The Corvette C8 Might Be the Last Gas-Powered Car to Win This Award

The 2020 Corvette C8 marks the eighth generation of this iconic American-made sports car. After several experimental Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle prototypes, it’s the first mid-engine model since the Corvette’s introduction in 1953. It’s also General Motors’ first mid-engine sports car since the automaker discontinued the Pontiac Fiero in 1988. The Chevrolet Corvette‘s design also differed from the traditional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout that dominated most of the 20th Century.

Chevrolet announced the 2020 Corvette C8 in April 2019, and it debuted in July 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center in celebration of Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary. The convertible and C8.R racing versions also launched that year.

The 2020 Corvette C8 awarded Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

Chevrolet made the competition nervous with the 2020 Corvette C8. And the competition isn’t composed of lightweights, or even middleweights for that matter — they’re in supercar territory. Its 6.2-liter V8 produces 490 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, placing it in a league of two-seat sports cars that usually cost over six figures. But according to Popular Mechanics, that’s exactly what makes the Corvette C8 worthy of the title of Car of the Year. With an MSRP of $59,995, it gives owners “the stuff of phone wallpaper fantasy.”

For the past three years, Popular Mechanics awarded the Car of the Year to electric cars. EVs have dominated the vehicle landscape for a while, with many resigned to a world devoid of V8 power. The Kia Niro, Chevy Bolt, and Tesla Model 3 have all been attestations of an electric future — reminders that extreme muscle is bad for our environment.

The Corvette “partially defined the automotive industry for 2020,” the author of the Popular Mechanics article wrote. “For now, the car is a consumer good that, when done right, can make you desire one, even against your better judgment.”

For that reason, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 will most likely be the last non-electric car to win this award.

Driving it gives you a tip-of-the-cruise-missile rush

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In case you’re not a maven of aerial torpedoes: Ramjet engines power cruise missiles. They travel faster than the speed of sound, with faster models reaching hypersonic speed — five times the speed of sound. Apparently, being behind the wheel of a Corvette C8 provides that feeling — and for less than the $1.99 million price of an aerial torpedo.

Standing up against the likes of Lamborghini, McLaren, and Ferrari, the 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 can launch you from 0 to 60 in under three seconds. To put it another way: That terrifying exhaust sound you hear emanating from it is every bit the bite as its bark.

On top of its crazy-power-at-an-affordable-price allure, Chevy taught the competition with a lesson on how to achieve all of that without sacrificing everyday practicality. The only thing some reviewers complained about was the lack of precision compared with a Porsche 718 Cayman. But what’s a little more precision when a $60,000 Corvette C8 is noticeably faster?

The C8 turns Caymans into “When You Think You Are Fast and This Happens” memes.

There’s more to the C8 than speed and looks

Though it’s nice to have a tip-of-the-cruise-missile rush behind the wheel, it’s also important to have other things, like decent cargo space and owner satisfaction. The 2020 Corvette C8 has more cargo space than sport sedans such as the Audi S5 (11.5 cubic feet) and Honda Civic Coupe (11.9 cubic feet).

The C8 boasts 13.5 cubic feet of total cargo capacity, about the same as the Mercedes-Benz SL. Consumer Reports hadn’t listed any safety ratings as of this writing. However, it gave the 2020 Corvette C8 a predicted owner satisfaction of 5/5. Even though it scored fairly low for reliability over the years, the majority of owner reviews express nothing but adoration for their Corvette C8s.