MID-ENGINE, HIGH EXPECTATIONS
Written by Andre James
Photos courtesy of Chevrolet
Explaining that the traditional front-engine configuration had reached its performance limits, GM President Mark Ruess, said that the iconic Corvette was due for a new layout. “In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history.”
In addition to adding a futuristic dimension to the classic corvette silhouette, the mid-engine layout provides for better weight distribution, as well as improved responsiveness credited to driver positioning closer to the front axle. The new Corvette also boasts excellent forward sight-lines, due to a lower positioning of the hood, instrument panel, and steering wheel. “As America’s most iconic performance nameplate, redesigning the Corvette Stingray from the ground up presented the team a historic opportunity, something Chevrolet designers have desired for over 60 years,” said Michael Simcoe, vice president of Global Design, General Motors.
Like a gem on display in a glass case, the 6.2L Small Block V-8 LT2 engine— the only naturally aspirated V-8 in the segment —is visible through the large rear hatch window. Every one of the engine components, all the way down to the bolts, were built with aesthetics in mind. Seven air vents accentuate this focal point.
The V-8 LT2 engine produces 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque when equipped with performance exhaust — the most horsepower and torque of any entry-level Corvette. When equipped with the Z51 Performance Package, it has the fastest 0-60 time of any Corvette ever.
This power, paired with Chevrolet’s first eight-speed dual clutch transmission, translates to lightning-fast shifts and excellent power transfer. While a manual transmission option was left out of the redesign, paddle shifters allow drivers to choose a specific gear. “The performance shift algorithms are so driver-focused, they can sense when you’re doing spirited driving — regardless of driving mode — and will hold lower gears longer for more throttle response,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette executive chief engineer.
In addition to the familiar Weather, Tour, Sport, and Track driver mode choices, two new modes have been added. MyMode is a configurable setting for a preferred driving style that can remain between key cycles. Z mode, which is activated through a “Z” button on the steering wheel, is a single-use mode that takes MyMode configurations one step further, allowing drivers to adjust the engine and transmission.
With an exterior design that draws cues from modern fighter jets and Formula One racing, the canopy-forward stance boasts a commanding presence with aggressive front fenders, low profile headlamps and uninterrupted body contour lines courtesy of completely hidden door, hood and hatch releases. Dual trunks offer a combined 12.6 cubic feet of storage space.
Inside the aeronautic-inspired cockpit, a new squared-off, two-spoke heated steering wheel enables an unobscured view of the 12-inch reconfigurable cluster display. Interior accoutrements encompass hand-wrapped leather components with thick-press stitching; a generous use of metal, including stainless steel speaker grilles with Bose Performance Series audio system; a choice of aluminum or carbon fiber for console and door trim plates; Corvette’s next-generation infotainment system; and, an industry-pioneering Performance Data Recorder, an advanced driving analysis tool.
Options for customization abound, from paint colors to performance. Fancy an Accelerate Yellow body and Adrenaline Red cabin? You can have it by choosing from twelve exterior colors and six interior color themes, in addition to six seat belt colors and two optional stitch packages. A trio of seat options range from the GT1, which emphasizes comfort, to the Competition Sport, which is designed for the track-focused driver.
Scheduled to go into production at GM’s Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly plant in late 2019, the 2020 Stingray will start at under $60,000 chevy.com/nextgencorvette