2024 Corvette E-Ray First Drive: Unstressed express

Eddy Eckart

Standing alongside the bright blue CERV III concept—a 650-horse, mid-engined, all-wheel-drive Corvette concept from 1990—Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter sought to explain the new E-Ray in a historical context. We were in Denver, at the first-drive event for Chevrolet’s first production all-wheel-drive Vette, the first to have an electric drive motor.

Juechter reminded us, too, that Corvette dabbled in powering all four wheels with the CERV II concept, completed by Corvette legend Zora Arkus-Duntov in 1964. Then, as now, additional technologies like all-wheel drive were added to amplify performance. In the 2024 Corvette E-Ray, Juechter noted, electrification is a means to that end.

“This is a performance hybrid, and the result of what sports car maniacs do when they get ahold of this technology,” he said. “We knew we were going to do an all-wheel-drive car when we committed to a mid-engine platform, so we studied options for mechanical or electric drive for the front wheels. The outcome wasn’t even close.”

In interviews on site, other members of the Corvette team confirmed that the E-Ray’s V-8-in-back/electric-motor-up-front layout was optimal for packaging, for keeping parasitic drivetrain losses at bay, and for overall performance. Knowing that powering four wheels inevitably adds heft, they stressed their efforts to trim weight wherever they could. The electric front drivetrain components (all of which are built in-house), along with changes to the front shock towers to accommodate the axles, add about 265 pounds over the Z06. (You can take a deep dive into more technical aspects of the E-Ray here.)

Specs: 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray

Price: $104,900 (Price as tested: $130,905)
Powertrain: 6.2-liter V-8, permanent magnet motor with 1.9-kWh lithium-ion battery; 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Horsepower: 655 combined (495 gas/160 electric)
Torque: 595 lb-ft combined (470 gas/125 electric)
Layout: all-wheel-drive, two-door, two-passenger coupe
EPA-rated fuel economy: 16 city, 24 highway, 19 combined
0–60 mph: 2.5 sec
Competitors: Porsche 911, Mercedes-AMG GT

Though the E-Ray is a hybrid, it is not a plug-in. As such, its small battery does not permit much pure-electric drive range—four miles, tops. Its purpose is to enable a more versatile all-weather, all-season Corvette with a very approachable 655 total system horsepower, 160 of which electrically powers the front wheels. It also launches like no other production Corvette in history. Zero-to-sixty comes in 2.5 seconds, a tenth quicker than the Z06 and four-tenths quicker than the Z51 Stingray.

Drag-race prowess aside, the E-Ray is positioned as a high-tech grand-touring option in an expanding Corvette lineup designed to meet a broader array of buyers. Think Z06 pace, absent the edgy, track-focused chassis tuning and the LT6 engine’s flat-plane-crank wail.

We were handed the keys to a Sea Wolf Gray Tricoat Corvette E-Ray—a new color for 2024—and encouraged to disappear into Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. At $130,905, this top-trim 3LZ example came packed with $9880 worth of aesthetic bits, including carbon-fiber accents inside and out, a red engine cover, and black exhaust tips. Other add-ons: the popular Front Lift (a $2595 option that is certainly cheaper than front bumper repairs) and the $500 Performance Package (larger rear wickers and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires). To demonstrate just how capable the E-Ray was on the base tire, however, our tester was re-fitted with Pilot Sport all-seasons.

The first thing you notice when you walk up to the E-Ray is the absence of black accents. All of the car’s body panels are shared with the Z06, but the front fascia and the strakes along the enormous side intakes are instead painted to match the color of the body. The handsome, thin five-spoke wheels look like they came out of a Ferrari catalog, more sports car style than motorsport-butch. Even in flashy look-at-me colors, the E-Ray gives off an air of restraint when compared with the more manic Z06.

