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Ultimate Corvette Expected to Go PHEV

General Motors is plugging into EVs in a big way. And, among a wide range of electrified models set to come out over the next several years, one is expected to wear the Chevrolet Corvette badge.

GM CEO Mary Barra has repeatedly said the automaker is on a “path to an all-electric future.”

Several officials have acknowledge the C8 Corvette was designed to be electrified, though they have to confirm what form that will take.

A plug-based ‘Vette would focus on performance – likely nudging 700 hp or more — rather than mileage, though it likely also would be the most efficient version of the sports car.

When “spy shots” began circulating last week showing a plug hanging out of the nose of a new Corvette undergoing winter testing its was initially reported this was the rumored battery version of the sports car.

Parent General Motors subsequently explained that the pics had caught a conventional, gas-powered 2020 ‘Vette,” but the episode only underscores expectations Chevrolet is, indeed developing an electric Corvette — something an assortment of executives, including GM President Mark Reuss have taken pains not to deny.

If anything, Reuss effectively confirmed it is only a question of time, noting last July that the eighth-generation Corvette just coming to market will have to comply with the company’s “strategy of 0-0-0: zero emissions, zero crashes, zero congestion.”

But exactly what that means – or, more precisely, what form that would take – is far from certain.

GM officials have made it clear there will continue to be an assortment of different ‘Vette variants, perhaps more than we’ve seen in the past. During the July unveiling of the C8, several Corvette insiders told Ride that the new, mid-engine platform was specifically designed to allow the use of electric drive, with a battery pack placed below the load floor. What type of system it will be is the real question.

Only a few years ago, GM seemed focused on both conventional and plug-in hybrids, the original Chevy Volt being a good example of its PHEV strategy. But it has pulled the plug on Volt and is, for the most part, moving towards pure battery-electric vehicles. The current example is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, with an all-electric Cadillac SUV dues later this year. Among the nearly two dozen other BEVs under development: a battery pickup expected to revive the Hummer name.

For those who still think of battery drive as slow and boring, no need to worry, however. Making 100% of their torque the moment they start spinning, electric motors can deliver insane levels of torque given enough power. The “conventional” hybrid Acura NSX is one example. The plug-in Lincoln Aviator is the fastest and most powerful version of that SUV. And whether you’re talking Tesla Model S with Ludicrous Mode or the new Porsche Taycan Turbo 4S, pure BEVs can be blindingly fast.

If anything, says Sam Abuelsamid, principal auto analyst with Navigant Research, “no doubt about it,” a battery-based Corvette will be the quickest ever, “easily getting into the 700 horsepower range, with over 1,000 NM torque, and launching from 0 to 60 in under 2 seconds.”

A conventional hybrid, even one as exotic as the NSX, is unlikely, various sources indicate. The question, then, is whether Corvette goes all-electric or plug-in hybrid. Abuelsamid is one who believes it will be a BEV, though the evidence is still too vague to be certain. One high-level insider cautioned Ride last July it would be difficult to squeeze in enough batteries to deliver the range BEV buyers would expect. But pulling out the internal combustion engine and transmission could solve that.

Do expect the electric drivetrain to be all-wheel-drive, with motors front and back, every source has agreed upon, something critical in order to get all that power to the pavement.

Another unanswered question is what an electrified Corvette might be called. Some sources have hinted this will be the next-generation Z06, others that it might replace the old ZR1, the traditional pinnacle of the Corvette line-up. There has long been speculation Chevy might be working up a Corvette Zora, an homage to the sports car’s legendary first chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, and what better way to do that?

How soon? “A bit more than” 24 months was the best answer we could get from insider GM. That’s a bit further out than many expected, but the GM strike last autumn appeared to have pushed back development efforts.

WHY THIS MATTERS

The C8 is the first production Corvette to adopt a mid-engine layout, boosting performance to supercar levels at a fraction of the sale price global competitors demand. An electric ‘Vette, whether PHEV or BEV, would pose an even bigger challenge to exotic brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin.

Source: Paul Eisenstein for Ride.Tech.


Garcia, Gavin uncertain of Corvette C8.R’s Daytona prospects

Corvette Racing’s veteran stars, Oliver Gavin and Antonio Garcia, are positive about the new mid-engined C8.R’s progress but are uncertain how it will perform relative to its GT Le Mans class opposition at this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Gavin’s full-time partner Tommy Milner set Corvette Racing’s fastest time in Roar Before the 24 qualifying  which decides garages and pit stalls, and he was encouragingly just 0.108sec off the top time in class, set by James Calado in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE.

However, Gavin warned that the race will be several hours old before everyone gets an accurate picture of how the GTLM contenders match up.

“The C8.R is a brand new car and this is its first race outing,” said the 2016 Rolex 24 winner. “We won’t know where we are in respect to the competition, and they will be looking at us and figuring out where we’re strong and where we’re weak.

“You can pick up little bits and pieces during the Roar and even in the two or three practice sessions before the Rolex 24, but you never really get a great idea of where you’re at until you get five hours or so into the race.

“But it always comes down to the last two hours. It would be quite remarkable if we could come right out of the box and be super-fast, super-reliable and have a successful weekend the first time out.”

Two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans title winner and 2015 Rolex 24 winner Garcia also sounded a note of caution.

“So far, the new Corvette has been quite decent in testing,” said the Spaniard who is entering his seventh season with the legendary team. “It is still very early stages for this car.

“Even though we think we are ready, there are things that can come up. We must do everything we can to make sure we are as prepared as possible. Then we can see what we really have.

