Hooniversal Opinion: 2020 C8 Corvette

After decades of waiting the mid-engine Corvette has finally transformed from fantasy to reality.

By now you probably know everything about the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. But here’s a refresher course: mid-engine. 6.2-liter V8, a modified version of the LT1 now called LT2. 495 horsepower. 460 lb-ft of torque. Tremec-sourced 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. Which is, controversially, the only transmission. The base car weighs 3366 pounds. And supposedly carries a starting price of ~$60k.

None of this came as a huge shock. Nothing except for the price, that is. Speculation put it closer to ~$100k, make it $150k depending on the source. The C8’s base price undercuts the price that nearly everyone expected it to cost.

But the price is just part of the news. This is it, it’s finally real: the Corvette officially has become a mid-engine vehicle. It’s no longer a rumor. It’s no longer speculation. It’s no longer a joke. It’s real. The mid-engine Corvette is absolutely, completely, entirely fucking real.

And for better or for worse, we now have pictures of it by which we can judge its design. And judge its supposed performance, for that matter.

Now that we’ve had a few days to absorb all of this and culminate our thoughts. So what do your Hooniverse writers think of the news-stealing ‘Vette?

Yes, we’re still talking about the new ‘Vette

I have my concerns. Mainly, the interior and back end of the car. That row of buttons separating the driver side from the passenger side is a nightmare. It not only looks ridiculous but is also a safety hazard. Imagine driving along at 75 MPH and trying to turn off your seat heater. Using crucial controls that far from the normal line of sight will force the driver to take their eyes off the road. It’s pretty ironic and contrary to the Heads Up Display that the Corvette has done so well to promote.

Then there’s the car’s back end: it’s heinous. The taillights are a bad combo of those from the C7 and those on the current, trying-way-too-hard-to-look-cool Camaro. Yikes. But at least the design overall isn’t as much of a travesty. It carries a lot of McLaren, NSX, and Ferrari in its lines. Not a bad thing.

Now, the definite good: the powertrain will be fantastic. And it will probably sound fantastic as well considering it’s 6.2 liters piped through only a few feet of exhaust. If GM’s engineers did with the C8 what they’ve done with prior cars, it’ll be a performance monster. Likely capable of taking down cars with double and triple the price. The inevitable Grand Sport and ZR1 variants will be nothing short of insane. In all truth I had hoped for the incorporation of hybrid tech (electric motors up front, perhaps?) but somehow I’m content with it just being a big V8. It’s traditional and doesn’t push the car forward but it will work and be reliable and offer good gas mileage and that’s what the ‘Vette has always been good at.

Enthusiasts will lament the loss of the manual transmission and I don’t disagree. But the packaging simply won’t allow it. I’m excited to see a worthy auto from a worthy transmission manufacturer making its way into the Corvette, especially since the prior automatics have been less than satisfying.

The bottom line is the C8 will offer amazing performance at an amazingly low price. ~$60k puts it in the pricing territory of the base 718, the GT350 (not even the GT500), the Supra, and so on. I wouldn’t be surprised to see price creep over the first few years– think of how the GT-R started at ~$75k and the base model is now ~$100k– but regardless it’s a massive feat as a value proposition. The C8 is finally here and it might not have made the splash some of us were hoping for, but I’m just glad it’s actually real. Now, for that C8.R…

-Ross Ballot

It’s different, big change from the previous gen, but we all knew that when the rumours began about a Mid Engine change to the Corvette we all know and love. I’m reserving my final judgement on looks until I can see one in the metal, but it looks pretty good from the release images. The interior is next level, it reminds me of a Lamborghini interior, which are just works of art. I think the front splitter is a must have, as it looks lost without it. The most exciting part of the Corvette is that it will be built in Right Hand Drive and Holden is bringing it to down under to Australia. Looking forward to see the C8 on the Aussie roads.

-Joel Strickland

The biggest surprise for me is the price. Under $60,000. That’s great but no one will actually buy a $60,000 Corvette. The current C7 Stingray starts $56,000. The issue is that one buys a base model Corvette like that for the same reason no one buys a base model anything. Let’s assume that the actual selling price, sans dealer markup, will be under $80,000 for the nicely equipped 2020 Stingray. That’s still a bargain! Compare that to any other mid-engine vehicle. 

The second surprise is the fact that after all the rumors, the thing is powered by a conventional push-rod, OHV, naturally aspired, V8. And the power is only going to the rear wheels. That isn’t a bad thing at all, just surprising in the days of turbo-this and hybrid-that. But it’s also what keeps the price low, so other than the surprise, I’m all for it.  

Another surprise is the use of an aluminum chassis. Most other mid-engine exotic-ish cars are using some kind of magical carbon chassis – it’s lighter and stronger. While aluminum is light, it is not the strongest of metals. This, again, has to do with cost. And strength. I want to see how it will play out with future more powerful models. 

That aluminum chassis retains a huge center tunnel. That makes for smaller side sills, making the Vette easier to get into and out of, unlike many other mid-engine cars which are a complete pain. Once in, the interior seems nice but the column of HVAC switches is just simply a poor design. The square steering wheel is odd as well – the hand placements does not seem to line-up with the paddle shifters. Why, literally, reinvent the wheel?

Other than that, I didn’t see many surprises here. I give GM a lot of credit for keeping it simple. While at it, some ergonomics aside, the interior seems much improved in terms of quality. Importantly, the top still comes off and there is plenty of trunk space, front and back, making the Vette a solid touring choice. Overall, I like it and can’t wait to see future versions of it. 

-Kamil Kaluski

It’s one hell of a machine. The styling works well in person, with the weakest angle being the direct profile. That’s only because that’s the curse of pretty much every mid-engined machine out there. From the front and rear, there’s still enough design language in there that it speaks Corvette to you. But it’s clear this is a complete evolutionary step forward for Chevy.

A mid-engined American sports car with a naturally aspirated V8 engine and a starting price of just under $60k? That’s one hell of an achievement. I believe the Z51 package will cost around $12,000 which puts you at $72k to really start, but even there it’s still worth it.

People who want a Cayman will still buy a Cayman, because it’s a Porsche and that’s fine. The Porsche crest is an aspirational item for many. The Corvette flags are too, and those who buy the C8 will have plenty to smile about.

I can’t wait to drive this thing…

-Jeff Glucker

By |2019-07-22T10:41:24+00:00July 22nd, 2019|Hooniversal Opinion|34 Comments

About the Author:

Ross Ballot
Automotive ADHD, personified. Current owner of an NC Miata Club PRHT. Lover of all things off-roading; amateur autocrosser. Perpetually looking for the next vehicle he will regret.