Inside, as has been the case since the inception of the C8, you can order your interior as ostentatious or as toned-down as you like. The E-Ray’s interior is the same as the others in the lineup, though a new color—Artemis, a soft green-gray hue—has been added. Our car’s Natural tan coverings, accompanied by a wash of carbon accents, felt in line with the car’s price point and near-luxury comfort pretenses.

2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray interior high angle

We opted to start our journey in Stealth mode. It’s the E-Ray’s pure-electric function, intended for leaving your neighborhood without angering the Joneses next door. Novel silence and a slight hum filled the cabin as I poked the start button. That’s about all Stealth mode provides, however. Air conditioning is not available in this mode, as the 1.9-kWh lithium-ion battery doesn’t pack enough punch. Once you reach the limits of the battery (either by mileage, by exceeding 45 mph, or by using more than 30 percent throttle) the 495-horse 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 kicks on, and the only way to return to Stealth mode is to shut off the car and restart it. All this is to say, the E-Ray is not an electric sports car in the sense some people might expect. The electrification supplements, deepens, and alters the scope of Corvette performance and the environments in which it is usable; in this context, Stealth mode is best thought of more as a handy add-on than a prominent feature.

It didn’t take long for us to appreciate the E-Ray’s grand touring recipe. Eighth-generation Corvettes have been competent cruisers since day one, and even the Z06 isn’t too jarring for long journeys. The E-Ray, though, takes that a step further. Bolstered by its electric motor, there’s a dissonance between the E-Ray’s unburdened, almost relaxed V-8 sounds and the immense pace the car so effortlessly carries. It’s a wholly different personality than the Z06’s urgent, ever-thrumming sound and sharp-edged handling.

2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray high angle action

Because of that, during the early part of our road drive, we found ourselves wondering whether the E-Ray was too docile and buttoned down for something of its looks and capabilities. As our route began to bend through the mountains west of Denver and we pushed the car harder, the E-Ray began to hint at its potential, but always with an unflappable, “I got this” demeanor.

Effortless power delivery and a stratospheric performance envelope constitute the E-Ray’s personality. Torque arrives early and linearly to all four wheels, backed up by Michelin all-seasons (345-section in the rear, the largest such tires offered on a street car) that offer far more grip than can be safely used on the street. The pull from the front axle—a feeling that takes some getting used to in a Corvette—builds trust that the front end will actively guide the car’s trajectory as you exit corners on throttle. The uniquely tuned Magnetic Ride Control suspension, softer than the Z06’s, keeps the chassis poised and unperturbed by imperfections. There’s very little theater associated with carrying speed in this car, and never a moment on the street when the E-Ray feels like it will run out of give.

That said, the E-Ray is still fun. It’s still a C8 Corvette, which means it delivers all of the brilliant chassis feedback we’ve come to expect from recent General Motors performance vehicles, including the Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwings. Even the steering, now forced to accommodate the additional mechanical components and thrust of all-wheel drive, conveys a clear sense of what the front end is up to.

We did, however, encounter a foible unfamiliar to the Corvette faithful: torque steer. Heading into a valley, while on throttle and driving over changing camber on a low-grip surface, the wheel pulled left in a quick instant. Over our hours of street and track driving in the E-Ray, this jitter only occurred with one perfect confluence of circumstances. But it served as a salient reminder: the E-Ray is a different kind of Corvette.

How different? These same all-wheel-drive dynamics put to rest any concerns about the E-Ray’s personality at the rough-surfaced Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR). With enough room to fully stretch its legs, the E-Ray’s relaxed confidence on the street translated to approachability on track.

“The stability that’s built into the car is a little bit on purpose, and a little bit comes for free,” explained vehicle dynamics engineer Stephen Padilla. “Given the broader mission envelope of the E-Ray, we set up the suspension to yield a Corvette that’s easier to quickly get comfortable with compared to the Z06. And the fundamentals of an all-wheel-drive platform are inherently going to contribute to that goal.”

Effectively applying 655 horses to road course pavement is rarely this easy. Despite the gritty surface, the E-Ray (equipped with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires for the track session) launches without fuss, hurtling past triple digits in seconds.