“Our testing has been a consistent evolution between track days and simulator work. We’ve been able to develop a plan to develop the car even though we weren’t testing on the track. The correlation of data has been good. Everything that we have tested virtually is working in real life. That makes life a lot easier when you can use all your tools to improve.

“We continue to validate all the work we’ve done and what we find on the racetrack. We are on the right track.”

While Gavin and Milner continue to be partnered by Marcel Fassler for the endurance races, Garcia not only is working with a new enduro extra – Nicky Catsburg – he also has a new full-time partner.

Jordan Taylor, who in 2017 won the IMSA Prototype title with the team owned by his father Wayne Taylor, and has two Rolex 24 wins to his credit, has moved to the GTLM class with Corvette, replacing Jan Magnussen.

This continues a relationship with the Doug Fehan-run team that stretches back to 2012, the first of six years in which Taylor raced a Corvette in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Partnering Gavin and Milner, he won the GTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2015.

“I’m excited to go back into GT racing with Corvette in GTLM with all-manufacturer teams and all-professional drivers,” he said. “The class will get a lot of eyes on it with the first race for the C8.R.

“The race itself will be extremely difficult. I’ll have to get used to looking in my mirrors again! In testing, I was reminding myself to check the mirrors leaving certain corners so I could get in the habit of doing it for the race.

“So I’m looking forward to it. Overall wins are fantastic, but a win is a win; you still get a Rolex watch no matter what class you’re in! But for us in GTLM, the competition will be the same if not more difficult than in prototypes.”

Source: David Malsher-Lopez


2020 Corvette Convertible Order Banks Are Officially Open

Expect to see them on dealership lots by summer.

As the world prepares for the new Chevrolet Corvette to finally enter production, many people may not realize that it’s only part of the 2020 C8 story. Corvette Blogger reports that Chevrolet dealerships are now able to place orders for the 2020 Corvette Convertible. We’ve confirmed with a GM representative that order banks are indeed open.

The convertible debuted a few months after the official C8 launch, but in many ways it’s been overshadowed by another Corvette model that hasn’t been revealed just yet. The C8.R race car made a surprise appearance at the end of the convertible’s debut event in Florida, and while it’s not a production-ready machine, its high-revving, DOHC flat-plane-crank V8 is virtually guaranteed to appear in a future ‘Vette. The likely candidate is a new Z06, but we still aren’t sure when it will arrive. In the meantime, the irony of the C8.R stealing the show at the convertible’s own reveal isn’t lost on us.

We suspect Corvette buyers aren’t overlooking the convertible, however. Chevrolet has said that 2020 C8 preorders are all but filled, so the drop top could be the last chance for buyers to get in on the mid-engine Corvette’s first production year. Opting for the convertible is a $7,500 premium over the hardtop, and it’s available with all the same options and trim levels. That includes the Z51 performance package which bumps the 6.2-liter V8 to 495 horsepower, and since the Corvette was designed from the beginning to be a convertible, Chevrolet says there’s no loss in performance when going roofless.

According to Corvette Blogger, there are no restrictions on convertible orders save for the number of cars a dealer is allocated. Rumors says that convertible production will begin in April, which would have them on dealer lots just in time for summer.

Source: Corvette Blogger via CNET Roadshow


The C8 Corvette and Other NACTOY Finalists Discussed on Autoline TV

The 2020 Corvette Stingray was named as one of the three finalists for the prestigious North American Car of the Year Award and the winner will be named Monday morning (Jan 13th) in Detroit. The all-new mid-engine Corvette does have some stiff competition as it’s facing off against the redesigned Toyota Supra and the Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan.

If you’re looking for a scouting report on the three finalists, you’ve come to the right place!

In this recent episode of Autoline This Week, host John McElroy is joined by panelists Gary Vasilash, Jeff Gilbert and Lindsay Brooke to discuss the contenders up for what is by far the most important vehicle award of the year. All four members of the panel are “NACTOY Jurors” who tested each of the cars and they all weigh in on the strengths and weaknesses of each vehicle.

After watching this episode, I am feeling pretty good about the Corvette Stingray’s chances, but that Sonata does have a ton of style and technology for a $30K vehicle so it won’t be a given. Check out the full conversation below:

From Autoline Network via YouTube:

The North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) jury comprises roughly 50 automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. Every year they vote on the best new cars, trucks and utility vehicles that came out in North America. Three of the NACTOY jurors join us on Autoline This Week to discuss the three cars that made it to the finalists’ list, as well as some of the cars that did not make the list. They also predict which vehicles will win the awards for best car, truck and utility.

Panel: Garry Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production Jeff Gilbert, WWJ NewsRadio 950 Lindsay Brooke, SAE International John McElroy, Autoline.tv

Detroit Bureau Steve Burns will be live at the NACTOY award ceremony and will bring us any breaking news from the event. The North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards will be announced on January 13, 2020, at 8 a.m. in Detroit.

Keith Cornett; Corvette Blogger


Fassler impressed after first laps in new Corvette

The waiting is over for Marcel Fassler. This weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 was the first opportunity for the three-time Le Mans winner to drive the revolutionary mid-engine Corvette Stingray C8.8 — either in a test or even on a simulator — and he likes what he’s found.

“I heard really good things beforehand, so I was really looking forward to my very first drive,” said Fassler. “I finally got my first chance on Friday, and I am more than positively surprised how good and how much fun it is to drive. It’s difficult to compare both cars, because they are completely different in how they were built and set up, but this is a big step forward. I’ve enjoyed every lap in this car around the track.”

