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C8 Too Good To Be True?

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  • C8 Too Good To Be True?

    Interesting question considering this is written by the LA Times, the mid engine sports car Mecca of the world, where more ME’s are sold than everywhere else in the world (thanks Skank for that information). So is the C8 “too good to be true?”

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    Originally posted by LATimes
    s the new midengine Corvette too good to be true?

    The new 2020 Corvette Stingray Coupe in Rapid Blue.
    (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
    JAN. 10, 2020

    6 AM

    “Wow — thank you so much, ma’am!” gushes a young parking attendant at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica. “It made my day to see this car in person!”

    That’s the contagious effect the all-new 2020 Corvette Stingray has on just about everyone. A toddler in a stroller pointed and squealed as I rolled by. A well-dressed businessman was studying the car with appreciation when I emerged from a store. “I’ve never been a Corvette guy, but I can actually see myself owning one of these,” he told me before jumping into his Audi R8.

    Of course, $300,000-plus Lamborghinis and McLarens garner longing looks, but they don’t provoke the ear-to-ear grins that Chevy’s latest does. I have rarely seen a vehicle elicit so much joy, so consistently, as I did in the two days I had the eye-popping “Rapid Blue” version GM lent me for testing.

    Chevy gave the world its first peek of the C8 (its internal name) last July, at an unveiling in a hangar in Tustin to a standing-room-only crowd of media, collectors and influencers. Chevy chose SoCal for the launch because it’s the most important market for the car — which is the first in the model’s 67-year history in which the engine sits behind, not in front of, the driver. At the event, journalists commented to me that it looked like a Ferrari, to which I replied, “Is looking like a Ferrari a bad thing?!”

    Last month, I got the call: It was finally time to test-drive a pre-production version. When I slid behind the steering wheel, I entered a whole other world of aromatic leather, slick driver-centric controls and intuitive next-gen tech. I pushed the start button and the 6.2-liter V8’s 495 horses raucously screamed to life over my shoulder.
    The interior of the 2020 Corvette Stingray Coupe features an 8-inch touchscreen and a 10-speaker Bose sound system.
    (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
    I headed to test-drive heaven — California 1. Almost immediately I was laughing at all the G-forces I could easily conjure with the steering wheel and my right foot. I played with the paddle shifters like a pinball machine (in automatic mode, the eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission is far faster than me—or you—but where’s the fun in that?).
    The new Corvette’s rear-hatch window provides visibility and a look at the powerful 6.2-liter V8 engine.
    (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

    From Malibu’s twistiest canyons to heavy 101 traffic, the Stingray ticked all the boxes. Cornering: tenacious grip without body roll. Steering: light and responsive. Brakes: grabbier than a pickpocket. Off-the-line acceleration: near-psychedelic pull with a dash of wheelspin, even with traction control on. Acceleration at speed: Just about terrifying, if it didn’t feel so darn capable and well-sorted.

    I am not gushing. I’m merely reporting the delicious facts.
    Testing the Corvette’s zero-to-60 of 2.8 seconds.
    (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
    I am fortunate to have driven some of the best cars on the planet. So, when I say the new Vette exceeded my expectations, consider that a sizable understatement. And now perhaps the best news of all: The Corvette’s base price is $59,995. If you wanted to buy a midengine sports car with this level of capability from a European competitor, you’d have to spend five times as much, minimum.

    GM has been producing competent Corvettes since the 1950s — two-seaters long on under-the-hood oomph but short on the kind of snob appeal that Aston Martins, Porsches and the like command. For all the performance prowess over time, there has always been some defensiveness on the part of Vette owners, who often cite one of the model’s best stats — its dollar-to-horsepower ratio. Those numbers are indeed impressive, but sports cars are about sex appeal; not every buyer sees the desirability of a lower sticker price over, say, Italian sheet metal.
    There’s storage in front — and enough in back behind the engine to fit two full golf bags or the targa top.

    (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
    Ironically, Corvette’s spiritual father and first chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, was himself European — Belgian-born and a successful endurance sports car racer. Duntov joined GM in 1953 after seeing the first Corvette concept earlier that year in New York City (constructed, under the skin, largely out of GM truck parts, including Chevy’s “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine).

    From the beginning, Duntov dreamed of a midengine version of the Corvette, where the engine’s weight would help to balance the car’s handling and allow for a clear view over a short hood. He constantly lobbied GM’s top brass to bring such a forward-leaning configuration to market.

    But the costs and engineering required to shoehorn a powerful V8 engine into a small space without the benefit of a long hood were onerous. So were other technical challenges — cramped passenger space, little cargo room and no place to tuck a convertible roof, to name a few. Eventually, Duntov and his successors built several midengine concepts but never a production version.

    Fast-forward to today. According to Tadge Juechter, Corvette’s chief engineer, his team had finally reached the limit of how much performance they could squeeze out of the Corvette’s front-engine architecture. Also, it was clear the car’s loyal buyers were aging. Those factors, along with huge strides in areas like materials science and production capabilities, gave Juechter and his team the moment they had been waiting for.

    But would the car’s traditional owners feel abandoned? “On the marketing side, this was a huge endeavor. We did a heck of a lot of research,” says Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet cars and crossovers marketing. “Could we retain loyalists and also attract new buyers who appreciate the configuration but who don’t have the best perception of the Corvette brand?”