PPIR’s road-course-oval configuration contains several pavement transitions that require vigilance at speed, but the E-Ray traversed them with confidence. As we modulated the standard carbon-ceramic brakes with the ever-firm pedal, the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission grabbed the proper downshift every time, without hesitation.

Corvette E-Ray track action blue
Eddy Eckart

While you’ve got your eyes up in the brake zone in preparation to crank the wheel at corner entry, the E-Ray’s regenerative braking charges the battery. Optimized for continuous discharge and recharge, the battery is capable of several laps at full capability around this one-minute circuit. The system is always active and never fully discharges. When the battery is low, the motor will adjust its protocol and contribute primarily during on-throttle cornering to maintain consistent handling dynamics. The Charge+ mode more actively uses the electric motor as a generator to replenish the battery.

Corvette E-Ray interior
The E-Ray’s batteries are situated in the center tunnel and are liquid-to-air cooled via a radiator at the front of the car. Eddy Eckart

Unless you’re trail braking, the E-Ray gives a faint brush of turn-in understeer at the limit. Remember—this is the kinder, gentler high-horsepower Corvette. Your fastest pace requires getting the car pointed to corner exit as soon as possible, and then stomping on the throttle; from corner apex to the edge of the track is where the E-Ray’s all-wheel drive and brutal thrust shine. Its chassis is not knife-edge precise like the Z06—nor is it supposed to be—but the E-Ray will lay down a seriously fast lap without unsettling drivers with less experience or suboptimal car control.

Unfortunately, our track time was cut short by a warning notification from the Performance Traction Management system (GM’s driver aid featuring adjustable traction and stability control, commonly called PTM). The other two drivers on track with us suffered the same fault. GM has since told us it was the result of a preproduction bug that has since been worked out of the system. The E-Ray is the first car in which PTM—renowned for its scalability and non-intrusiveness—has been used in an all-wheel drive configuration. In this application the system has the benefit of an additional front axle to dial inputs, but that sword cuts the other way in the form of added complexity.

Corvette E-Ray track action blue tire smoke
Eddy Eckart

To stress the E-Ray’s agility and capacity to misbehave with the best of its rear-wheel-drive Corvette siblings, Chevy offered up an autocross course with a drift circle. All-wheel-drive calibration engineer Jason Fahland shared a bit of guidance as we sat between the start cones: “The E-Ray takes less countersteer input than you would need in a rear-wheel-drive car. If you keep more steering lock in it,” he added, “it’s going to keep that side slip going.”

Corvette E-Ray pad action yellow
Eddy Eckart

The big-fendered E-Ray scythed through the cones better than you might expect, pulling toward apexes with the nose under measured throttle and happily rotating the rear at full tilt. Breaking the rear end loose on the drift circle came like this: Initiate the turn, find the lateral limit, and then stab the throttle. Holding the drift proved a more delicate balance between just the right throttle inputs and, as Fahland said, less countersteer than we’re accustomed to. With another session to practice (and perhaps another set of tires, since we threw a cord in a cloud of tire smoke on our second trip around the circle), we’d have cracked the code. Not all the journos present could get the car sideways, though, and some complained of understeer. At the end of the day, the E-Ray will flatter most drivers.

Corvette E-Ray track action red
Eddy Eckart

That the all-wheel-drive E-Ray can enthusiastically drift, turn a lap time within a breath of a Z06, and then cruise along quietly while coddling its occupants is a testament to the technology and tuning behind it. Difficult as it is for yours truly—an adamant track rat—to admit, not everyone who wants a Corvette can live with the Z06’s high-intensity, feverish personality. Still, most wouldn’t mind similar pace, and the E-Ray provides it with a bit less amygdala tickle.

Over its seven-decade run, the Corvette has meant a lot of different things to a lot of people: Road course terror. Summertime companion. Quarter-mile monster. But it’s always been an American innovator. The E-Ray is all of those. Now, Chevy would argue, it’s also an all-weather cruiser. Through that lens, the groundbreaking E-Ray needs little explanation.