Fassler won GTLM honors as part of a 1-2 outing for Corvette Racing in his Rolex 24 debut in 2016, with his car prevailing by 0.034s in the closest class finish in event history. The 43-year-old Swiss driver enjoyed the changing conditions at the Roar — which have ranging from a warm Friday to a wet Saturday to a sunny but chilly Sunday — as he tested the silver No. 4 Stingray with Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin.

“The weather this weekend is the best we could have,” Fassler said. “Now we know hot conditions, we know wet conditions and today we’ll work with colder conditions. Experience shows that everything can happen at Daytona. It can be super warm or freezing cold, or a lot of rain like last year.”

Antonio Garcia, who shares the traditional yellow No. 3 Corvette with Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg, was also pleased with the progress of the C8.R.

“It’s going the right way,” said Garcia, a two-time Rolex 24 winner. “We’ve got to gather as much data as possible to prepare for the first race of the season — the first race for the actual car. It’s going to be very difficult for us, because we don’t know how the car is going to behave, with a lot of unknowns. I think we’re as prepared as we can be, and we are using this test to be even more prepared. So far, it’s going well. But in racing, you never know. We’re probably the best team out there to get with a new car, and so far it looks good and drives good. I can’t wait until the start of the race.”

Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan shares the optimism of his drivers.

“Everything operationally has worked out well,” Fehan said. “The cars are performing well. We haven’t had any major issues in durability and reliability — things we are looking for here. Every day we come out we write another page in setup and learning about the chassis and aero on the car. So every lap’s an important lap.”

Original Source: J.J O’Malley; Racer


Garcia: “Big Steps” to Come With Corvette C8.R at Roar

Corvette Racing drivers on anticipation of Roar Before Rolex 24 with new mid-engined C8.R…

Antonio Garcia believes there will be “big steps” to come in the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R’s development as the new-for-2020 mid-engined GT Le Mans class contender makes its public debut in this weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24.

The Pratt & Miller-built Corvette, along with Porsche’s 2019-spec 911 RSR, are the two all-new GTE-spec cars set for their first official competitive outings in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition during the three-day mandatory test.

While having already completed private testing at the 3.56-mile oval/road course, Garcia believe every lap will matter in their plan for the weekend.

“There is a lot to discover and develop,” Garcia said. “Usually your starting point is better than what you previously had.

“But this is completely different. We are still in the early stages with this new Corvette.

“There will be big steps for sure.

“I don’t know when we will get to the point where we will start making little steps. We need to run this car and we need to race it to find out where we are against our competition.

“We are concentrating on our own work. Whenever it becomes race time, we will know where we actually are.”

Garcia’s new full-season co-driver Jordan Taylor said they won’t necessarily be concerned about pace at the Roar, which will also set the pit lane and garage allocations through a qualifying session on Sunday morning.

The 28-year-old, who makes the switch from his family’s Wayne Taylor Racing operation, said little things, such as driver changes, will be a focal point as well once they achieve the targeted baseline.

“As many laps as we can get at the Roar and going through the program, getting all the drivers on the same page from a setup point of view and then the little things like pit stops and driver changes will be different than what we’ve had in the past,” he said.

“The car is a little more tricky to get in and out.

“Understanding that muscle memory of the process of getting in and out, where the seatbelts go, where the drinks bottle is, where the air hose goes… those little details that we haven’t refined that were refined with the C7.R are things that will show up in a 24-hour event, so those are things we will need to check off the list at the Roar.”

Gavin: “Very Structured” Plan for Weekend

Team veteran Oliver Gavin, who returns to the No. 4 entry alongside Tommy Milner, said that coming away with achieving 60 or 70 percent of their list will be considered a “big win” over the weekend.

“The team is going to have a very structured plan,” Gavin said. “And that’s one of the things that’s so good about Corvette Racing. We plan our time and fundamentally understand what all we have to work through and the list of things we need to achieve.

“The third drivers will need time in the car. We’ll all have to work through that program and procedure as best we can.

“Certainly we’ll learn a huge amount every time we go on track just with how certain tires work, how the braking package works, the aero setup, weight placement… all kinds of different thoughts that the team will look to work through.

“We know that of that list of 50 things we want to try and achieve, the chances are that if we can come away with 60 or 70 percent of that done, it’s a pretty big win.”

Original Source; John Dagys. Sportscar365


Electric Corvette breaks top speed record at 211.8 mph (340.85 km/h)

Genovation broke its own record with its all-electric Corvette supercar by achieving a top speed of 211.8 mph (340.85 km/h).

At this point, we have been reporting on Maryland-based custom carmaker Genovation’s effort to bring an all-electric Corvette to market for years now.

They were supposed to launch their car, which they call the Genovation GXE, in 2018, but they are now talking about 2020 deliveries.

In the meantime, they have been breaking electric top speed records with their prototype.

In 2016, their modified battery-powered Z06 Corvette reached a record-breaking speed of 205.6 mph.

A year later, they broke their own record with a new top speed of 209 mph.

They have kept working on their prototype, and they now announced that they have achieved a new record top speed of 211.8 mph (340.85 km/h):

Andrew Saul, CEO of Genovation Cars, commented on the new achievement:

Andrew Saul, CEO of Genovation Cars, commented on the new achievement:

During the December test, we broke our previous speed record that was set in September of this same year. That earlier record run was hampered by strong crosswinds, so we were confident that under better weather conditions we could improve upon that result.

He added:

We are thrilled to be the only electric car manufacturer to not only test our vehicle’s record-breaking capabilities, but to validate and achieve this milestone not once, not twice, but three times. Based on the early analysis of the data generated from the new record, we’re confident that we can gain efficiencies which will result in further top end speeds.

The vehicle is equipped with a seven-speed manual transmission (optional paddle shifting eight-speed automatic), which can definitely help reach higher top speeds than single-speed vehicles, like most EVs available today.

However, when it comes to the range, the Genovation GXE is limited to what the company refers to as “more than 175 miles on a full battery charge.”

Original Source: Fred Lambert; Electrek


2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Nurburgring Lap Time Is 7:28.30: Report

There’s plenty of video evidence of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8’s presence at the Nürburgring, so it’s no surprise that that at least one of the C8’s numerous laps was a timed, balls-to-the-wall affair. Surprisingly, Chevy never revealed any lap times from any of the mid-engined car’s track sessions, but now there’s a report claiming that a lap time is pretty much on par with that set by a Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4.

According to Muscle Cars & Trucks, the C8 set a lap of the Nürburgring in 7:28.3. The aforementioned Lamborghini recorded a lap of 7:28 flat when tested by Germany’s Sport Auto, and over the course of a 12.9-mile, 154-corner lap, that’s well within the margin of driver error.

One has to be slightly skeptical of this claimed time, and not just because MC&T doesn’t disclose the source of its information—although the site has proven to be right in multiple claims surrounding GM products this year. The C8’s time is only some 11 seconds quicker than that set by a C7 Z51 in poor conditions, and with the gains made to the Corvette’s transmission and 6.2-liter V-8 in the C8 generation, it feels like that margin should be much bigger. Admittedly, almost everyone who has driven the C8 near its limits so far seems to say that the car’s suspension setup is a work in progress and that there’s a ton of untapped potential in the chassis. This means that quicker times may yet be possible even without increasing the Corvette’s power output.

But since the C8 is at least semi-believably as quick around the ‘Ring as an entry-level Lamborghini, we can only fantasize about what times the faster, seemingly inevitable Z06 and ZR1 will achieve. We know that one of the two will drop the cam-in-block, cross-plane crank 6.2 for a C8.R-derived V-8 with a lightweight flat-plane crank and dual overhead camshafts, which will offer greater horsepower per liter—and potentially a broader rev range.

This engine is rumored to make as much as 600 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque, though there’s no telling whether it’ll arrive on the scene for the Z06 or the ZR1 (or its equivalent), which will reportedly gain an electrified front axle and twin turbochargers for a total output of 900 horsepower. The mere concept of a Corvette with McLaren P1-level performance is enough to make anyone wave the Stars & Stripes.

The Drive contacted General Motors for a statement on the C8’s alleged lap time, and we will update when we receive comment.

Source; James Gilboy- The Drive


Why the C8 Corvette Stingray Is So Quick

The mid-engine Corvette hits 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. Here’s how.

We could forever debate the philosophical implications of the Chevrolet Corvette’s switch to a mid-engine layout, but when it comes to physics, the repercussions are clear: moving the Corvette’s heaviest component behind the driver has a dramatic effect on the car’s ability to accelerate.

The Z51-package C8 and the outgoing Z51 C7 have similar weight-to-power ratios, yet the new car can sprint to 60 mph almost a second sooner. To understand why, you have to remember that a tire’s grip is related to the mass it carries. To maximize a powerful car’s ability to accelerate, you want weight over the driven wheels—but only enough so that the car can put its power to ground. Once you’ve accelerated and upshifted to a speed where traction isn’t a concern, weight is acceleration’s enemy. The trick to making a powerful car quick, then, isn’t to make it heavy. It’s to manage where the weight lies.

The front-engine, rear-drive C7 had a front-to-rear weight distribution of 49/51 percent—roughly 1750 pounds on its rear tires when the car wasn’t moving. The mid-engine, rear-drive C8 carries less of its mass on the nose—there are 2210 pounds on the rear tires when stationary. That’s 460 pounds more, which means considerably more available traction at the rear wheels.

Because weight shifts rearward under acceleration, that figure only improves as the car gains speed. To take advantage of this additional traction, Corvette engineers fulfilled their God-given purpose: they sent more torque to the rear wheels. Compared with the automatic-transmission C7, the C8’s first gear is a massive 21 percent shorter—the new car’s rear wheels experience a torque increase of more than 20 percent from that change alone. When you factor in the 10 lb-ft bump from the new V-8, the LT2, the C8’s rear wheels receive an additional 1350 lb-ft. No wonder the new Corvette wears 305-section rear rubber in place of the C7’s 285s.

Those gearing changes alone would account for almost half of the C8’s amazing 0-to-60 gap over the old car—a 1.0-second advantage. The rest, of course, is a function of the available traction at the rear tires, the LT2’s 35 additional horsepower, and finally, the dual-clutch transmission. Which can both shift without interrupting power delivery and perform a perfectly violent launch-control clutch dump.

And violent it is. The C8’s peak acceleration is just over 1.0 g, occurring almost a second after launch. That figure dwarfs the C7’s 0.7-g peak. And in case you’re wondering, at those respective peaks, the C8’s rear tires are under 2900 pounds of load, and the C7’s carry only 2150. The same dynamic weight distribution affects braking. Additional weight on the rear of a C7 would even out braking performance—under 1.0 g of deceleration, the car’s front wheels carry 66 percent of the car’s total mass, while the C8’s deal with just 57 percent. This means the braking components up front can be made smaller, and indeed they were. Front rotors shrank from 13.6 to 13.3 inches, and the rears grew, from 13.3 inches to 13.8.

