Chevrolet unveiled its highly anticipated new Corvette on Thursday night, and while the jury may still be out on the eighth generation of the iconic sports car, there’s one thing everyone can agree on—the American automaker did not play it safe.
After 67 years of production, the new 2020 Corvette, or the C8 for short, has gone mid-engine. It’s a move that’s been rumored for years now, but Chevy finally took the plunge. It’s a change meant to improve the car’s performance—its competitors have been catching up in recent years—and it just might redefine what an American sports car can be in the process.
“Our mission was to develop a new type of sports car, combining the successful attributes of Corvette with the performance and driving experience of mid-engine supercars,” Corvette executive chief engineer Tadge Juechter said at the event.
While the engine may have been moved back a few feet, it’s still the same 6.2-liter V-8 that’s powered its front-engine predecessor for years. This one has some serious pep, though, capable of producing 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, and with the optional Z51 performance package, it can reach 60 mph in less than three seconds, making it the fastest Corvette ever. This is due in part to the new engine layout allowing for better weight distribution and giving it a race car-like center of gravity. The other main mechanical change is that the C8 is only available as an automatic. This isn’t a first for the car—it debuted in 1953, two years before manual transmissions were available—but it’s a change sure to raise some eyebrows.
Of course, now that it’s a mid-engine speedster, the C8 looks markedly different than its predecessors. Gone is the long nose and swooping curves, replaced by an aesthetic more in line with its European peers, like Lotus or McLaren. There are touches that make clear this is still a Corvette—like the front still coming to a peak—but they’re mainly in the details. The C8 also features a fighter jet-inspired cockpit, and two storage spaces, one in the front where the engine used to be and another between the engine and bumper that the company claims has room for two sets of golf clubs (an actual concern of some of the car’s older and grumpier fans).
While pricing details are still being worked out the base Stingray C8, the one Chevy showed off on Thursday, is expected to start at $60,0000, about seven percent more than the base C7. The car is expected to start shipping later this year. Check out more photos below: