There’s just something about Chevrolet’s Corvette that gets the attention of enthusiasts from around the world. Could it be the American charm, savage attitude or stand-out styling? Sure, it hasn’t always been the most civilized of beasts compared to European rivals, but that’s all part of the allure, its antidote to the likes of Porsche and Ferrari.
However, big changes are coming, as the upcoming C8 version of one of the world’s longest running nameplates breaks from tradition to switch to a mid-engine layout for better balance and handling prowess.
Does all that mean it will still look like a Corvette or something entirely diffirent? Let’s take an illustrated preview to find out.
Spy-shots of the next Corvette reveal a classic mid-engine profile. Fortunately for us, the camouflage is thin enough to envisage a fairly accurate illustration.
Frontal appearance is highlighted by conventional-shaped headlights (not too dissimilar to the ones used in the C6 Corvette), large corner intakes and a blacked-out middle section in place of a normal grille. Viewing from the side reveals large air intakes behind the doors, rakish windscreen and deeply sculptured bodywork. Oh, and a removable roof section is apparent too.
Out back, the C8 has a uniquely curved rear spoiler, quad tailpipes (now located at the corners of the car as opposed to the current car that has them in the center) and a sleek see-through engine cover with vertical vents flanking the rear glass.
Borrowed from the C7 Stingray, the entry-level model will be equipped with an LT1 6.2-litre V8, pumping out around 500 hp. A 5.5-litre flat-plane crank V8 will appear at a later date in normally aspirated (with a rumored max rev speed of up to 9,000 rpm) and twin turbo formats. The former should be good for nearly 600 horses while the latter could produce up to 800 horsepower.
If that all sounds too timid, then a rumored hybrid powertrain could be just the ticket. Tipped to arrive in range-topping ZR1 guise, it could combine the twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 with a front-mounted electric motor. An all-wheel drive 1000hp monster? We can only hope.
As for transmissions, we anticipate an eight-speed, dual-clutch auto to be equipped as standard, which will improve shift times and overall acceleration. It’s not certain that a manual will be offered, but General Motors have submitted a patent for a clever clutch-by-wire system, which could be C8-bound at a later date.
Body & Materials
Unlike Ford’s carbon-fibre monocoque GT, the next Corvette is likely to use an aluminum space frame. Fortunately, there will be strategic use of magnesium and carbon-fiber throughout to reduce the evil of all vehicles – that being weight.
Also expect lightweight composite panel technology from the current C7 to carryover, and a new active aero system to aid stability and handling at speed.
By going mid-engine and twin-turbo hybrid, the next-generation Corvette has suddenly catapulted itself into a whole new arena of performance.
It will find itself competing against some seriously formidable competitors, from Detroit’s cross-town rival – Ford’s GT to the likes of Audi’s R8, Porsche 911, BMW i8, McLaren 570s, Nissan GT-R, Acura NSX, Ferrari 488, Jaguar F-Type SVR and Mercedes-AMG GT.
Expect the C8 Corvette to possibly debut early as the 2019 Detroit Motor Show, with production starting later next year as an MY2020 offering. It’s been rumored that the current, C7 will continue to be offered alongside the C8 for an unspecified time.
What do you think of Chevrolet’s mid-engine aspirations for the Corvette? Share your thoughts in the comments below.