2020 Corvette Stingray C8: What We Know and Our First Impressions

J.G.
By J.G. Pasterjak
Jul 19, 2019 | Corvette, C8 Corvette | Posted in Podcast | Never miss an article

First, let's get the known stats out of the way:

Price: The starting price for the entry-level 2020 Corvette Stingray: "Under $60,000" (Potentially this means the Z51 package, Mark Reuss, GM President was slightly ambiguous here.) 

Engine: LT2 6.2-Liter OHV V8 mounted amidships with a new dry-sump oiling system.

Drivetrain Layout: mid-engined, RWD

Horsepower: 495.

Torque: 470.

0-60: "Under three seconds when equipped with the Z51 package."

Transmission: Eight-speed Dual Clutch Transmission "Shifts faster and better than a human". No word on any manual options down the road, so this sounds like the only transmission.

Like it or not, the Chevrolet Corvette is one of the cars that define our scene. From local autocrosses to international endurance racing, and at every point in between, Corvettes tend to run at the front of the pack while serving as one of the yardsticks by which performance is measured for other cars in the segment. So it’s no surprise that when Chevy revealed the most significant update to the model in its history–nothing short of a clean-sheet design that changed the entire layout–it was a Big Deal®.

When you roll out a mid-engined reimagining of iconic sportswear, you don’t just hand out a few thumb drives to jaded journalists at the airport Marriott. You start by renting a blimp hangar. Inside that blimp hangar, you put a stage worthy of Metallica, display historic examples from Corvette history, and even get a couple of astronauts to hype up the crowd of 1000-plus before you roll out your new creation.

We can’t really even begin to communicate the level of hype from the crowd at this event. In addition to automotive journalists–who, like we said, tend to be a mostly jaded and low-key bunch–Chevy invited hundreds of current Corvette owners, online influencers and dealer personnel to this worldwide unveiling.

The pre-event hype was downright Marvel Studios-like, where for months prior to the high-profile release nerds worldwide pored over the latest official and unofficial spy shots from movie sets in order to piece together Captain America’s possible fate. For months, fans have been analyzing disguised spy shots, official “leaks,” clearly bullcrap leaks, unofficial renderings and grainy pictures of C8 Corvette bits.

In the huge grandstands inside that SoCal blimp hangar, we saw people actually people vibrating with anticipation as the lights went down and the show began. Honestly, it was cool to see people so excited about a car.

And the actual car revealed to us mostly justified the hype. Yes, there are nits to pick–no car is perfect, certainly–but overall my initial feeling is there’s a lot more to like here than to complain about. So here are some observations from the morning after the big show:

• The biggest enthusiasm gap I’m seeing seems to be between current Corvette hardcores and non-owners, with the latter being more excited about the new version. I’m on the mailing list for our local NCC chapter, and the first few reactions have been somewhat lackluster. Likewise, I was in an elevator with a guy completely decked out in Corvette gear last night. When the door closed, he looked over and asked, “Well? What do you think?”

I began to respond: “So I think there’s going to be some excitement fr….” where he immediately cut me off and emotionally burst out, “Man they screwed up! The performance is there, but the looks?!?! The branding!?!? It’s just not a Corvette!”

So maybe the biggest discussion we’ll be having around this car is not whether it’s intrinsically good, but whether or not it’s a Corvette.

On the other hand, my autocross and track friends are pretty universally stoked, with maybe a few holdouts from the ones who hate everything anyway. (You know who you are.)

• Maybe the biggest shock of the night was the revelation that the car will be available starting at less than $60,000. That’s huge. Obviously, the good stuff will cost more. I’d estimate another $10,000 to $15,000 to turn a sub-$60k base model into a Z51 with better tires, better aero, more power via a sport exhaust, more aggressive gear ratios, an e-diff and trick software tuning for chassis and drivetrain. But, still, find me another 500-horsepower, mid-engine car with clear track intentions out there for less than $75,000. You can’t. That’s Cayman money for something that is clearly a lot more gnarly. The Corvette has always had a strong value proposition, and the C8 continues that trend.

• The other upside of that price point is that they’re going to sell a metric crap ton of these things. That means that in 10 years, their value on the used market should be downright affordable. Even if you can’t afford a new one, you should be excited that a used C8 could be realistically on your radar before long.

• No official word on higher performance models or designations, other than there are plans for them. There is a dedicated space in the chassis that would neatly swallow a large battery pack if that tells you anything. Corvettes have always added meaner version after the initial release, and when the intro car is doing zero to 60 in less than 3 seconds, the prospect of a Z06 or ZR1 version offering even higher performance is darn exciting.