Braking distances didn’t really change relative to the C7, but the C8’s switch to a brake-by-wire setup (there is no direct, physical connection between brake pedal and hydraulic system) carries a number of advantages. GM says the change allows for the deletion of the traditional brake booster and vacuum pump, moves that give more front-trunk space and better sightlines.

Those are certainly benefits, but they’re unlikely to be the real reason for the switch. Consider the by-wire system a tacit admission of a forthcoming hybrid Corvette. (Hybrids and most electric vehicles use blended brake systems that can continually shift braking duties between electric regenerative braking and the conventional friction brakes. The drawback is inconsistent and unusual pedal feel. A by-wire pedal eliminates this.)

Once we start thinking about a hybrid Corvette, the mid-engine layout really starts to pay dividends. Namely, the possible installation of electric motors on the front wheels, to provide all-wheel drive. Another traction path that would not have been possible with a front-mounted engine.

Finally, the mid-engine car’s added rear traction will be a huge benefit to the inevitable high-output internal-combustion variants. Like our C8 test car, the base C7 easily put its power to the ground. Only the supercharged Z06 and ZR1 models had trouble—and the next ones will have less. Add in electric all-wheel drive with torque vectoring across the front axle and it’s clear why the Corvette switched to a mid- engine layout.

Hang tight, my little puppy dogs, because this is going to be one hell of a thrill ride.

MISSING THE MANUAL

There’s only one reason to celebrate the death of the manual transmission in the Corvette: the C7’s seven-speed was geared so long that it sapped the punch out of holeshots. Able to achieve more than 50 mph in first (56 mph on C7s without the Z51 package), the front-engine car’s off-the-line acceleration wasn’t nearly as brisk as its mid-engine successor’s. First gear in the C8’s twin-clutch automatic multiplies torque by an extra 50 percent compared with the old manual—in fact, second is almost as long as the manual’s first. Gearing a manual C8 with ratios similar to those of the dual-clutch would slow the 0–60 sprint by the time it takes to make the two shifts between a standstill and 60. The delta would likely be about half a second.

I don’t know about you, but I’d be fine with a manual-transmission C8 capable of 3.2 to 60. On second thought, there’s no reason to celebrate the death of the Corvette’s manual transmission. Now get off my lawn.

Source; Jason Cammisa- RoadandTrack


Chevy Corvette C8 vs. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: A Track Comparison

Forget Mustang vs. Camaro. Ford’s Shelby GT500 is ready to challenge Chevrolet’s flagship C8

Mustang vs. Corvette? Go ahead, pinch your thumb and index finger to the bridge of your nose, squint your eyes, and blink hard. When you look again, the words on the page won’t have changed.

Rarely has MotorTrend conducted (or concocted) such a bold comparison. But it’s a mad, mad new world we’re in now. Forget the Blue Oval’s sacrosanct rivalry with Camaro, which had always left the Corvette to chase the elusive, pricier Porsche 911.

Oh sure, the base pony car models will still compete, same as always. But the top-end Mustang GT500 is so excellent it deserves higher-octane competition. The final piece of evidence: The Mustang Shelby GT500 costs more than Chevrolet’s new mid-engine Corvette supercar when similarly equipped. Game on.

The C8 Corvette and Shelby GT500 have stirred up more buzz than anything else that’s come from the Motor City in recent memory. After decades of teases and concepts, the ‘Vette finally slides the engine back in the chassis to join the transaxle aft of the driver’s derriere. And after the extremely successful Shelby GT350, which finished a sharply creased second place in our 2019’s Best Driver’s Car, Ford brought in even heavier artillery with a load more horsepower and torque.

These two contenders offer different kinds of appeal, both inspiring great desire in the high-performance enthusiast world. Both offer capabilities that measure well against far pricier foreigners, without the kind of sacrifices that used to come with the label “Made in America.” Gone (mostly) are the long-muttered utterances about cheap features and fixtures, crude handling, and lack of refinement.

Of course, when you look inside these two cars, there’s an immediate difference. The Corvette is an American interpretation of a mid-six-figure European supercar; the Shelby has nearly the same interior as that rental Mustang convertible at the Hertz counter at LAX—albeit with better seats and some minor brightwork tacked on to disguise its cheesy rotary shift knob and plasticky switchgear. Ford’s interior guys still have some work to do before they can declare their Shelby variants to be world-class premium.

But this is not a comparison test for value shoppers who peruse our Buyer’s Guide, niggling over inches of legroom and warranty coverage.

This is a track test—the literal interpretation of where the rubber meets the road.

The C8 Corvette has come of age—finally, I might add—with a style and behavior that bring to mind a word like “sophistication.” The Corvette’s new shape will sit well with the German and Italian exotica in the valet lot at the country club.

The Shelby GT500 comes from another, more purely American place, the pony car. But since the arrival of the S550 chassis in 2015, the muscular Mustang and its more powerful derivatives have risen above the hot rods of yore, to compare well with European icons.

The ‘Vette excels with exotic appearance, precise and agile handling, and balanced power with a nice rush of strong, smooth, jetlike urge. The Muscle-tang crushes like a bodybuilder with brains. Its huge forward forces do not overwhelm its chassis, as in many of the beloved classics we’ve known before.

The C8 Stingray carries a lithe, striking new shape that will grab attention from a block away. Its lines do a terrific job of conveying more of a sense of value and beauty, yet it’s still imbued with a half-century-plus of genetic identifiers. I predict this car will generate more than a few “Oh, wow!” reactions from the public long after it has gone on sale.

