Is the Chevy Corvette a Supercar? It Depends on the Generation
Chevrolet’s Plastic Fantastic has found itself lumped into many categories over the years: sports car, roadster, performance car, and the most controversial of all, supercar. Still, is the venerable Chevy Corvette a real supercar? It might boil down to the Chevy model’s generations, like the lazy C3 and razor-sharp, midengine C8 Corvette Z06.
What is a supercar?
The term supercar is as vague as a millennial’s use of multi-hyphenates to describe themselves on social media. Still, a few criteria are present in nearly every definition of the term: speed, power, and flashiness.
However, specificity changes which vehicles fit the bill, like in the case of the Chevy Corvette. For instance, one Jalopnik evaluation asserts that a supercar has to be three of the four following qualities:
- More than 500 horsepower
- Midengine layout
- No more than two seats
- It has to be rare and exclusive (with an arbitrary 5,000-model cap)
Still, in other definitions, a supercar is simply “a high-performance sports car,” per New York Magazine. Depending on the definition, the Chevy Corvette checks the boxes and earns the title– with a catch.
Are all Chevy Corvettes supercars?
No, not all Chevy Corvettes are supercars. The Bow Tie launched the first-generation Corvette as America’s first true roadster sports car to take on the likes of the Austin Healeys of the day. Moreover, with inline-six power at the beginning, the first-generation models weren’t up to the task.
Still, Bowling Green’s performance car got sharper and faster over the ages, save for the unfortunate impact of the Malaise era on some C3 models. Today, however, the midengine C8 Chevy Corvette doesn’t just compete with established supercars; it qualifies for the title.
Are newer Corvettes worthy of the supercar moniker?
Applying Jalopnik’s criteria, a C8 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is on the bleeding edge of being a supercar; it is midengine, has two seats, and at 495 horsepower, it’s near-as-makes-no-difference a 500-horsepower supercar.
Of course, Chevrolet’s Bowling Green facility produces more than 5,000 Chevy Corvette Stingrays annually. In 2020, the factory rolled out around 20,368 units. However, under the same conditions, the Ferrari 458 Italia’s 15,000 units disqualify it from hitting all four criteria, and that’s just silly.
Still, only the C8-generation Stingray arguably qualifies; the C7 Stingray’s front engine layout is a razor-sharp sports car but misses the supercar title. However, the much more exclusive and swivel-eyed C7 ZR1 shatters the 500-horsepower rule with 755 ponies, packs two seats, and Chevy produced just 2,441 coupes in 2019, per CorvSport.
Is the new Z06 a supercar?
Beyond the base Stingray, the Z06 and the new hybrid E-Ray are unequivocally supercars. Moreover, the C8 Chevy Corvette Z06’s 670-horsepower flat plane 5.5L V8 belts like something from Ferrari’s operatic section. Additionally, with a 2.6-second sprint to 60 mph and a 10.5-second quarter mile, the Z06 is supercar fast.