After five decades of fitful development, the mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has finally been revealed. Those who have been following the eight-generation Corvette’s not-so-secret development will no doubt know some of the highlights already, but here’s everything straight from Chevrolet.
The 2020 C8 is the first Corvette to move the engine behind the cockpit, changing up the performance dynamics entirely. The mid-engine design should provide better responsiveness and weight distribution at the expense of the classic long-hood profile that ‘Vettes have always carried. It’s not just the placement of the engine that’s different—the base Corvette features a new naturally-aspirated, 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 making 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque with the optional performance exhaust equipped.
In addition to sporting the most power and torque ever given to a base model Corvette, this small block V-8 features better ventilation and an all-new dry sump oil system that provides much better lubrication during heavy track sessions.
The LT2 is married to a Tremec eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, and Chevy has no plans to put a manual gearbox in it anytime soon. While nothing will replace a clutch pedal and H-pattern gear knob, the C8’s DCT compromises with a “de-clutch” feature that allows drivers to disengage the clutch when shifting by holding in both paddles at the same time.
Other performance enhancements focus on maximizing the mid-engined design’s handling potential. Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 coupled with all-new coilovers promise optimal ride quality regardless of the driving situation. The car’s front splitter and rear spoiler provide 400 pounds of downforce in the corners. Speaking of that splitter—there’s a new GPS-paired hydraulic front-axle lift to protect it that will remember where you need that extra clearance and automatically raise it next time.
The optional Z51 performance package, which includes larger brake rotors, better brake cooling, and the aforementioned exhaust helps the 3,366-pound (dry) Stingray rocket from standstill to 60 mph in less than three seconds, making it not only the most powerful base Corvette but the quickest, even giving the 755 horsepower C7 ZR1 a run for its money.
Going back to the 2020 Corvette’s design, Chevy says it was inspired by modern fighter jets like the F-35 and F-22, with a pinch of Formula One car thrown in. It’s recognizably Corvette while pushing the nameplate in a bold new direction. Having attended the reveal, we’ll say this—whatever your thoughts on that short hood and slabby rear end, the entire package looks better in person.
You can still take the roof off and toss it in the trunk for some open-top cruising. The door handles and hatch releases have all been hidden away, making the C8 as streamlined as any supercar. Attention to detail is present even in the engine bay, with an intentionally-massive rear hatch showcasing the ‘Vette’s new V-8 like a toy store window display.
Inside, you’ll immediately notice the diagonal climate control bar and driver-canted center console. Chevrolet wants to offer a more premium cockpit experience, so real metal trim is used throughout and buyers can add either real aluminum or real carbon fiber if they so choose. Other notable interior features include a new infotainment system, one-touch Bluetooth pairing, wireless charging, massive 12-inch digital gauge cluster, and the next-gen Performance Data Recorder, a configurable system that’s part dash cam and part track data analysis tool.
Owners can customize their Corvettes more than ever with 12 exterior colors, six interior themes, six seatbelt colors, and two stitching packages to mix and match. Three different kinds of seats are available as well—the GT1 seats are leather-trimmed and comfort-oriented, the GT2 seats offer a midpoint between daily driving and track seats with Napa leather inserts and carbon fiber trim, and the Competition Sport seats err on the side of all-out performance with even more carbon fiber and aggressive bolstering.
Even if you’re still mourning the death of the front-engine layout, there’s one last detail that’s sure to impress: The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will start under $60,000. That’s a hell of a deal for a mid-engine performance car. Production is slated to begin at the end of 2019—this will also be the first Corvette to be made for RHD markets as well—and more details will be announced closer to launch. We cannot wait.