The launch of the 2020 C8 Chevy Corvette hasn’t exactly been smooth-sailing, even before the COVID-19-related problems. However, considering how drastic a departure the mid-engine C8 is from previous Corvettes, some quality issues can be forgiven. The move to mid-engine, though, changes more than just the car’s dynamics and looks. Traditionally, the Corvette was always a Porsche 911 rival. Now, though, it shares its layout with a different Porsche, the Porsche 718 Cayman. And it seems Chevy still has something to learn from Porsche’s mid-engine sports car.
2020 Chevy Corvette vs. Porsche 718 Cayman S: specs
Both the 2020 Chevy Corvette and Porsche 718 Cayman S are rear-wheel-drive, 2-seat, mid-engine sports cars. However, that’s about where their commonalities end.
The C8 Corvette has a 6.2-liter V8, rated at 495 hp and 475 lb-ft with the performance exhaust. And, in a break from years past, it’s linked exclusively to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. With launch control, Car and Driver reports the 2020 Corvette can go 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. That matches the time of the latest Porsche 911 Carrera S, Car and Driver reports. It even beat the 911’s track time during Road & Track’s Performance Car of the Year testing.
In contrast, the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman S has a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four that puts out 350 hp and 309 lb-ft. But, although the Cayman does offer a 7-speed dual-clutch, a 6-speed manual is standard. True, the Porsche 718 Cayman S doesn’t have the power to match the Corvette’s 0-60 time. But, its 4.1-second time matches the more expensive and powerful GTS model, Car and Driver reports.
However, while the Porsche 718 Cayman S can’t beat the C8 Corvette on sheer speed, it beats the Chevy almost everywhere else.
Where the Porsche beats out the C8
Although the Porsche 718 Cayman S and C8 Corvette both have front and rear trunks, Car and Driver reports the Porsche has more storage space. The Cayman could carry 2 TSA-approved carry-on suitcases in both trunks; the Corvette 2 in back, only 1 in front.
In addition, although Car and Driver put both the Cayman and Corvette on its 10Best list, reviewers considered the Porsche the better-engineered product. To quote, “you get the sense that every dynamic detail has been considered to an almost fetishistic degree, from the perfect weighting of the steering to exactly the right level of resistance in the shift action of the 6-speed manual.” The base Porsche 718 Cayman costs the same as the Corvette, yet even with the V8 power, the Corvette isn’t more exciting to drive.
It’s worth pointing out that, although the Corvette is Motor Trend’s 2020 Car of the Year, the Cayman came in 2nd to a Ferrari that cost 6 times as much in MT’s Best Driver’s Car. True, Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire notes Chevy did improve the C8 Corvette’s transmission during production. However, R&T reports the Porsche 718 Cayman has better handling, better brakes, and actually grips better. As a sports car, the lighter-weight Porsche 718 Cayman is the better choice.
Also, even the base model, Kelley Blue Book reports, has an interior better than the Corvette’s. The materials are better, and there are no panel gaps. KBB also notes the Cayman has sharper handling and is actually more comfortable on a daily basis. Not necessarily in terms of ride quality, but in terms of cabin space and easy of ingress and egress.
Does the Corvette have any advantages?
To be fair, there are some areas where the C8 Chevy Corvette beats out the Porsche 718 Cayman S.
Firstly, engine noise. The four-cylinder 718 Cayman and Boxster convertible have been repeatedly criticized for how they sound. There is a flat-six GT4 model now available, which Car and Driver reports sounds incredible. However, it also starts at $99,600. And it’s noticeably poorer at being a daily-driver than the normal Cayman.
Also, although the Corvette has less overall storage space, its storage space is longer. If you need to carry something like a golf club bag, the Porsche 718 Cayman’s trunks are too short.
Plus, although the Cayman may have a higher-quality interior, it doesn’t have as many standard features. The Corvette, for instance, comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, WiFi, and navigation. The Cayman doesn’t even offer WiFi or Android Auto, and both navigation and Apple CarPlay are optional extras.
Finally, regarding handling and performance. True, dynamically the C8 Chevy Corvette gives up something to the Porsche 718 Cayman S. But that might not be the case for long. Chevy’s working on a C8 hybrid, as well as upcoming Z06, ZR-1, and Zora models. That first model will reportedly be called the Gran Sport and feature 600 hp and 500 lb-ft. And that’s the least powerful of the 4. The C8 will likely gain further handling improvements to deal with the added power.
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