The Mustang is a beefed-up beast with bulging biceps, based on our well-known sporty coupe. It will light up the pony car crowd, certainly. But among the elites, the Shelby’s familiar muscle-bound shape may still result in upturned noses, window-rattling V-8 rumble or not. Where the Mustang scores more points in this contest is in its competence in motion.

At speed, the ‘Vette’s strongest dynamic assets are described in a list of two: first, low polar moment, and second, forward traction. Chevy engineers have created a machine that benefits in exactly the ways it should: more centralized mass and the resulting rearward weight bias.

The Corvette has long been the bad boy of the racetrack, the Bart Simpson of supercars: rude, loud, cheap, unpredictable, and hard to handle, but fast and fun in its own brash way. Now, the Corvette has finally grown up. The C8 Corvette is more sophisticated, capable, and mature.

When the majority of the weight in a chassis is nearer the center of gravity, the car will change direction more eagerly. Formerly carried way up front under those arching fenders, the big engine actually resisted the steering tires as they tried to pull that hunk of metal around to face the apex of a turn. The amidships engine makes the steering feel responsive, more direct, and more precise. It’s less work. The new ‘Vette slices its way into a bend in a most delightful way.

Too much, sometimes—and this is the tricky part of the setup. Quick response can overwork the rear tires and create oversteer. In several high-speed tests, and again here at Virginia International Raceway, we have found some of that in the C8’s track personality. It really will point to the apex entering a corner and sometimes overdo it and end up sideways, with the widely adjustable stability control switch fully off (thank you for providing us with that choice, Chevy).

But when you apply your American V-8 torque, then you find the greatest improvement in driving the American Sports Car: It puts ponies to pavement. The C8 hooks up. Chevy has taken advantage of placing the engine over the rear wheels, and that loading successfully creates forward thrust far better than any Corvette before. The new ‘Vette launches hard from a slow corner or a stoplight/dragstrip. Check out that 0-60 time, beating cars with far higher power ratings and even some with all-wheel drive. That, my friends, is traction.

In fact, the ‘Vette transfers weight rearward so well that it sometimes goes into another kind of slide: understeer. The front loses grip a bit prematurely as a result of the light front loads. What to do? Is it bad? No, but this is a brand-new baby, and there’s still something to be learned. We believe we will see the C8 Corvette improve further as the Chevy team learns more about this all-new mid-engine phenomenon.

In street-tuned mode dashing around VIR, the ‘Vette revealed deliciously instant steering response. It was quick and stable as I carved into a corner, and it revealed snappy trailing-throttle oversteer when I released the brake. Both are clearly influences of the mid-engine low polar moment.

As I accelerated off slow corners, like VIR’s Oak Tree, the C8’s ground-gripping traction rockets the car forward, and it remains well balanced even though it feels like it might wheelie. I found a consistent gradual side slip in third and fourth gears exiting faster sweepers. The C8 has more power oversteer at 80 mph than it does at 40, which is unusual.

The new Corvette’s braking was strong and stable with moderate nose dive. There was some isolation, if not the degree of e-pedal numbness I feared, and the brakes were cooled with some really nice Z51 brake ducts. Last, there was no more float, better suspension damping, but not harsh.

Crawling under the hood, we then adjusted the C8’s suspension to its track settings—which simply comes down to much more negative camber, front and rear. When added to the 8 degrees of caster (the same in Street or Track mode), the Corvette creates camber gain when the wheels are turned, which is especially good for tight turns, and a strong self-centering force for stability and good on-center feel.

High caster will also cross-weight a chassis because the outside wheel swings in an arc upward as the inside wheel swings down. These will both typically work to reduce the understeer that we squawked about in earlier tests.

The effect of the added camber was much improved grip everywhere, reducing but not eliminating traits of midcorner understeer and drop-throttle oversteer and raising speeds with better manners. The basic traits of midcorner understeer and trailing-throttle oversteer were still there, just not as much.

In Track setup, the Corvette’s lap times improved by 2 to 3 seconds with less falloff and better grip on a long run. Tying this all together was an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that worked quite well at full chat, completing the performance of a much improved product. Far more than deserving of the title, this fresh offering is a 21st century new chapter, with more room to improve. One step back with the engine is a giant leap forward for the Stingray.

The GT500, on the other hand, has sprung from the loins of another highly regarded thoroughbred, the GT350. As such it comes from a known source that has been developed for years. It shows on track, especially.

Whereas the C8 is precise, the GT500 hoons. Toss it around. Grab it by the scruff of the neck. This pony encourages aggression. Its version of refinement manifests in confidence for the driver. And the GT500 works in both standard and Carbon Fiber Track Pack form. It is beautifully balanced on track. The steering stays alive all the way through a corner. Quick turn-ins show no evil twitches. Pouring on the ponies rockets it down the straights, and slides come slow and controllably. Within reason.

There’s that word again: reason. Use it when you squeeze down the Shelby’s accelerator. The supercharged cross-plane Coyote-based V-8 clearly makes all of its advertised 760 horsepower. This is another step into the Brave New World of high technology, and overeagerness with that gas pedal will be rewarded with jail and/or hospital time.

Every one of those ponies made themselves known as the Mustang devoured the long back straight at VIR, touching nearly  170 mph, lap after lap. No power fade here, unlike some other American blown V-8s making similar numbers.

The Coyote belts out a stirring bellow or calms to quiet as a mouse with just a switch of the electronic valves in the dual exhaust, allowing you to decide whether to wake the neighbors.