• Chevy is fully bought in to track culture with this car. The next generation of the Performance Data Recorder setup will feature a database of tracks from around the world–and not only with start/finish lines but segment times and also the ability to compare info through user databases. Basically, the new Corvette comes with a competition-style data acquisition system.

• Overall, I like the looks. From the back of the doors to the front of the car, the looks and proportions are really, really good. From the back edge of those doors to the tail of the car, things get a little, well, less good.

The proportions of the rear are long and heavy compared to the front. Shorten the distance between the rear edge of the doors and the rear wheel wells, somehow, and you have an epic package. Right now, it’s good, but not perfect.

One of the most common criticisms I’ve heard regarding the styling is that it’s a little “generic supercar.” Uh, okay. I mean, I guess you could be more cynical and jaded, but you might need a special permit or something. A generic supercar is still a supercar. I’m ultimately going to choose to judge it by lap times and not a few styling missteps.

• You can say that changing the traditional Corvette layout to mid-engine is a flaw, but the reality is that this is what Zora Arkus-Duntov always wanted. He was pushing for a mid-engined Vette from the 1950s. So, you can say it’s a big change, but I don’t really think you can say, “It’s not what a Corvette should be,” when it’s literally what the guy who invented the Corvette always wanted.

We've made an abridged version of the live reveal right here for you to watch. Enjoy!

 

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Comments
Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
7/19/19 1:11 p.m.

So the real question:

Will we see a 2020 Corvette Stingray sell for sticker (under $60,000) in the next year?

oldrotarydriver
oldrotarydriver Reader
7/19/19 1:24 p.m.

I'd go with a hard "Nahh!".  Any Chevy dealer with a soul might "sticker" one, but the rest will surcharge it so badly you'd think the price should be in Euros.

 

Crxpilot
Crxpilot Reader
7/19/19 1:26 p.m.

The interior layout is worse than the c7.  With the fact that new cars are manufactured with such modularity, someone out there (maybe even GM), should/could make different interior "packages" for these.  Spend $5k-10k more and get the '53 look or '67.  Spend a little less and get a track-ready package with flat carbon panels and comfort delete.

Just anything besides what was in the reveal car, please.

Scooter70
Scooter70 New Reader
7/19/19 1:29 p.m.

In reply to oldrotarydriver :

I think they have the capacity to build them in such quantity that anyone who wants one and is willing to do any research beyond walking into the dealership in their little town with a checkbook in their pocket the week that they first hit dealer lots (there are plenty of dealerships around the country who do long-distance sales) that getting one without dealer markup should be relatively easy.

te72
te72 Reader
7/19/19 1:29 p.m.
Jordan Rimpela said:

So the real question:

Will we see a 2020 Corvette Stingray sell for sticker (under $60,000) in the next year?

Doubt it. Pretty much any noteworthy enthusiast car tends to have significant dealer markup (and even more so in the secondary market in many cases) for a while. No worries though, if there's one thing I have, it's patience...

 

So, I'm gonna be the first to say it, the new Supra is screwed. I'm as big a Supra fan (and overall Toyota guy in general) but at this point, if you buy a Supra over the C8, well... that's on you. Personal taste aside, if you're after performance as a priority, you'd have to be downright foolish.

 

Now, that said? What a time to be an enthusiast. Mustangs are great, Corvettes are finally mid-engined, the Supra is as back as we're gonna get, Miatas are still awesome, Dodge sells any number of things with irresponsible power levels... new golden age? I think so.

deaconblue
deaconblue New Reader
7/19/19 1:34 p.m.

Current C7 owners that sat in the cars last evening report there is truly more interior room.

You forgot to mention the front end auto raise feature.

More details available here;

https://visualizer-east.chevrolet.com/ui?carline=corvette&modelyear=2020&brand=chevrolet&language=en&country=US&channel=b2c

deaconblue
deaconblue New Reader
7/19/19 1:36 p.m.

In reply to te72 :

If you like the current Camaro, better buy one before they are discontinued again.  

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
7/19/19 1:41 p.m.

McLaren or Italian influence?

Indy-Guy
Indy-Guy UberDork
7/19/19 1:43 p.m.

In reply to 914Driver :

Yes.

 

I think it's great. 

 

Will there be a mid-engined Camaro come back after the current one is discontinued?

 

Crxpilot
Crxpilot Reader
7/19/19 1:45 p.m.

It's time for a $30k Fiero now.

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