Chevrolet Corvette C8: First Look
The latest 495 bhp Corvette goes mid-engined in 2020 and it’s coming to the UK in right-hand drive – for the price of a Porsche Cayman
American cars – either you’re a fan or you’re not. Often considered by many to only be “good in a straight line”, low tech, brash and less well built than their European counterparts, American sports cars have become a more familiar sight on British roads since the introduction of the 6th generation S-550 Ford Mustang. Better built and better to drive than it’s predecessor the Mustang also was finally offered in right-hand drive direct from the factory. The ‘Stang is fun to drive, but realistically it’s more muscle car than sports car – but it delivers a lot of bang for your buck.
The C7 Corvette Stingray is a much rarer sight on UK roads. The American equivalent of the Porsche 911, it looks great and was well received by the motoring press but in left-hand drive only it never really stood a chance of competing with its European rivals in the UK market. Until now.
The 2020 Corvette has been comprehensively repackaged with a new mid-engined layout and right-hand drive finally available. Tempted?
The C8 Corvette in numbers
Sub 3.0 seconds to 62 mph
6.2 litre normally aspirated V8
194 mph (unconfirmed)
1,530 kg – dry weight (both)
$60,000 starting price in the US (£49,000)
Moving the engine from the front to the middle has been a controversial move but it has enabled Chevrolet to offer a right-hand drive version of the ‘Vette. It will also improve the car’s handling and the designers have even been able to find space for two sets of golf clubs in the “trunk”. They also claim to have taken inspiration from F35 and F22 Raptor fighter jets. The car certainly looks good. The standard car has a removable Targa roof panel which stows in the boot. A proper convertible will follow.
The new 6.2-litre normally-aspirated V8 is dry sumped and puts out just under 500 bhp and 470lb-ft of torque. Expect more powerful Z-rated, turbocharged versions with over 700 bhp to follow. The car comes with a DCT gearbox as standard – there will be no manual option. The optional Z51 performance package adds a performance exhaust as well as a performance suspension setup, an electronic limited-slip differential, improved cooling, a package-specific, rear-end ratio, a front splitter, a rear spoiler, bigger Brembo brakes, front brake cooling inlets, and summer tyres in place of the standard all-season version.
A great looking driver-focused cabin with digital instrument pack, touchscreen infotainment system and a front suspension lifting system have been confirmed.
We’re a fan of the current C7 ‘Vette and the C8 is a big step up for Chevrolet. The mid-engined layout should resolve some of the finer handling nuances that make the Corvette feel more industrial than a 911 and the car looks great. With a big V8 and a very attractive price tag (the current Corvette Stingray is priced from £72,945), we’re going to see a lot more of these on UK roads when deliveries start in 2021.
Gallery – Chevrolet Corvette C8
All images courtesy of Chevrolet