All that thrust goes through a new Tremec dual-clutch seven-speed that exhibited fine behavior on the street and flat out. Manual shifting during a hot lap is just a distraction, and the GT500’s auto mode rivals Porsche’s PDK (yes, really) and does everything I would do, anyway. It even had the savvy to hold a higher gear in places rather than constantly throw out raucous downshifts.

On straights, there’s a rewarding “over-torque” feature that gives a little extra shove on each shift, like a manual power shift. Yet in corners, I felt the Tremec smooth those out. Impressive. The track program is really dialed in. The Ford team should be proud.

This thrust twists a trick carbon-fiber driveshaft into a Torsen gear-type limited-slip differential—a good choice for a front-engine chassis because it doesn’t lock up much off power. This helps get the GT500 pointed into the turn, and it’s also a non-wear item, unlike the clutch-type diffs.

If the driver remains very responsible with the right pedal, the Shelby is responsive and stable. The MagneRide shock system soaked up the curbs and bumps, but it floated a bit under the loads of pro speeds. Happily, though, when the PS4S tires did break loose, it was mostly a gradual, even enjoyable experience. The GT500 has that magic combination of steering response at the limit: the ability to tighten its line while loaded laterally in the middle of a corner, without losing grip at the back.

The Shelby handles this great grunt very well—even with its traction/stability control fully disengaged. (I don’t recommend this unless you’ve completed several professional driving schools, one of which Ford offers with the purchase of a GT500, or have won Daytona at least once.) It’s an incredible thrill, breathtaking, to lay the pedal to the metal. But it requires skill to handle that thrill.

Stopping this rig were perhaps the largest rotors (16.5 inches) and Brembo calipers I’ve yet to experience. Although the big Shelby could dive deep, deep into the tight corners VIR presents at the culmination of its long straights, it was here I could find my only real complaint: a bit of a long brake pedal, which was a little disconcerting at 170 mph. No fade but some squish. They even bled the brakes for me, yet both test Shelbys felt spongy. This was surprising because I recall complaining that the GT350’s brakes were too strong, requiring only a big toe. Perfect would be somewhere in between

The incredible performance capability of the new Shelby (especially with the Carbon Fiber Track package) moves the Mustang into the supercar realm, it pleases me to claim. Both Shelby models provide such thrills that they represent good value even at these prices—driving with confidence-inspiring and consistent speed that is rare to find at any price.

So, to the numbers: Lap times for the C8 Z51 and the standard GT500 were quite comparable, though achieved in different ways. The Shelby evaporates the straights; the C8 carves the corners.

The Shelby carries the load of your family, so in spite of its fantastic, predictable balance, the Corvette can leave it in the twisties, driven precisely.

Once we tried the GT500 equipped with the Carbon Fiber Track package, however, it was all over for the street ‘Vette. The CFTP Shelby is magic on the racetrack, wearing R-compound Sport Cup 2s, carbon wheels, lower and firmer springs/bars/shocks, a proper wing and hell-yes-they-work aero fitments, and much more. Fire it up, and the Shelby is long gone in a blaze of glory.

So here’s the greatest difference between these fantastical motorcars. Shelby: raging, proficient power. C8 Corvette: precision, potential, and style. The price, similar. The choice, yours. The pleasure, ecstatic.

Source; Randy Pobst: MotorTrend


This Corvette achieved supercar-rivaling speed without a single drop of gasoline

Several companies are developing electric supercars but, for now, the fastest one of all is a modified Corvette.

Maryland-based Genovation Cars built an electric Corvette called the GXE, and that car just hit 211.8 mph at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That’s the same as a Ferrari SF90 Stradale. Genovation claims that is also a world record for a street legal electric supercar, but the company was competing against itself. The GXE set the previous record of 210.2 in September 2019.

The GXE boasts 800 horsepower, which is 45 hp more than the 2019 Corvette ZR1 — the most powerful production Corvette ever. The GXE is also based on the same C7-generation Corvette platform as the ZR1, rather than the mid-engined Corvette C8. However, the GXE is a hair shy of the ZR1’s 212-mph top speed — for now, at least. Genovation claims the electric car is capable of more than 220 mph. It will need that kind of speed to beat an upcoming crop of electric supercars.

Croatian firm Rimac claims its Concept Two will reach 258 mph, while the Japanese Aspark Owl boasts a claimed top speed of 248 mph. Running prototypes of both cars exist, but no customer cars have been built, and their manufacturers’ top-speed claims have not been independently verified. The second-generation Tesla Roadster has a claimed top speed of 250 mph, but the car hasn’t gone into production yet. The same goes for the Lotus Evija, which will surpass 200 mph, according to its maker.

The Bugatti Chiron remains the fastest car in the world, having achieved 304 mph in August 2019. A handful of other automakers are eyeing the 300-mph barrier, but with gasoline rather than electric power. While electric motors can produce absurd amounts of horsepower (of the cars listed above, the GXE is the least powerful), heavy battery packs put electric cars at a disadvantage when it comes to weight.

The GXE isn’t exactly a stripped-down track car, either. It comes with adaptive suspension, a 10-speaker JBL audio system, and 10.4-inch central touchscreen. Genovation plans to build a limited production run of 75 cars, with the first customer deliveries expected in 2020. The company previously quoted a price of $750,000, which could buy you 12 gasoline-powered 2020 Corvettes.

Source; Digital Trends– Stephen Edelstein


Ode to the Burnout

Save your letters. we know better.

