The 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray is here and it’s true its engine is now installed behind your head and chrome wheels are off the options list, two bits of information that shocked certain traditional fans of America’s sports car. Not me. I welcome the change. Chevrolet knows its established customer base is aging and the two-seater must evolve if it is to survive. But not all the changes are good, the big downer being the lack of a manual gearbox.
Luckily, the Corvette’s familiar combination of value pricing and big performance looks to continue. Plus, the naturally aspirated pushrod V-8 still burns gasoline and has zero assistance from any batteries. Thank goodness. The fiberglass body stays, too, for better or worse. But now that it’s here, the question is how would you have yours? Here’s how I’d spec my new Corvette for pure performance.
Paint: Twelve colors are offered, eight for no charge and four at extra cost. Accelerate Yellow Metallic and Rapid Blue add $500, while Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat and Sebring Orange Tintcoat hit you for $995. Exterior accents in Carbon Flash are standard but you can pick body-color or Shadow Gray for $995. Additionally, you can spec the standard removable roof panel in body color, transparent ($995), or carbon fiber ($2495). If you can’t decide, don’t. You can have two roof panels—how wonderfully American. The pairing of both a body color and a transparent panel costs $1995, while the carbon-fiber and transparent combo can be had for $3495. My exterior configuration choice is Shadow Gray Metallic with a body-color roof panel and trim because I like subtlety. Well, subtle for a mid-engine Corvette.
Wheels: All four of the wheel options are the same size: 19 inches in the front and 20 inches at the rear. The standard wheels are a double five-spoke in silver, the nicest pick of, quite frankly, some not-so-lovely offerings. You can order the same wheels in dark Carbon Flash paint with a machined lip for $995, but I’d save my money because they’re not attractive. The other two options cost $1495 and are a “trident-spoke” wheel with extra shiny machined main spokes and either silver or gray details. I wish you could get this trident wheel in monochromatic silver or gray, as the basic design is cool.
Seats: Three seats are offered—GT1, GT2 and Competition. The mid-level GT2 seats are only offered on the higher-spec 2LT and 3LT equipment packages and the GT1 seats can only be had on the base 1LT. I’d go with the top-spec Competition seats ($1995 or $500 on 3LT) as I’d play with my Corvette at the track. As far as the interior shade, I’m tempted by Sky Cool Gray but you can’t get the Competition seats in that color. So, my choice is the exclusive-to-the-1LT Jet Black performance textile (cloth), which includes rather attractive contrast stitching.
Trim: The standard silver interior trim is nice. I see no reason to pay $1500 for carbon-fiber trim, especially since I don’t like carbon-fiber trim.
Z51 Performance Package ($5000): This makes the Corvette track-ready and capable of its quickest, sub-3.0-second zero-to-60-mph time. It includes an electronic limited-slip differential, a performance exhaust (bumping output from 490 to 495 hp), larger brakes, a front splitter and taller rear spoiler that provide up to 400 pounds of downforce, extra cooling, FE3 performance suspension (see below), and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires instead of the standard Pilot Sport All Season 4 rubber.
Z51 Performance Suspension w/ Magnetic Ride Control ($1895): It’s an upgrade on top of the Z51 package. This changes the FE3 performance suspension to FE4, adding the adjustable and active magnetorheological dampers, which have proven to work well on both the road and at the track.
Navigation with PDR—Performance Data Recorder ($1795): Chevy’s PDR is a slick system, allowing owners to record lap times with video on an SD card and then study the data on their computer. You can also use PDR on public roads, if you like. And there’s a valet mode. Handy. Plus, you get factory navigation.
Etc.: I love the feel of a suede microfiber steering wheel ($595). A good thing as it’s a forced option when you choose Competition seats with 1LT. Keep in mind that the grippy material tends to wear and can become shiny and smooth over time. The Battery Protection package adds a battery tender for $100, basically what a good one costs anyway, for when your Corvette sits unused. It will be particularly handy for those who store their car, although I’d consider fitting winter tires and running my car all year. Why not?
What to Skip
My, there’s a ton to omit and save money. I’d pass on the $7300 2LT and $11,950 3LT equipment packages. They each add a vast array of luxury items, and 3LT includes an upgraded leather and suede interior but there’s nothing I need and it all adds weight. The front suspension lift is a handy option for some at $1495 but I wouldn’t use it where I live in Michigan. Plus, it’s not offered with 1LT. You can spend $5000 for “customer selectable VIN ending,” $200 for a personalized plaque with your name, and $995 to take delivery at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Big-time Corvette fans are likely to check these boxes, but I’d pass. I like the standard black brake calipers so there’s no need to spend $595 for other colors. Same story with the seatbelts, saving $395. There’s an engine appearance package for $995. I’d rather spend time driving versus showing off the mid-mounted motor. Chevy offers full-length “racing” stripes in Carbon Flash, silver or gray for $995. No thanks. And there’s a plethora of cosmetic options and dealer-installed accessories that make little sense to me, including chrome exterior badges ($100), carbon-fiber ground effects ($4850), leather weekend bags ($1450), fender hash stripes ($245), and mud flaps ($250).
Total Cost: $72,370, which is quite the performance steal (base price: $59,995).
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