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The 2020 Chevy Corvette looks a bit like a Ferrari from certain angels with its mid-engine layout. General Motors (GM) has succeeded in morphing America’s quintessential sports car into a bonafide supercar; it also achieved this even in base spec form.

The Corvette C8 can reach 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and smoke the quarter-mile in only the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds. CNET claims this makes it the fastest Corvette in history. The best thing about it is that you can buy this spectacular vehicle — a modern-day American cousin of the Ferrari 458 — for less than $60,000.

The mid-engine layout necessitated significant design changes

A 2020 Chevy Corvette on display at an auto show
A 2020 Chevrolet Corvette on display | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

While the 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 has retained some of the C7’s design elements, GM completely overhauled its exterior. By adopting the mid-engine layout, it became necessary to focus more on aerodynamics and cooling. Much like the Ferrari and other mid-engine sports cars, it has a small trunk at the rear and a larger trunk at the front.

Both storage spaces provide a total of 13 cubic feet of cargo space which is two cubic feet less than the C7 model. However, this allowed the C8’s passenger cell to be moved forward 16.5 inches to accommodate the mid-engine design.

As a result, GM designed a more driver-centric cockpit, using a hexagonal steering wheel and mounting numerous controls on the center console. In addition to that, the 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 is offered in both right-hand and left-hand driving configurations.

The instrument cluster has been replaced by a 12-inch digital screen that reflects one of six driving modes selected by the driver. This is accompanied by an 8-inch touchscreen. GM pays homage to the Z06, ZR1, and Z51 by including a distinctive “Z” button that is mounted on the steering wheel.

This allows the driver to quickly and efficiently activate their customized performance settings. C8 models equipped with magnetorheological shock absorbers will feature adjustable suspension settings.

The 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 has a notable cooling system

By adopting the mid-engine layout, GM had to focus on aerodynamics and cooling. This meant adding large side scoops toward the rear wheel well, as well as smaller vents located below the taillights. Behind the passenger’s side scoop, GM placed a dedicated heat exchanger that cools coolant that comes from two large outboard radiators.

Those radiators send the cooled liquid rearward in parallel to keep the engine and transmission cool. Rather than using a dedicated air-to-water transmission cooler, the two outboard radiators deliver the coolant to the rear engine bay where it tees off and cools all three primary components: the engine, its stack oil-to-liquid heat exchanger, and the transmission’s oil-to-coolant stack heat exchanger.

An intoxicating amount of performance for an affordable price

As pointed out by CNET, the base Stingray starts at $59,995 including destination and achieves 0-60 in 3.0 seconds, only a tenth of a second slower than other models.

But this is where it gets interesting. CNET says the base Stingray “trips the lights at the end of the drag strip in the same 11.2 seconds, but at a quicker trap speed: 123 mph” as the C8 equipped with the Z51 Performance package.

Even though the Z51 Package (which costs an additional $5,000) includes 5 more hp, a shorter final-drive ratio, an electronic limited-slip differential, as well as “slip-resistant” race tires, its aerodynamic addenda increases downforce which slows it down a bit.

This is because the Z51 package is centered around better cornering speed required for high-performance circuit driving — it’s not intended for straight-line velocity.

The standard Stingray weighs 400 pounds less than the Z51 model, delivering supercar worthy speeds — approximately 194 miles per hour. It goes to show that it’s important to understand why you would need certain packages since the more aggressive Z51 package adds a lot of weight. If applied correctly, extra weight improves track times but is a killer on the drag strip.

To better put this in perspective, a Corvette C8 with the Z51 package only reaches a top speed of 184 mph. A pre-CoT NASCAR Sprint Cup race car costs between $125,000 and $150,000 and goes slightly faster than 200 mph, according to How Stuff Works.

The engines in such cars cost nearly $80,000 alone, $20,000 more than the C8. As CNET put it, “With or without Z51, the 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray delivers a stupefying amount of performance for the dollar.” It seems as if Chevrolet is looking to disrupt the “more speed equals more cost” norm.


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