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2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray Z51 Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Chevrolet, Test Drives

2020 chevrolet corvette c8 stingray

There’s no denying the proverbial horsepower war that’s taking place among new production sports cars and muscle cars. We’re genuinely in an automotive golden age once again, and vehicles like the all-new Chevrolet Corvette C8, completely reimagined for the 2020 model year with a mid-engine configuration, further support the notion of a modern-day automotive golden age.

The all-new Chevy Corvette C8 (8th generation) embodies the innovation of American ingenuity without overspending. It’s the quintessential American supercar. In that aspect, the new Corvette is something new and inspiring that has surprising performance out of the gate that runs with exotics that cost two or three times as much as the Corvette. That, in itself, is what makes the new 2020 Corvette a modern marvel no matter what your previous conceptions were, or if the new “style” of the Vette is still growing on you.

2020 chevrolet corvette c8 stingray side

Powering the completely redesigned Corvette C8 is the new LT2 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine that’s good for 490 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque powering the rear wheels through an exclusive 8-speed automated manual transmission. Don’t get that confused, the use of the word “manual” only means that this is a dual-clutch transmission that is fundamentally an automatic but has a direct connection due to its dual-clutch setup that’s automatically controlled. The engine, being mounted midship of the Vette (directly behind the seats), does well to keep the balance of its 3,535-pound curb weight with about 60.6 percent of its weight resting on the rear wheels, which aides for the vicious launch of the new Vette to hit 60 mph in an astonishing 2.8 seconds! Yeah, that’s no typo, 2.8 seconds from zero to 60 mph – and that mark is legit because I hit it in my test vehicle equipped with the Z51 package and its Z51 dual-mode performance exhaust, which happens to add an additional five horsepower for a total of 495 ponies. The 8-speed dual-clutch transmission fires off shifts like lightning with some refinement ALMOST to the level of a Porsche PDK. Top speed is claimed to be 194 mph.

2020 chevrolet corvette c8 stingray rear

There’s a lot engineered into the Corvette that goes much further than just making it a mid-engine wonder, it’s more of a mid-engine masterpiece at a bargain price. (More about the price later)

2020 chevrolet corvette c8 stingray dashboard

To cap things off in terms of performance, the Corvette is a vehicle that you can commute in every day and not worry about comfort or stopping that the gas station every couple of days. As another surprise, the new Corvette gets up to 27 mpg on the highway. I was at first skeptical of such an achievement. Still, I was able to match that EPA figure, which I found is a characteristic of it having a smart cylinder deactivation system that puts the V8 into a 4-cylinder mode when cruising and keeps it there as long as you don’t’ accelerate too hard. However, putting your foot down the mid-engine Vette will burn up fuel quickly, but city mpg is estimated at 15 mpg, and combined city/highway you’re looking at 19 mpg.

The new Vette is the best riding sports car of its caliber that I have ever experienced and nearly one of the quickest off of the line for a rear-wheel-drive setup. My test vehicle was well-equipped with the exception of the FE4 damper package and Performance Traction Management, which incorporates General Motors’ latest magnetic dampers (Magnetic Ride Control) and adds a set of advanced competition drive modes. The suspension on my tester was quite up to the task of balancing comfort out on the road and stability when you push the Vette near its limits. I didn’t quite go over the Corvette’s handling limits because they are vast, so vast that you hang on at the skidpad at 1.03 g, which comes with a dash of surprising understeer until you lay into the throttle and the rear end kicks out when stability and traction control is disabled. Let’s just say, things get interesting and fun when I find my groove to hang onto the rear when doing some “exploring” in a closed parking lot. The transmission, which permits on-the-fly neutral engagements by holding both shift paddles permits dumping of the automated clutch, which can also benefit you when you want to be a little adventurous out on the track or on a closed paved area (with plenty of run off- HAHA).

2020 chevrolet corvette c8 stingray rear

The new Vette has a lot of hidden features that complete its performance to match its exotic looks. There’s also a lot of thought put into many aspects of the Corvette that makes it a justified supercar, the least expensive supercar that you’ll ever find on the current market.

2020 chevrolet corvette c8 stingray square steering wheel

The cockpit of the new Corvette, which is the proper name for such an interior, is just that, a space the wraps around you and encapsulates you with a plethora of buttons and tech. From the unique drive modes displayed on the 12-inch configurable gauge cluster and exclusive drive modes, to the unique squared-off steering wheel and ultra-comfy but sporty seats, the Corvette’s interior is quite the inviting space for a supercar. Surprisingly, the seats are very comfortable, yet they remain supportive with the proper deep bolsters for navigating tracks and twisty back roads. GM left no stones unturned with the Corvette. If I were to nitpick and find something that I didn’t like (I have to look hard), it would be the exhaust sound through the lower powerband that is just too quiet. Under full throttle, the exhaust sounds “good” but not great. Also, the styling of the new Corvette is something that has to finish growing on me as the rear quarter and back-end has me a little mixed about a full-on love affair with the Vette.

If you didn’t already get my drift about all of the pricing hints in my words that the Corvette is a bargain, then let me tell you – the new 2020 Corvette is a bargain!!! We’re talking about a starting price of $60,000, and my nicely-equipped test vehicle with its head-turning Sebring Orange paint tests out at $79,315, which includes all of the Z51 package goodies (performance exhaust, performance brakes, electronic limited-slip differential, Z51 rear spoiler, high-performance run-flat tires, heavy-duty cooling system), the 2LT coupe preferred equipment package, GT2 bucket seats, front lift system, orange seat belts, 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, and body color exterior accents that in my opinion make the side profile of the Corvette look better than ones with the black accent around the side intakes.

I was never a huge fan of the Corvette and I always took strongly to my Italian exotics and even vehicles like the new Audi R8. The new Corvette embodies a new way of going about the supercar challenge, and I, for one, am certainly impressed by how it stacks up against “exotics” in the real world. Not to mention, things will only get better and FASTER from here out as we look forward to the mid-engine Corvette C8 Z06 and maybe even a ZR1 variation. I can’t wait!


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