The eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is the first mid-engine version in the model’s history, and promises supercar performance at a bargain basement price less than $60,000.
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will likely go on sale a little later than expected due to the ongoing UAW strike, but some early reviews of the mid-engine model are in. They paint a picture of a fast and premium sports car that nevertheless leaves room for improvement.
The reports come from a handful of automotive outlets invited to test pre-production prototypes, as the Bowling Green, Ky., assembly line where the Corvette is produced is still set up to build the outgoing model. Fox News Autos was not offered the opportunity to drive the cars.
By the numbers, the switch to a mid-engine layout appears to have delivered mixed results on the performance front. Motor Trend, Road & Track and Car and Driver all recorded 0-60 mph acceleration times of 2.8 seconds for the Stingray equipped with the Z51 performance package. That’s about a second quicker than the previous front-engine car – which was rated at 460 hp compared to the new Stingray’s 495 hp – and is an astonishing improvement attributed in part to the extra traction afforded by having more weight on the rear tires during launch.
Conversely, stopping distances have increased, possibly because less weight now shifts to the front tires, which are typically responsible for as much as three-fourths of a car’s braking force. Motor Trend also noted that the Stingray’s new brake-by-wire system is difficult to modulate at the limit compared to traditional setups.
Going around turns, the new Corvette failed to deliver the same level of lateral grip as the old one, but was able to get on the power earlier and harder coming out of them. This allowed Car and Driver to lap the 2.2-mile Grattan Raceway in 1:26.1, which is .9 seconds faster than the 2019 Stingray could manage.
Road & Track, which declared the new Stingray to be “not great, but good,” said that its new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission isn’t as responsive to shift commands as the best from the likes of Porsche and Lamborghini, and that the car understeers more than expected. Both impressions were echoed by the other magazines, with Motor Trend speculating that Chevrolet intentionally tuned the Stingray to “push” through curves in order to keep less experienced drivers from spinning out, as it found the car difficult to control precisely at the limit with its traction control systems turned off.
All three of the major magazines described the Stingray as quiet and smooth, with Motor Trend likening its highway ride quality to that of a luxury sports sedan’s. Summing things up, Car and Driver said it is “spectacular” and the “best Corvette ever” while Road & Track called it a “sign of amazing things to come” in the form of more powerful versions of the Corvette that will be able to capitalize even more on the mid-engine design.