While Ford has kept us entertained with 2020 Shelby GT500 news all year, Chevrolet stole a bit of the spotlight with the reveal of its first-ever production mid-engine Corvette: the 2020 Stingray.
According to Chevrolet, the mid-engine layout will give the 2020 Stingray better weight distribution over its predecessors with rear weight bias enhancing performance in a straight line and on the track. It’s said to be more responsive and offer a greater “sense of control.”
“Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary-pushing at GM. The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout,” said GM President Mark Reuss.
“In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history. Customers are going to be thrilled with our focus on details and performance across the board.”
What are some of those details? Well, According to Chevroletes vehicle spec’s the 2020 Stingray comes with “a racecar-like view of the road” with dual trunks, “ideal for luggage or two sets of golf clubs.” Additionally, when equipped with the Z51 Performance Package the new Stingray is said to hit 60 mph in under 3-seconds.
A New Look and Feel
“As America’s most iconic performance nameplate, redesigning the Corvette Stingray from the ground up presented the team a historic opportunity, something Chevrolet designers have desired for over 60 years,” said Michael Simcoe, vice president of Global Design, General Motors.
As a result, Chevrolet totes the Stingray’s exterior as “a bold, futuristic expression with mid-engine exotic proportions, but it is still unmistakably Corvette.”
While the design may be original within the walls of General Motors, the Stingray doesn’t have very many, if any, genuinely unique design ques. Many of its mid-engine exotic proportions appear borrowed from the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and the Ferrari F8 Tributo with a touch of Camaro. Combined, it creates an overall slightly dated and conservatively safe look.
Given the configuration change, can we really be surprised the C8 isn’t more radical and futuristic looking? For a base-model, maybe not. If this was a higher-performing variant equivalent to the Z06 or ZR1, possibly.
Chevrolet makes the claim that the “Stingray’s canopy-forward stance was inspired by F22s, F35s, and other modern fighter jets and Formula One racing.” As a result, the cockpit has been moved forward 16.5-inches.
And as you would expect, the engine location is the focal point of the car’s design, and like most other modern supercars, it’s visible through a glass window.
According to GM, other “original” design ques include low-profile headlights, hidden door handles, large side air intakes, quad exhaust tips, and LED taillights with animated turn signals.
No Track-Monster Here, The C8 is your Grandpa’s Tourer’
“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,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette executive chief engineer.
Consequently, the Stingray is designed for superior ride comfort on the highway and well-balanced handling on the track.
The backbone of the Stingray is composed of a center tunnel which allows for a light, stiff structure. Chevrolet added, “unlike some competitors, there’s no need for oversized rocker panels to bear structural and load weights, making it easier to enter and exit the vehicle.”
Suspension on the C8 is composed of Chevrolet’s 4.0 Magnetic Ride Control and coil-over dampers. The magnetic ride control is rumored to read the road better and provide more precise data through suspension-mounted accelerometers that respond faster and more smoothly to driver inputs.
“Thanks to sophisticated suspension geometry, tailored tire technology and exquisite attention to structural details, we have improved ride and handling,” said Juechter. “No Corvette has ever felt so comfortable, nimble and yet completely stable.”
In case you’re worried about bumps, potholes, steep driveways, and other road disturbances – especially those you may find on track – the C8 comes with a front suspension lift to increase the front bumper ground clearance by 40mm, roughly an inch-and-a-half, in 2.8-seconds or just about the same amount of time it will take the car to get to 60 mph.
Can’t remember exactly where that bump, pothole, or steep driveway is located? Dont worry the cars GPS can log up to 1000 locations and adjust automatically when operated at 24 mph. Chevrolet did not mention how exactly the driver might log a dangerous pothole while driving through.
Form Over Function (Yes, You Read That Right)
The 2020 Stingray is powered by Chevy’s next-gen 6.2-liter Small Block V8 LT2 engine. When equipped with performance exhaust, the LT2 will produce 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Those figures make it the most power and torque for any entry Corvette. But if you buy a Stingray without a performance exhaust would that make it no longer an entry-level model and it would have less power?
“Though now placed behind the driver, the LT2 gives the same visceral experience we all expect from Corvette,” said Jordan Lee, GM’s global chief engineer of Small Block engines. “The LT2 has been designed to deliver excellent low-end torque and high-end power to give a thrilling pedal response at any RPM.”
According to Chevrolet, while track driving, oil volume remains high to avoid diminished performance. To ensure that even the base-model Stingray would always perform on the track, Chevrolet gave it an engine-mounted dry sump oil system and three scavenge pumps.
Chevrolet’s first eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is hooked to the LT2, enabling lightning-fast shifts and an excellent power transfer. Tremec aided in the design of the transmission which offers both the spirited, directly connected feeling of a manual with the premium driving comfort of an automatic.
“The performance shift algorithms are so driver-focused, they can sense when you’re doing spirited driving — regardless of driving mode — and will hold lower gears longer for more throttle response,” said Juechter.
Engineers set the DCT up with a low first gear to leverage traction and get the car off the line quickly, while close-ratio gears 2 through 6 keep the engine near the power peak on track. The final seventh and eighth gears are tall to make long-distance cruising smooth with low mechanical stress and excellent fuel economy.
One notable highlight is its double-paddle de-clutch feature.
The double-paddle de-clutch feature allows the driver to disconnect the clutch by holding both paddles. Chevrolet officially says this is for more manual control, but really, GM Spokesman Kevin Kelly says its to enable drivers to rev at people who aren’t looking at them at a stoplight. Ahem, Cars & Coffee spectators better watch out as this may be the next to attack crowds.
Every part, including the exhaust system’s wires, tubes, routing fasteners, coolant hoses, exhaust manifold, and even the bolts and fasteners, have been built with the appearance in mind. “All engine components were given careful consideration just like the exterior,” Chevrolet said.
The C8 is offered with an available Engine Appearance Package that adds carbon-fiber components as well as LED lights to illuminate the engine, housed under a lightweight, 3.2mm-thick glass panel on the rear hatch that “allows owners to show off the engine.”
Corvette Stingray: Have It Your Way
Perhaps to distract from its conservative look, the 2020 Stingray comes with 12 exterior color options, six interior color themes, with six seatbelt color choices, two optional stitch packages, and three seat options.
According to Chevrolet, seat options include the GT1 – a sporty style that emphasizes comfort while providing support for performance driving situations, the GT2 – a racing-inspired look with comfort for long trips, or a Competition Sport seat for the track-focused driver.
Driver mode choices have been expanded from four to six, allowing drivers to tweak the feel of their Corvettes to their personal preference. Options include the familiar Weather, Tour, Sport, and Track modes, in addition to two new modes: MyMode and ZMode.
MyMode is a configurable setting that allows drivers to set a preferred driving style. Named after the famed Z06, ZR1 and Z51 Corvette performance packages, Z mode is activated through a “Z” button on the steering wheel which allows drivers to adjust the engine and transmission as well.
The Stingray also comes with a Performance Data Recorder, an advanced driving analysis tool upgraded with a high-definition resolution camera and a new, in-vehicle user interface.
According to Chevrolet, drivers can record both circuit and point-to-point road courses. The PDR can be set to auto-record like a dashcam that starts a recording every time the Corvette is running, or configured to only start when the car is set to Valet mode.
The entry 2020 Stingray easily positions itself as an “everything car” with a no-compromise value proposition, as it will start under $60,000.