What Is It?
For years rumors circulated among Corvette enthusiasts about a mid-engine version of America’s sports car being in the works, and it turns out those rumors were true. The eighth-generation Corvette debuted last year — the first with an engine located behind the driver. Although some die-hard ‘Vette fans remain appalled that this legendary sports car would abandon its traditional front-engine configuration, this high-performance 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with exotic looks is arguably the best production Corvette ever built.
Chevrolet provided us with a 2020 Corvette Stingray Coupe painted in eye-catching Torch Red. Optional equipment includes the 2LT Package, Z51 Performance Package, GT2 Bucket Seats, Engine Appearance Package, Torch Red seat belts and a front lift system for a total MSRP of $78,265. Competitors to the Corvette include the Audi R8, Jaguar F-TYPE R, Mercedes-AMG GT, Nissan GT-R and the Porsche 911.
The C8 is easily one of the best-looking Corvettes ever from Chevrolet — this sports car looks amazing from all angles. Although certain similarities to the C7 ‘Vette exist, the new Stingray takes advantage of its mid-engine configuration with a sloping hood, narrow projector headlights and streamlined grille.
The electronic door latches of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray are hidden from view to maintain the body’s clean lines. Deeply sculpted doors have the beginnings of large air intakes integrated into their trailing edges, aiding aerodynamics and cooling the big V8 powerplant.
Engine on Display
The engine cover of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is clear so the powerplant and its carbon fiber trim and supports can be viewed in all their glory. LED taillights have an inwardly pointing effect, appearing to squeeze the car’s tail at the middle. A curved, tapered rear spoiler also conforms to the tail’s shape, and quad exhaust tips complete the powerful look.
In the Company of Exotics
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray looks more like an exotic sports car than ever before — especially when swathed in Torch Red. In fact, during a test drive we passed a Ferrari traveling in the opposite direction and worthy waves were exchanged between drivers — one exotic to another.
An all-new LT2 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 490 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque in standard configuration resides under a glass cover immediately behind the cabin. The test vehicle with its Z51 package bumped the party up to 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft or torque. With no manual gearbox available for the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, power gets sent to the rear wheels via Chevrolet’s first 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox. This quick-shifting transmission can be left alone to do its thing, or manually shifted via paddles mounted on the steering column.
Not only does the new Corvette look fast, it has performance stats to backstop that sexy styling. The sprint to 60 mph takes 3.0 seconds — 2.9 with the Z51 Performance Package (almost as quick as the 755-horsepower Corvette ZR1 from a year earlier). Corvette can eclipse the quarter mile in 11.2 seconds from a standing start on its way to a top speed of 194 mph.
Inside, the C8’s unique cockpit layout separates driver and passenger. The main display screen angles toward the driver and vertical, raised climate controls function as a divider between the two seats. The shift selector and drive mode control are both within the driver’s easy reach. Although a bit unusual, this setup seems fitting for the car and works well.
Drive Mode Selector
Prominently located in the center console, the Stingray’s Drive Mode selector dial sits beneath a stylish leather cover embossed with the Corvette logo. Multiple modes include Weather, Tour, Sport and Track, all of which change preferences for engine and transmission response, exhaust note and traction, as well as the display. During our drives, mode selection could be troublesome, since there is no visible mode list — the driver must turn the dial in order to see the next mode, so new owners will invariably turn the dial the wrong way until the modes become rote. It takes a moment for the mode to set, so changing on the fly without remembering which direction to turn could become annoying for some.
Many performance cars employ flat-bottom steering wheels presumably to provide additional legroom; the 2020 C8 Corvette was our first experience with a wheel squared off at both top and bottom. This two-spoke steering wheel exclusive to Corvette also provides an easier view of the 12-inch configurable driver display.
Employing the mid-engine configuration, designers of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray were able to lower the hood and instrument panel to provide one of the best driving positions of any sports car on the planet. The view out front is pure road, framed by large fenders on either side.