2024 Corvette E-Ray

Highs: A high threshold that isn’t hard to reach; monstrous launch; pace on the street feels effortless.

Lows: Light on personality at lower speed; preproduction tech hiccups limited our seat time; price tag for the top trim is no joke.

Takeaway: An all-American, grand touring, modern marvel.




Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it. To get our best stories delivered right to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters.

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: More than just a face-lifted Mustang: The early Cougar market isn’t easily defined


    Just another “TOY” for the very weathly. The can tell their friends “I HAVE ONE AND YOU DON’T”. Just another “GARAGE QUEEN”.

    Actually, if there weren’t going to be ADMs on this, one doesn’t really need to be *that* wealthy to afford this car. And, in true Corvette fashion, it surely delivers more punch for the dollar than other exotic cars in this performance group. This spoken not by a Corvette fanboy, but by someone who owns a competing car.

    @John- “Their” friends will probably have one. If you look up “Aspirational” there will probably be an image of a Corvette. Having a goal or a dream makes life worth living.

    I guess time has truly passed me by. I don’t want one. I’d like to see one up close, just out of curiosity. I’ll keep my old Miata and enjoy the drive knowing what’s under the hood and what makes it tick. Happy motoring to those who buy one of these marvels, just not my cup of tea.

    I have noticed the level of Corvette hate ramping up. Seems a lot like hating the NE Patriots during the Tom Brady glory days. Very childish and petty.

    Yippee Kay Yay! I can’t wait to plop down $70K ADM to sit in line waiting for this to show up at my “friendly” GM dealer. By the time the dealer is done working me over, oops, I mean “helping me order” my dream car it should be north of $200K! Then, when I get it home I will park it in the garage and wax it and talk to it, but I will NEVER drive it. Especially if it is RAINING OUTSIDE. I will however inform EVERYONE within a 20 mile radius that I OWN A CORVETTE with the ZL1/SS/RS/RPO/COPO/ZR1/Z74 option package!!!

    I work in an area with many REALLY high-dollar toys (Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren) and these people drive their cars. Perhaps they don’t explore their car’s capabilities, but they drive them. I see no reason the same would not apply to an eRay.
    Every marque has its garage queens and poser owners, but the Corvette owners I know like to drive their cars.

    Jealous haters gonna hate. Just because some owners won’t drive them, doesn’t mean all won’t.
    And those first owners that don’t drive them will take the depreciation hit for me so I can buy one second hand for a lot less and have a basically new car. I did they same thing with the 2008 Pontiac Solstice I daily drive today. The first three owners put around 3,000 miles per year on it. I’ve put 13,000 on it in the past 2 years.

    Same here. Maseratis seem to be very popular around here, there are a couple of Ferraris, and at least one Bentley. One guy up the street from me has a Maserati, a Porsche, and a Mercedes SL that are kept outside and are regularly driven. I saw my first mid-engined Corvette go by my house while most posters here were still complaining that they couldn’t get one yet.

    Of course, it’s still unusual to see a Maserati in the parking lot of a grocery store, but it happens.

    You people have, obviously, never dealt with Hendrick Chevy. I have bought multiple Vettes, currently a C8 Z51, and many Duramax trucks, and Toyotas. They have NEVER had any kind of been “worked over”. The C8 is the best car ever made in America, and I bought it for sticker, and they gave me close to what I paid for the C7 in trade.

    You are correct!
    Only made the mistake of buying one Chevy in my entire life.
    ’96 4.3L Blazer…..a steaming POS!
    Government Motors took our taxpayer bailout $$$ and now charges crazy cash to feeble old Joe Biden types for an ‘awesome’ C8.

    Yep!! Exactly! Too many gadgets that aren’t needed & will probably break prematurely. You can buy the regular Vette a lot cheaper & have just as much fun!

