Chevrolet changed the automotive world in 1953. A front engine, open topped, gorgeous looking car was launched. Called Corvette, after the fast and nimble warships of a decade before, it quickly because super popular and would become the car of choice for astronauts in the late 1960s.
A fibreglass body was mounted on a steel chassis, and a constant was the front engine/rear wheel drive combination.
Until 2019. July 18 of that year saw a new Corvette launched with a media event held at the Kennedy Space Center, and up front, well, no engine.
It is a mid-mounted design, the C8, and due to head to Australia sometime after July 2021. It’s right hand drive from the factory too, and rumoured to be priced at circa $150,000 give or take a tenner or two.
Capacity of the cylinder deactivation enabled V8 is 6.2L, power is said to be 364kW in U.S trim, and torque a thumping 630 Nm at 5,250rpm. Driving the rear wheels, still, via an eight speed dual clutch auto only (yep, no manual option), and weighing just under 1,530kg, the sprint to 100kph should be done in three seconds. It’s unclear if launch control, as fitted in the States, will be seen in Aussie spec models
The restyled exterior is still of a glass-fibre material, the chassis has moved to an “aluminum” structure for lightweight along with rigidity.
It’s a sharper look than the previous models, yet still recognisably Corvette. The cabin has been moved forward by a solid 420mm, giving the C8 a more prominent cab-forward look, losing the traditional long nose, short tail, profile.
Relocating the engine told the designers that aero and cooling needed to be refocused. Integrated side scoops stand out with large air intakes and deep scallops in the bodywork, the restyled rear has vents underneath the tail lights, with the whole design looking busy, and both ends have storage with around 355L to 370L worth of space.
The interior sees the driver’s section more aligned as a cockpit style, rather than a driver and passenger cell. This has the driver at a height above the passenger, surrounded by screens and alcantara, a raised console in the shape of a transmission tunnel (which of course it isn’t), and a tiller that has more of an octagonal, not circular or even flat bottomed, shape.
It’s also unclear at the time of writing as to which specification, with three available in the States, that Australia will receive, however it’s rumoured that we’ll get just the one, being the top spec version. In Corvette speak that should be the 3LT and FE4, being trim and suspension tune which includes the magnetic ride adaptive setup.
As it stands, 200 units are destined for the Aussie market.