For the first time in Corvette history, America’s sports car is available as a hardtop convertible, as Chevrolet has finally revealed its drop-top mid-engine marvel.
The new Stingray convertible trades the streamlined look on the standard targa-top coupe for a tonneau cover that includes a pair of nacelles, one behind each front seat. The nacelles are an homage to the Corvette SS and SR2 concepts that each wore a single nacelle behind the driver, as well as the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicles that were the genesis of the mid-engine Corvette.
Just like the C7, every C8 was designed with a removable roof in mind, so the same rigid aluminum chassis with its deep center tunnel structure is used in both the targa-topped coupe and the convertible, promising equally exciting driving dynamics across the Stingray lineup.
At least in profile, the 2020 Stingray convertible shares much of its top-up looks with the Stingray coupe. In fact, when equipped with the same spoiler used on the Z51 Stingray coupe, the convertible with the top up has identical aerodynamic drag.
Two Sheet Molded Composite (SMC) panels make up the exterior bodywork of the convertible top. (It’s the same lightweight material used in the rest of the Corvette’s body.) Metal framework and six electric motors are programmed to choreograph raising the tonneau, folding and stowing the top, and capping the nacelles. Some of the added weight of the top and its components was balanced by losing the rear hatch glass that serves as a window into the coupe’s V-8 powerplant. The result is a curb weight just 77 pounds higher than the coupe.
The same 495-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 from the Stingray coupe is used in the Stingray convertible, but in drop-top form the engine is hidden under a heat shield, even when operating the top. With the coupe’s hatch and its built-in cooling vents gone, Corvette designers and engineers needed to ensure the tonneau could dissipating some of the engine bay heat. It has exhaust vents that remind us a bit of the Camaro ZL1’s hood. This is not a bad thing.
The top goes up or down in 16 seconds and at speeds up to 30 mph. The switch for dropping the top and the rear window are both located on the driver-side door, just aft of the two rocker switches that control the windows. It actually looks quite like the four window switches you’d find in a four-door sedan.
The rear window can lower independently, allowing drivers to custom tailor the airflow through the cabin (ad better to hear the roar of the LT2 with, my dear). Like the targa-top Stingray, the Stingray convertible will maintain its large rear trunk sizable enough for a pair of golf bags. The frunk ahead of the driver remains and can hold a carry-on size bag along with a laptop bag.
Just as the 2020 Stingray shocked us with all with its low price tag, the 2020 Stingray convertible comes in at a startlingly affordable $67,495 (not including destination fee). Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles reminded us that the next mid-engine V-8 convertible up the food chain is the $200,000 McLaren 570S Spider. That’s company that Corvette would love to keep.
Chevrolet didn’t release performance figures, but with minimal weight gain and a specially tuned chassis, the 2020 Stingray Convertible promises to return numbers that are comparable to the coupe, including 0-60 in about three seconds. With the wind in your face, it’s hard to imagine you’ll mind the extra tenth or two on your way to traffic court if you’re caught tearing it up by the local constabulary.
The 2020 Stingray convertible will be available in the first quarter of 2020. Until then, Chevrolet’s 2020 Stingray configurator is up, and you can digitally put the top up and down as much as you’d like in the meantime.