    Apparently, yes. “Die-hard Corvette fans didn’t believe that Chevy would really do it, but now that they’ve seen the car, no one is complaining,” says Mike Vietro, the founder of Corvette Mike, an Anaheim-based specialty sales, service and restoration shop that has been around for 38 years.

    Think about it: a $60,000 midengine V8, capable of a sub-three-second zero-to-60 time, with the looks of a European exotic and the reliability and affordability of an American-made car. Against the odds, Chevy has managed to achieve the best of both worlds.

    “The C8 demonstrates GM’s technical capability to run with the big boys in performance but at Chevy prices — one of the brand’s key philosophies,” says Don Runkle, former chief engineer for Chevrolet. “Another is a focus on racing. The new Vette epitomizes both.”

    To that point, the C8’s track version, the C8.R, will make its endurance racing debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 26. “With this new Corvette, there’s a direct linkage between the production-car and the racing programs,” says Majoros. “Working with the racing side is a great way to test new technologies that may find their way into production, and it’s also an internal training ground for engineering talent.”

    From the epic expense of motorsports to the relatively low-volume nature of a sports car, it’s a small miracle, really, that the Corvette has survived at all, even putting aside where its pumping heart resides. Given economic downturns, gas price fluctuations, priority on new and greener powertrains, and the killing off of entire GM brands such as Pontiac, Saturn and Oldsmobile, the car‘s endurance is testament indeed to its accomplishments and fan base.

    So thank you, Chevy, for finally doing what Duntov envisioned and for setting a new high-water mark for an irresistible, ultra-high-performance car that is also financially approachable as well as user-friendly. If that doesn’t have the Corvette’s far pricier competitors quaking, I’ll bet the sales numbers will. According to Chevy, already 45,000 consumers have preordered a car online; deliveries begin in February.

    2020 Chevrolet Stingray Coupe

    Price: $59,995; $83,825 as tested

    Engine: 6.2-liter V8

    Horsepower: 490; 495 as tested with optional Z51 performance package

    Torque: 465 lb.-ft. - 470 lb.-ft. as tested

    0 to 60: 3 seconds; 2.8 seconds as tested
    GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards. Separately getting from my dealer RCC Edge Red engine cover, 5JR vis CF mirror caps, and VJR illuminated sill plates.

    Lifetime, annual contributors, and 20+ year members of National Corvette Museum.

    Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

  • #2
    Thanks John. Another very positive review of the 2020 C8 Z51. Can't wait until they start shipping the customer cars.....
    2020 Torch Red 2LT Z51 FE4 - Status 3000 - Current TPW 3/30


    • #3
      A bit puffy but a nice fit for Chevy as a piece of marketing, I trust I'll be as effusive after my first drive


      • #4
        Grazie John and Skank...I liked "So thank you, Chevy, for finally doing what Duntov envisioned..."


        • #5
          Interesting that GM told them there were 45,000 preorders. I wonder how many of those are duplicates, i.e. people with reservations at two or more dealers? Still impressive though, that's gotta be all of the abbreviated 2020 production run even with two shifts ramping up.

          Thanks for the info!


          • #6
            I met some guys that are on 4 dealers list. People are interesting. Charlie aka cutnout


            • #7
              I am on two lists because I don't entirely trust my local dealer, who won't tell me where I stand on the pecking order or much anything else. Wish I had known about this site before I saw the original reveal in July!
              Ceramic Gray Metallic Z51 w/TT interior Spec Grey Wheels


              • #8
                For the LA Times to rave about the C8 is too good to be true.


                • #9
                  Thanks for sharing. Makes me even more excited about my first Corvette. My wife and I were discussing last night and I told her how fortunate I felt that my "season of life" - where I can purchase a Corvette guilt-free - coincides with the launch of the C8. Wow. I still can't wipe the smile off of my face!
                  Blade Silver Metallic, Z51, Convertible, 3LT.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MrBluster View Post
                    Wish I had known about this site before I saw the original reveal in July!
                    I wish I had known about the C8 being mid engine before the reveal. Then I'd have a tpw now and be driving it in the Spring. <sigh> Oh well, it will come soon enough.
                    Murray - Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
                    Torch red coupe, Adrenaline red 2LT Q8Q E60 NPP


                    • #11
                      For me it is way to good to be true...I never imagined I could get a mid engine Corvette for this kind of money.....


                      • #12
                        XCLNT !!
                        but isn't the last pic of that badboy rapid blue a 'Vert ?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LSECO View Post
                          XCLNT !!
                          but isn't the last pic of that badboy rapid blue a 'Vert ?
                          Not if we're looking at the same picture. The side profile? That's a coupe with the frunk and trunk open.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LSECO View Post
                            XCLNT !!
                            but isn't the last pic of that badboy rapid blue a 'Vert ?
                            The vert has a regular trunk in back, not a large hatch that exposes the engine and trunk.
                            SunKissed, my 2015 2LT, 7MT, Black over Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, Stingray convertible (One of about 40)

                            Purchased 5/2/2015,
                            >36,000 miles

                            Proud member of the Old Dominion Corvette Club. Check us out

                            Never grow up - It's a trap.


                            • #15
                              With California's car culture in most of the state, the LA Times has historically done puff piece automotive reviews, this time at least they hired Sue Callaway to do it, she's got automotive chops.

                              Sue Callaway has been an editor at Fortune, Esquire, and Men's Journal. She has also served as general manager of Jaguar Cars U.S. and as director of marketing for Ford's luxury brands. She lives in Laguna Beach, California, with her husband and two children.