5 things to know about the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
The long-awaited midengine ‘Vette is coming soon to a Chevy dealer near you
If you’ve been catching up on all the midengine Corvette news now that we’ve actually driven the new C8, it’s worth a reminder of what makes up America’s new supercar. Here are five things to know about the 2020 Chevy Corvette as they start to roll out of the Bowling Green factory.
If the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette looks like a fighter jet when viewed from the side, that’s no coincidence. Chevrolet looked at modern American jets in sculpting the lines of the Corvette, but the fact that it’s midengined has required a feature that perfectly mimics the intakes of modern fighter aircraft like the F22 Raptor. As a result, the engine intakes are positioned below and almost behind the greenhouse, mimicking the position of the intakes on actual jets just behind the cockpit.
“True to its aeronautical and racing roots, the 2020 Stingray’s canopy-forward stance was inspired by F22s, F35s and other modern fighter jets and Formula One racing,” the automaker said. “Other classic Corvette signatures adapted to the Stingray include a distinctive face that communicates the purpose of the vehicle’s mission, a classic horizontal crease, aggressive front fenders and familiar positioning of the dual-element headlamps.”
The 2020 Corvette is powered by a 6.2-liter small-block V8 LT2 engine, producing 495 hp at 6,450 rpm and 470 lb-ft of torque at 5,150 rpm, sent to the rear wheels with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. That’s good enough for 0 to 60 launches of well under 3.0 seconds.
Not that it needs to, but the engine itself likes to show off: it’s located under a 3.2mm-thick glass panel on the rear hatch that features a cantilevered trailing edge to dissipate heat created by the engine. Chevrolet boosted oil cooler capacity by 25 percent when designing this engine, and equipped it with a low-profile oil pan to reduce mass. The engine also features a new block and vent system, with the centerline of the crankshaft positioned an inch lower to the ground where it’s connected with the transaxle for better handling.
“Though now placed behind the driver, the LT2 gives the same visceral experience we all expect from Corvette,” said Jordan Lee, GM’s global chief engineer of Small Block engines. “The LT2 has been designed to deliver excellent low-end torque and high-end power to give thrilling pedal response at any RPM.”
The main key of the 2020 model, of course, is the location of the engine. Not only does it offer better weight distribution, with a hint of rear weight bias to improve track and straight-line performance, but Corvette engineers also worked to lower the center of gravity of the car, using the center tunnel to create a stiff and light structure that serves as the backbone of the suspension system.
“The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history.”
This approach has greatly improved torsional rigidity and has lowered the center of gravity in an ideal location, when it comes to handling. The payoffs for drivers are improved lateral grip, torsional rigidity, an improved steering ratio (from 16.25:1 to 15.7:1), and far better-balanced handling.
“The powertrain’s low position enables a low center of gravity for optimal handling,” the automaker noted. “Perhaps the biggest update is found in the lubrication and ventilation system. For the first time ever, the base Stingray will use an engine-mounted dry sump oil system and three scavenge pumps for improved track performance.”
Up front, the 2020 Corvette features a short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone setup, with forged aluminum upper arms and cast aluminum L-shape lower arms, as well as monotube shock absorbers. Out back, the Corvette uses the same setup with a direct-acting stabilizer bar. The Z51 pack offers the Magnetic Selective Ride Control 4.0, which adjusts the shock absorbers of the car in real time in response to the road. The front suspension also features a lift system that raises the ground clearance at the front bumper by about 40mm, taking just 2.8 seconds. The lifting function can operate up to speeds of 24 mph, but it can also be programmed to work automatically using the GPS system, storing up to 1,000 locations.
“Thanks to sophisticated suspension geometry, tailored tire technology and exquisite attention to structural details, we have improved ride and handling,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette executive chief engineer. “No Corvette has ever felt so comfortable, nimble and yet completely stable.”
When, and How Much
The 2020 Corvette will go on sale early next year, and will start at $59,995. The car will enter production in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in late 2019. The one we tested was equipped with the Z51 performance pack, which added $5,000, while the remaining options on the car accounted for another $20,000 for a total of $85,710. That’s an extra $25,000 in options; most buyers will opt to add a few to the Corvette rather than picking a bare-bones model, but we suspect the sweet spot of options will be just below the $85,000 mark.
“Our mission was to develop a new type of sports car, combining the successful attributes of Corvette with the performance and driving experience of mid-engine supercars,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette executive chief engineer.