The Chevrolet Corvette has always been an icon, and it has gone through many transformations over the years. When the C4 Corvette debuted for the 1984 model year, it was supposed to be one of the top sports cars in the world. It was not. The C5 and C6 generations made improvements and there was always tons of power, but it never had the “connected” feel that a good driver desires. Things got more serious with the C7, and it was a big step forward. It was finally decided that, to move to the next level, it was time for a midengine Corvette. The rest of the world should be worried because the Corvette is finally a world-class sports car, and best of all, it costs a lot less than the competition.
Listening to the engineers discuss what they did is impressive. Perhaps one of the best things about the Corvette is the fantastic engineering that most owners will never know about. Some of the popular German brands have horrible engineering that they keep repeating over and over, year after year. At GM, they redesigned everything, and the engineers should be proud of their accomplishments.
“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.”
There are so many improvements that we just don’t have the space for, but let’s talk about the more significant ones that we immediately felt. For starters, the cockpit has been moved forward 16.5 inches. Since there is no engine up front, the hood is very short and low and that means great visibility to the front. It is very easy to place the front tires exactly where the driver wants, and that is critical to being able to go fast.
One of the main goals was to have a stiff chassis, and the new car is greatly improved. It delivers a solid and connected feel with a strong, stiff and lightweight main structure of six high-pressure diecast aluminum parts, also known as the Bedford Six, which are manufactured at GM Powertrain in Bedford, Ind. These minimize the number of joints within the vehicle, making a stiffer structure that aids in handling and cornering.
With a quicker steering ratio, from 16.25:1 to 15.7:1, the squarish steering wheel provides instant response. For the first time in history, the steering on a Corvette provides good feedback, which helps give the driver confidence when attacking corners. The low center of gravity and sticky 245/35R19 front and 305/30R20 rear summer tires — with the Z51 package — provide great traction. Stability control is there to catch you if you make a mistake, but the limits are so high that you might never need it.
In the back, the engine is a 6.2 liter OHV LT2 V8 that puts out 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque when equipped with the performance exhaust option. The engine pulls like a freight train and has enough power to get you in trouble. The lubrication system has been engineered to withstand high-load cornering without any issues, and for the first time ever, the base Corvette comes standard with a dry-sump system.
The new Corvette can do zero to 60 in about 2.8 seconds and the quarter mile is reached in only 11.2 seconds. There are plenty of expensive cars that can match those numbers, but the Corvette is the only car under 500 horsepower that we know of that can achieve that. It is also one of the few rear-wheel drive cars that can achieve those numbers. The secret is the amazing traction at launch without any launch-control system. The rear tires spin briefly and then bite and go. Try doing that in a two-wheel-drive BMW M5 or Mustang, or Challenger, and you just spin the tires, since those cars lack the mechanical grip of the Corvette.
The Corvette also is practical, with two large trunks that can easily accommodate luggage for a weekend trip. Room inside is tight and is just enough for two people, and the huge center console eats up a lot of space. In addition to being practical, it also gets great fuel economy with an EPA rating of 27 mpg on the freeway.
The Corvette is an amazing accomplishment. It is a well-engineered sports car that can run with the best, and it’s a bargain with its starting price of $60,000. There are a few options that most enthusiasts will want, such as the Z51 suspension, magnetic shocks, 2LT luxury package, etc. So figure on $75,000 to $80,000 for a good example.
|Engine:||6.2-liter OHV V8 with VVT|
|Horsepower:||495 @ 6,450 rpm (with performance exhaust)|
|Torque:||470 @ 5,150 rpm (with performance exhaust)|
|Front Suspension:||Short/long arm double wishbone|
|Rear Suspension:||Short/long arm double wishbone|
|Transmission:||M1L eight-speed dual clutch|
|Curb Weight:||3,366 lbs.|