Similar to M buttons found on BMW M performance vehicles, the Corvette has a Z button on the steering wheel to engage Z-Mode. Acting like a high-performance preset, Z-Mode can be configured to the driver’s preferences for engine sound, steering, powertrain and brake response.
Since the driver gets a fully immersive experience in the cockpit, the passenger can almost feel left out. As mentioned earlier, all controls and displays are angled away from the passenger seat — even the cupholders are on the driver side of the center console.
Our test ‘Vette was fitted with Corvette’s optional GT2 bucket seats which feature dual-density foam for better comfort and support. The stylish seats get a race-inspired look with carbon fiber trim, Napa and Mulan leather, two-way lumbar support as well as heating and ventilation.
The C8 has precious little storage in the cabin beyond a small covered bin in the center armrest and cupholders on the driver’s side. However, a wireless device charger with a holder sits between the seatbacks — not terribly convenient for accessing devices, but it keeps them from getting lost.
Foggy Rear View
The cabin’s rear window looks into the engine bay; the rear view beyond is through the glass engine cover. This setup makes visibility somewhat difficult even in the most optimal conditions. Road trips during significant rain can bring a lot of water into the engine bay — not a problem for the engine, but the unruly combination of heat and moisture tends to fog up the cabin window, making the view rearward even more obscured.
Chevrolet came up with an ingenious solution for the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette’s rearward visibility dilemma — the rearview mirror is digital, with a camera positioned on the roof aft of the cabin. The view is completely clear and bright, no matter the weather or time of day. A great solution, although farsighted drivers could have difficulty focusing on the mirror’s image.
In keeping with most exotic sports cars, the new Corvette doesn’t offer an inordinate amount of luggage space. The front trunk — or “frunk,” if you prefer — holds a small suitcase or a few bags of groceries. At the rear, the trunk space is wider; however, it doesn’t appear large. Chevrolet claims it accommodates two sets of golf clubs.
On the Road
A few minutes behind the wheel confirm this new Corvette has performance chops to match its exotic looks. Full throttle pushes occupants back in their seats and results in an absolutely wonderful roar from the quad exhaust — especially at high rpm — with loud barks at each upshift. Acceleration is incredibly strong — we have no reason to doubt Chevrolet’s zero-to-60 mph claims. The dual-clutch gearbox moves through gears quickly when left to its own devices; however, the responsive paddle shifters can be more fun during spirited driving.
Loves the Twisties
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a bit larger than anticipated; however, the C8 still feels nimble with adroit handling and precise steering. Given the driver’s excellent visibility forward and the unique steering wheel that feels so good in hand, the Corvette practically begs for more winding roads where the car comes alive. We didn’t even approach operational limits on public roads, and it’s clear this car has amazing potential. A day at the track in the C8 would be time well spent.
Of course not every road the C8 travels will be mountainous or curvaceous, but that’s okay. The ride of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is pleasingly comfortable; in fact, we were expecting the suspension to be overly stiff based on the excellent handling. When cruising on open highways or through small towns, this amazing Corvette is surprisingly docile and easy to drive, especially with the mode set to Touring. But no matter the mode, power is always lurking, ready to be unleashed.
One look at the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and it’s clear this is something special. From sexy styling to its driver-oriented cabin to the powerful V8 on display for all to see, the Stingray stands out in a segment brimming with standout sports cars. Thanks to a surprisingly comfortable ride and outstanding handling and performance, the C8 would add considerable enjoyment to any fortunate soul.
LED Running Lights
LED running lights add to the exotic look.
With no engine up front in the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the hood slopes dramatically away from the cabin.
Brembo 4-piston calipers are standard fare.
The rear hatch opens to reveal the engine and trunk.
A rainy day brings water into the engine bay.
Deep air intakes behind the doors help with aerodynamics and engine cooling.
The camera for the digital rearview mirror is positioned at the back of the roof above the engine cover.
The frunk does not offer much cargo-carrying capacity.
The cockpit puts controls and displays within easy reach of the driver.
The Z Button activates Z-Mode.
Push Button to Open
Doors are opened via an electronic latch.
The new Corvette looks fantastic from every angle.