The American Invasion: A C8 Chevy Corvette in the UK

As impressive as the Shelby GT500 Mustang is, traditionally America’s sports car has been the Chevy Corvette. And the latest model, the mid-engine C8 Corvette, is even more of a threat to overseas sports cars, including the Toyota Supra. It can’t quite out-accelerate a GT-R, but it does out-speed a few AMG sedans. But the roads in the US are very different than the ones in the UK. So, what happens when the British host of Carwow’s YouTube channel, Mat Watson, gets his hands on the C8 Chevy Corvette?

Is the European C8 Chevy Corvette any different from the US model?

While the C8 Chevy Corvette Watson drives is a left-hand-drive model, it will be sold in the UK in RHD, Top Gear reports. And the UK’s base model is the 2LT trim, Car and Driver reports, which is the mid-level trim in the US.

An overhead view of a red 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette
2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette overhead | Chevrolet

But in mechanical terms, the European C8 Chevy Corvette is identical to the US model. That means that the mid-mounted 6.2-liter V8 makes 490 hp and 465 lb-ft in base form. Or, with the optional performance exhaust, 495 hp and 470 lb-ft. That’s sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic.

A blue 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray races around a desert racetrack
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray | Chevrolet

Even with the Z51 Package—which includes the performance exhaust—the C8 Chevy Corvette has less horsepower than the C7 Z06 and ZR1. But thanks to the mid-engine design, launch control, and transmission gearing, the C8 is faster, Road & Track reports.

In Car and Driver’s testing, it went 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. That matches the 0-60 time Motor Trend recorded for the 789-hp Ferrari 812 Superfast. And its Nurburgring time is only about 2.5 seconds off the 2010 Nissan GT-R’s time—and the latter has AWD, Hagerty and Autoblog report.

But the C8 Chevy Corvette offers more performance features than just its engine and transmission. Every C8 has Brembo brakes and a limited-slip differential. The Z51-equipped models, though, have an electronically-active version of the latter, The Drive reports.

Chevy Corvette at speed on a remote two lane highway
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray rear | Chevrolet

They also have an extra radiator, a transmission oil cooler, larger brakes, stiffer springs, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, a front splitter, and a different rear wing, Car and Driver reports. Plus, the Z51 package adds adjustable traction control. But for 2021, the adaptive magnetorheological dampers are a stand-alone option, Car and Driver reports.

What did Carwow not like about the C8 Chevy Corvette?

Unfortunately, the C8 Chevy Corvette Carwow featured hadn’t finished its 500-mile break-in period. As a result, it wasn’t making its full torque in the lower gears, limiting acceleration.

A red 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera amongst rolling green hills
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera | Porsche

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In addition, while a US-spec 2LT starts at about $67.3k, the Launch Edition costs roughly the same as a Porsche 911 Carrera. And the version Mat Watson drove costs the same as a well-equipped 911 Carrera 4S. However, Car and Driver reports the UK-spec base 2LT will likely cost less when it officially goes on sale.

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However, overall, the complaints about the C8 Chevy Corvette were fairly minimal. Although the combined cargo capacity is decent, other sports cars, like the 718 Cayman S, have larger trunks. The button-heavy center console also drew criticism, as did the odd placement of the in-cabin 12V socket.

Dynamically, the biggest noted flaws were a slight lack of steering feel and a “squidgy”-feeling brake pedal. Also, a 6.2-liter V8 isn’t exactly the most fuel-efficient engine.

What did it like?

But none of these criticisms made the C8 Chevy Corvette any less appealing to Carwow’s host.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray interior
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray interior | Chevrolet

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Watson drove a 3LT model, which comes with additional leather and Alcantara trim pieces. Plus, it has leather sport seats with heating and cooling functions. The seats and overall interior design make you feel ensconced in the car, which is exactly what a sports car should feel like. However, it’s still comfortable enough to be a daily driver, with an excellent infotainment system and wireless charging.

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Speaking of driving, the C8 Chevy Corvette delivers on the promise its looks—which Watson also enjoyed—make. It has excellent grip, a smooth and quick transmission, and the brakes are very effective. It handles well, and thanks to the magnetic shocks, it rides well, too. And while the V8 wasn’t making maximum torque, that didn’t diminish the exhaust note in the slightest.

Watch out, UK, the Corvettes are coming.

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