    True! I could VERY EASILY take that asking price for this NEW “toy” and put it INSTEAD………towards about 10 Superbikes,which ALL could easily OUTRUN said model,and STILL leave change in my pocket,but giving me the Excitement,thrill,adrenaline rush 10-FOLD that a 4-wheel sportscar EVER COULD! Lol. Peace.

    Bravo on your comment! I’m close behind at age 70 and my ’66 provides all the satisfaction I could want from a Corvette.

    Thank you, people who buy new Corvettes and never drive them. I bought a brand new 2004 C5 convertible on Memorial Day 2023 (May 27,2023) white with torch red leather. It was never driven in the rain. It never had anything in the trunk. There wasn’t a mark on it. It still had the original Goodyear run flats. On July 5th I drove it 950 miles one-way to Kissimmee Florida for Mecum auction summer special. On July 21, I drove it 800 miles round trip to Buffalo, NY, to my sister in laws wedding. Of course I had new tires and alignment on it within days of purchase. All fluids exchanged. I use it for my daily driver. I’ve put 6,255 miles on it since purchased. It runs, looks, drives, and smells new. And all for much less than 1/2 of the original purchase price. It was in the show field at Corvettes at Carlisle. So I say buy those expensive Corvettes and brag about them. Just don’t get fart stains on the seat, please!

    Not a Corvette, but I bought a “used” 2019 Miata GT last January. I say “used” because it had just over 4000 miles on it: barely broken in, very pristine. Probably only driven on sunny 75-degree days. I’ve added another 7000 since then.

    It’s stupid fast, handles well, is comfortable, looks great and is built here. We should be be jumping for joy rather than yelling at the clouds.

    Because they can only get 4 miles on one motor. Another motor and a couple batteries where the engine used to be. They could probably get it up 10 miles.

    What the enthusiastic EV car sales people never seem to address is how much heavier full-EV cars are than ICE cars. With all that additional mass, it’s just not possible that such EVs can corner or brake nearly as well as more conventional vehicles. Oh, they’re brilliant at putting power down, with all the torque from their motors; all very well if it’s meant to be a dragster rather than a sports car. To combine all that power with acceptable range from lithium ion batteries would probably be like carrying a Honda Fit around in a Corvette.

    Based on the average age of Corvette owners, and Joe Biden is a prime example, Chevy should incorporate a defibrillator machine and connect it to the E-Ray’s battery.
    It’ll definitely come in handy when the Chevy stealership drops the MSRP + ADM price on the old geezers.

    The average age of a C7 buyer was 61. The average age of C8 buyers is trending lower, with sales to Gen X doubling.

    I like the body color trim a lot better than all the black (usually with black wheels) that seems to be the trim on all cars these days. I’m not a ‘murdered out’ kinda guy. Those e-rays all look good. Body color trim evens out some of the odd surfaces on the Vette that are accentuated with the black trims.

    I don’t think a hybrid version would be for me. It’s like it is trying to run with a leg on each side of the fence. It wants the benefits of an electric, but keep the performance of an ICE. As the all electric systems become more advanced, with off-the-line performance AND range, I would be more interested.

    The fact Corvette engineers did an excellent job with the E-Ray bodes well for the all-electric C9 due soon!

    I keep waiting for the C8 styling to grow on me … but I’m still waiting. The E-Ray performance enhancements are great, but how about spending a little of the development budget to clean up the overwrought exterior?

    I’ve felt that way about every Vette since the C5 came out.

    Outstanding cars but the styling never gave me the tingles like the C1-C4.

    I agree. I followed one for a couple miles today, and man, that rear end has a lot going on. Over styled, like the front end of every new truck.

    I like the idea of it. For what it is it appears to be a great car. However $100k+ and then the typical Chevy stealership experience is going to turn this into a nightmare to get or deal with. It’s more than I want to spend but I applaud that that it is not a plug-in hybrid. It’s enough to enhance it’s capabilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *