery expected later this year or early next.

Yet in a world where carbon dioxide increasingly is regarded a pollutant, the latest version of GM’s legendary two-seater might be the last one that runs on gasoline. After all, GM has announced a goal of zero emissions, zero accidents, zero congestion.  It’s too soon to know whether GM planners and engineers are thinking seriously about a high-end battery-powered challenger for Tesla and Audi.  For the moment, the team is focused on exulting in its latest achievement.

“Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary pushing at GM,” GM President Mark Reuss said in a statement. “The traditional front engine reached the limit of its performance, necessitating the new layout. In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but it drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history.”

By placing the engine behind the driver and in front of the rear wheels, weight distribution improves with a bias toward the back, improving performance, GM said.  The driver thus sits closer to the front wheels, improving feel and steering responsiveness.

“Corvette has again delivered an incredible bang for your performance buck. That’s its key trademark, and GM didn’t lose it with the switch to a mid-engine design. Some of the styling elements, both inside and out, may or may not work for everyone. But in terms of American performance at a great price (starting under an estimated $60,000), this new car nails it,” said Karl Brauer, executive editor of Kelley Blue Book.

GM engineers took pains, the company said, to pioneer the use of extremely light, strong materials such as carbon fiber to reduce weight, stiffen the body and therefore improve the vehicle’s performance and handling characteristics.  A new electronic architecture speeds data flow and enables over-the-air GM updates to computer programs controlling the car’s features.

The car’s centerpiece is a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 LT2 engine, the only one in its segment without turbocharging or supercharging.  Torque is rated at 470 lb-ft.  A thick glass panel over the engine allows it to be viewed from the outside. Consequently, the engines pipes, bolts, tubes and other components were created to convey an attractive appearance.  An eight-speed dual clutch transmission delivers power to the rear wheels.

Like its predecessor – the seventh-generation Corvette – this new version gives GM a chance to show off its engineering chops and improve regard for other Chevrolet models.  At the price, C8 will be seen as delivering exceptional value.  Corvette has always been a favorite of gentlemen of a certain age – a big plus will accrue if younger buyers flock to it as well.

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