There’s only a week between us and the long-awaited advent of the Corvette C8.
We’ve strained our eyes over spy photos and teaser videos, imagined the dozens of digital renders rolling into our driveways, and gasped as the mid-engine rumors morphed into reality.
In a week, the truth will set us free. At the very least, the car’s July 18th reveal will satiate our curiosity. Those of us not waiting in line for one will still be glued to our screens for the July 18th livestream.
Chevrolet has confirmed the C8 will be available in 12 different colors, as revealed by a shipment of “keepsake coins.” Rumor is that the C8 color palette includes a royal blue reminiscent of the 1990 Corvette CERV III concept.
As revealed in a leaked shot of the C8’s rear end, the C7’s round-tipped center quad exhaust migrates to two sets of square dual tips positioned at each corner of the rear bumper. The logo adorning the hood of this eighth-gen Corvette will continue its upward journey from the days of the C4’s horizontal flag arrangement, squeezing itself into an increasingly narrow angle. Walking around the back of the new ’Vette, you’ll be able to peer into the rear hatch and—for the first time—glimpse the small-block V-8. Of course, that controversial placement means less space behind the driver’s seat than in every previous Corvette. So stroll to the front (or to the rear) and pop open one of the two trunks represented on this C8 keyfob.
For the base car, the ’Vette’s small-block V-8 ain’t goin’ nowhere. Later on, though, higher-output iterations of the C8 may utilize twin turbos and electric motors to deliver the first-ever hybrid Corvette. We expect the higher-tier hybrid offerings to bristle with around 1000 hp, with the base naturally-aspirated LT2 rated at roughly 600 hp while displacing the same 6.2 liters as the current LT1 in the C7.
Along with a space-saving dry-sump configuration for the engine, the C8’s will employ a dual-clutch transaxle for further packaging efficiency. Chevrolet was issued a patent especially for this transmission configuration, which will be controlled by shift paddles.
Contrary to what we initially thought, contributor Don Sherman reported earlier this spring that leaked CAD drawings indicate that the C7’s fiberglass transverse-leaf rear suspension will not continue to the C8.
Though its design evolves from the C7’s, the C8 will sport aero specifically appropriate to its mid-engine design—most notably, those giant vents slashing through the rear fenders of the test mules we’ve seen. A recently-issued patent for an “active hybrid spoiler” may be mounted on the roof, and it’s possible this exciting type of aero feature could adorn the highest-tier C8. Given we’re likely only going to see the base C8 this month at the public reveal (higher-performing variants will surely follow), we expect some open questions will remain when it comes to the car’s full aerodynamic capabilities.
Don’t be surprised if the C8 drags behind it a price tag five or ten grand heavier than its front-engined predecessor. The hotly-debated decision to switch to a mid-engine layout reflects that the ambition for higher performance outweighs the arguments for tradition, which could result in an elevated price point for this new kind of ‘Vette. The current C7 Stingray coupe starts at $56,995 including destination fees, and we project the C8 could command as much as $70,000 when it finally hits showrooms.
Back in 2018, previous Corvette chief engineer Dave McLellan told Don Sherman that he saw upcoming hybrid versions of the C8 as “GM’s version of a Porsche 918 Spyder,” arguing that “Chevrolet needs to show potential buyers what it’s capable of delivering with a potent V-8, a hybrid-electric powertrain, and all-wheel drive.”
McLellan said he’s well aware that the market for mid-engine cars is well populated, and wants the price point of the C8 to draw attention to the newest ’Vette as a major mid-engine player.
More than 40 years after Zora Arkus-Duntov left his successors to fulfill his dream of a mid-engine Corvette, the car is finally on the cusp of becoming reality. Both the C8’s internal GM code name (ZERV—a Zora-themed play on the prior CERV concepts) and camouflage give a nod to him.
There’s no question the C8 marks a new chapter in the story of America’s sports car. With the new mid-engine layout, the Corvette will go up against European rivals, and we’ll be right there watching as the rivalries play out on the street and on the track.