From the March 2013 issue of Automobile Magazine
by Ezra Dyer
Illustrations by: Tim Marrs
By the time you read this, the details of the new C7 Corvette will be public knowledge. But what about the C8? You don't know about that, do you? Well, lucky for you I have sources deep inside General Motors who've agreed to tell me and only me what's in store for the next Corvette after the next Corvette. Hold onto your seats, because the 2020 Corvette is gonna be one wild ride.
According to my sources, the C8 will be powered by a pushrod V-8 -- sort of. It will have four V-twins, one at each wheel. Code-named LS$$ (pronounced "L-S-double-money"), this new versatile powertrain will enable the C8 to shift among rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or one-wheel drive, all while sounding like a biker gang. The Z06 will again be dry-sump, while the standard car will be dry-sump only if you forget to put oil in it.
The demand for higher fuel economy means that the famously aggravating 1-4 skip shift will again find its way to manual-transmission cars. Laconic driving may also trigger a 2-5 shift or even a 1-6 shift, internally known as the graveyard shift. These protocols can be avoided by revving to 8000 rpm before upshifting or alternately by removing one small Allen screw on the shift knob. It's the one that's painted bright orange with the Allen wrench taped next to it. But don't remove it!
Per tradition, there will be one egregiously annoying feature to complain about. For the C6, it was the seats. With the C7, you already know about the issue with squirrels. For the C8, a new type of adhesive used in the bodywork will cause the entire car to smell like Drakkar Noir. J.D. Power surveys will subsequently reveal that owners are divided on whether this is a bad thing.
After the rollout of the base coupe and convertible, the Z06 will return. As will the Grand Sport, the ZR1, the 427 convertible, and the Ron Fellows edition. The big surprise, though, is the resurrection of a little-known performance variant from the 1980s, the FU2. This bad boy pumps up the 'tude with straight headers exiting through the hood, permanently activated high-beam headlights, and a silhouette of a raised middle finger emblazoned on the roof for the benefit of pursuing police helicopters.
Soon after the C8's introduction, we'll see multiple magazine shoot-outs between the Corvette and the Porsche 911, even though the 911 costs twice as much, no human being has ever actually cross-shopped the two, and Porsche continues to insist that the Corvette is a myth concocted to boost American morale during the Korean War. In fact, when I cornered a high-level executive in Stuttgart to ask his thoughts on the next Corvette, he became confused and asked why I cared about small, agile warships.
For the C8, the split window will not return. But you know what will? T-tops. The targa top is gone, thanks to customer feedback indicating that sometimes you just feel like rockin' half a roof. As a bonus, the fitted storage bag under the hatch can be removed and used as Corvette-branded soft luggage suitable for toting hockey equipment, hair-care products, TapouT apparel, a week's worth of sunglasses -- pretty much anything you might need to carry.
The Competitive Driving mode is the same as before, but the traction control icon is different. Instead of depicting a Corvette laying down a set of righteous skid marks, the new button shows an SRT Viper owner crying. Also, launch control now works in reverse. If you have to ask why, you've never owned a Corvette.
I could tell you more, but aren't you already bored with the C8? I am. Which is why I've turned my attention to the C9, details of which are starting to emerge through my carefully cultivated sources, one of whom is an eighth-grader in Indiana who plans to get hired by GM and work on the Corvette program sometime around 2023.
Apparently, the C9 will still use a small-block, but now it's a small block of uranium. Oh, and they thought about making it mid-engine but then decided against it. And the interior is still pretty bad. But word is, if you're just looking at performance numbers and not price, the C9 is neck and neck with a 2028 Porsche 911. Someone should compare them.