It’s here, and it’s over the top, and there are even hotter variants coming: The 2020 Chevy Corvette, finally in mid-engine form as it enters its eighth generation of production. But as close as you may already be to burnout on C8 Corvette photos, specs, and info, there are some things you haven’t seen yet, unless you were at the reveal in person to crawl around the cars and find out. Fortunately, we were there to do that for you.
- The interior actually looks amazing in person.
That weird line of buttons, the square steering wheel, the layered leather surfaces—in photos, we were a bit skeptical of the new Corvette’s interior look. But in person, it’s actually very impressive, with rich, supple leather, impressive fit and finish, and a layout that’s very clearly been put through its testing paces for ergonomics. The switchgear, especially the shifter mechanism and sport mode wheel, feel impressively solid; all, that is, except for the plasticky, cheap-feeling buttons in that long strip down the edge of the center console. Call it a 99 percent win.
- So does the exterior.
As much as we weren’t huge fans of the interior from the early photos we saw, we were even less fans of the exterior, which in photos, can look both derivative and confused. But in person, with natural light hitting the car and your eyes as the lens rather than a camera, the Corvette’s many surfaces, angles, and creases come together to make much more sense. Sure, the rear is still reaaaaaaallly wide, and a bit slabby, but the overall effect is one that instantly says both “Corvette!” and “This is something different.”
- The engine is incredibly low in the chassis.
The Corvette’s aluminum chassis is something of a work of art in body-in-white form, but it’s when the driveline gets stuffed in the back that things really get impressive. It sits so low, even the top of the intake manifold is below the driver’s shoulders when seated in the car. The valve covers might be just north of your kidneys. And when you close the hatch, you’ll see there is a good 6-8 inches of clearance available—all the more room for top-mount superchargers or intercoolers, no?
- This is undeniably a Corvette.
The haters want to say that a Corvette can only be front-engine, but the engineers have always said they’d go mid-engine when it was actually needed to improve the car. Having pushed the C7 Corvette to it’s limits, and possibly the limits of front-engine performance, the team has decided it’s time. You should really get on board.
- It really feels special.
The C7 also feels special, even now, doubly so in Z06 or ZR1 form, but even as a base Stingray. But this car feels special-er. It’s the first mid-engine American supercar, it’s the first mid-engine Corvette, and it’s already an icon.