2020 Chevrolet Corvette Preview

Aug 19, 2019
FAST FACTS
  • Engine placement is now behind the cabin, dropping the signature long hood for a mid-engine layout
  • Chevrolet drops the manual transmission option
  • Upgraded infotainment system with available Performance Data Recorder and real-time traffic updates
  • Two new drive modes for customizing transmission shift mapping and the suspension
  • Price: $59,995 including delivery

Introduction

The much-anticipated Chevrolet Corvette reinvents itself with inspiration from the F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor fighter jets. The Stingray coupe will debut first, with a removable roof panel. A convertible style is on the books for later in the model year along with three trims, 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. The 2LT focuses on tech and comfort, while the 3LT emphasizes luxury.

The automaker has made several radical changes to the profile, build, and interior of the vehicle that is sure to send shockwaves throughout the industry. They also added a Z51 Performance Package with Magnetic Ride Control. Buyers can customize their build with the Corvette Visualizer on the Chevrolet website. The automaker will start production of the eighth-generation vehicle toward the end of 2019.

It remains to be seen how loyalists will react to the redesign. The Corvette retains the model’s vibe as a muscle car with even more to offer.  There is a plentiful stock of seventh-generation vehicles available in the US for diehards to the previous build. European buyers will have to act quickly before EU emissions standards at the end of August take them off the sellers’ block.

Exterior Features

The Corvette takes on a more aggressive stance with sharper lines. The exhaust pipes now run along the sides as opposed to underneath the build. The split front intakes give it a Ferrari-esque look. Even the rear of the C8 looks rebellious, with a lower valance, four angular tail lights, larger vents, and a bigger rear window. The body is now aluminum and carbon fiber.

Chevrolet scraped the long hood and tall front fenders, putting the engine behind the seats, saying the old design had reached its peak. The move dramatically improves driver visibility. The car is wider and lower than previous generations with a 107.2-inch wheelbase. It has 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

Interior Features

The cabin looks every bit like a fighter jet with its 12.0-inch display and updated infotainment system. Chevrolet moved the seat climate controls and HVAC to a centerline between the front seats. Even the power-adjustable tilt and telescoping steering wheel get a refresh with an edgy, squared-off look. Drivers can customize their ride by initiating the setup with the Z-mode option.

Owners of earlier generations will notice the dramatic change in the front window view from previous models. The redesign of the exterior pushes the cabin 16.5 inches forward with the switch from the long to the shorter hood. Taller individuals will appreciate the increased seatback range angle. Chevrolet dialed back on the cargo space from 15.0 cubic feet to 12.6. It also added a front compartment.

Dual-zone air conditioning with automatic temperature control, a 10-speaker sound system is standard. Buyers will have a choice of six interior colors along with options for the stitching and seat belts as well.

Optional Features

The C8 will offer two available seat options over the standard eight-way power-adjustable GT1 Mulan leather ones. Buyers can choose the ventilated and heated GT2 seats with high-density foam or the Napa leather Competition Sport version with carbon fiber headrest trim. Other amenities include a curb-view camera, heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger, and a 14-speaker Bose sound system.

Under the Hood

A 495-horsepower, 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 engine with a Tremec eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission resides under the hood on the base Stingray trim level, a bump of 40 ponies over the C7 model. Chevrolet made the bold decision to drop its manual transmission option for the C8 due to high production costs. There is a push-button shifter with a paddle-shifting system.

The Corvette fires at a blistering speed of zero-to-60 mph in under 3 seconds with the optional Z51 package. Its top speed is 194 mph. Chevrolet upgraded the suspension with coil-over in base models. The Z51 performance suspension with struts and adjustable spring perches is optional. It has Brembo disc brakes with 4-piston front and rear calipers.

Fuel Economy

The EPA figures for fuel economy are 19 combined, 16 city, and 26 mpg highway, respectively. It meets all federal and 50 state emissions requirements.

Safety

Chevrolet introduced two new drive modes with the C8, MyMode and Z Mode. The former allows the driver to customize the traction control and suspension. The latter controls transmission shift mapping and throttle response. All Corvettes come standard with a rearview camera with park assist. Available add-ons include rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, side blind zone, and a rear camera mirror.

Chevrolet tackled the handling issues of performance cars head-on with its vertical-lifting nose to avoid obstructions. The optional GPS-based navigation stores the location of up to 1,000 of them. The redesign yielded a 10 percent stiffer frame for added safety. The automaker also added a Teen Driver Mode on all Corvettes to allow parents to control what features their teenagers can access.

The Corvette includes auto-locking doors and heated outside mirrors along with the standard federal-required features.  Options are a theft-deterrent system, OnStar Fleet Safety and Security service, and a universal home remote. The vehicle’s emphasis is on performance the experience with a noticeable lack of driver assistance features, such as adaptive cruise control.

Technology

The infotainment and electrical systems get an upgrade and higher placement on the dashboard for easier viewing, with the automaker calling it the most advanced in the industry. The available Performance Data Recorder monitors the vehicle’s performance real-time with video. It also acts as a dashcam. Other options include a voice recognition system and up-to-the-minute traffic updates.

Chevrolet made cybersecurity and over-the-air updates their priorities, putting the driver in control. Drivers can customize the instrument panel display that changes color with the drive mode. There is also voice recognition and WiFi hotspot capability available.

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