Thanks to the curiosities of a liberal-arts education, I found myself with a 21-credit workload in my last semester of senior year, one that included a seminar on John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Published in 1667, the epic, 10-volume poem wraps itself around the biblical fall of man, painting a picture of humanity’s temptation from Satan’s view. Our professor argued that, deep down, Milton saw temptation as a kind of litmus test for the soul.

This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Road & Track.

If that’s true, Performance Car of the Year might well be the bar exam for moral fortitude. Spend a week in the world’s most spectacular cars. Visit a beckoning track and some of the country’s best roads. Don’t go weak in the knees at the soprano trill of a 600-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter McLaren V-8. Try not to think too hard about being one of the first people on the planet to get your hands around the neck of the mid-engine Corvette. Be a good boy. But as John Henry opined, a man ain’t nothing but a man. We were somewhere outside Tahoe when that wide lake of asphalt and six days of sleep deprivation finally got to me. I’d spent the better part of a week pretending to be a professional. But when I found myself alone, in the first mid-engine Corvette, with acres of empty ski-park pavement ahead, no amount of restraint or discipline could stand up to desire. I had found my garden, and the serpent was waiting.

I’m more of a middle-path kind of guy, anyhow.

Burnouts and donuts, juvenile as they may be, are as pure a celebration of the automobile as you’ll find. Sports cars are wrapped up in the quandaries of personal freedom more than any other vehicle on four wheels, in pushing the bounds of legally and socially acceptable behavior. We do the math every time we choose to take the convertible to work instead of the family crossover, when we push a brake zone a little deeper, when we lean on the accelerator while chasing shadows up a mountain. Or when we turn the rear tires to billowing clouds. Modern life is increasingly a series of confined boxes, and a sports car fits in none of them.

A good burnout isn’t entirely frivolous. If you listen, it will tell you a thing or two about the people who put the car together. In this age of eager litigation, some automakers simply deny you your inalienable right to light tires on fire. Doesn’t matter how many systems you shut off, a digital overlord will step in and pull power until you get back to acting like an adult. On a certain level, it makes sense. If you sat down and designed a sports car by bullet point, listing necessary functions on a spreadsheet, a burnout would be last on the list. Apart from drag racing, the act serves no logical function. But it’s such a fundamental question: Who’s in control of this vehicle? You or some attorney in Michigan?

This next-generation Corvette has moved the badge further from its roots than any Vette before. And from the moment I saw it sulking in the California sun, I needed to know if the thing remembered how to be America’s sweetheart. So I switched off everything and leaned into mechanical masochism. Somewhere, Satan smiled. The car performed a perfect pirouette, that pushrod small-block screaming at the sky while the tires went to vapor. A devotional to free will. Automotive enthusiasm’s shit-eating grin.

If God really wanted us to be good all the time, he wouldn’t have planted that apple tree. Or given us rear-wheel drive.

Original Source: Road&Track


Daily Driver 2019 Corvette ZR1 Runs the Quarter Mile in 8 Seconds

With the C8 Corvette on the way, the 2019 Corvette ZR1 has sort of slipped from our collective consciousness, yet every once in a while a video comes along that snaps our focus back to the most powerful Corvette ever made.

It took the tuners over a year to unlock the secrets of the ZR1’s ECU, but thanks to HP Tuners and shops like Houston’s Late Model Racecraft, the true potential of the supercharged LT5 V8 has finally been unleashed.

YouTube channel High Tech Corvette calls this ZR1 one of the fastest in the country right now and we agree as we watch it blast through the quarter-mile in 8.7 seconds at over 155 mph.

With the drag radials on the car, this ZR1 hooks up so well that even removing the rear high wing only saves a few hundredths on the clock.

From High Tech Corvette via YouTube:


Hennessey Performance Offers First Look at Packages to Tune the C8 Corvette Up to 1200 HP

Texas tuning shop Hennessey Performance has shared some initial information and photos today as they begin to detail their plans to tune the 2020 Corvettes with the top package offering a whopping 1200 HP.

The HPE1200 package will feature a specially-built twin-turbo LT2 V8 with upgraded internals including forged aluminum pistons and forged steel connector rods. The HPE1200 Twin Turbo C8 Corvette will also see its factory dual-clutch transmission upgraded and fortified to handle the additional power.

“We expect the new C8 Corvette to be an excellent platform from which our clients can further personalize their cars, which obviously includes adding more power and performance,” said company founder and chief horsepower evangelist, John Hennessey. “Over the past several months we have had hundreds of inquiries from C8 buyers wanting to know what we will be offering for the new Corvette. Thus, we created an online questionnaire and have received over 250 completed forms and getting more every day. The customers are telling us what they want and big surprise – they want more power!”

Not just content to tune the engine, Hennessey’s C8 Corvette packages will also offer its signature “CarbonAero” carbon fiber body upgrades that includes a front splitter, air dam, and a rear carbon fiber wing. HPE will also offer an upgrade to the Brembo brake systems, as well as an upgraded Penske suspension, and wheel/tire upgrades.

Hennessee says a stainless-steel exhaust system upgrade is also in the works as well as a 700-hp supercharger system once the car’s computer can be accessed for tuning.

“We are very excited about the new C8 Corvette and have big plans for it,” said Hennessey. “From mild to wild, we plan to offer a wide variety of track-tested parts and upgrades that come with a warranty. We’ve modified over 500 C7 Corvettes since 2013 and expect to upgrade many more C8 Corvettes starting in 2020!”

Hennessey has a form on their website to gauge customer interest in their HPE packages for the C8 Corvette, so if you’re interested, head over to HennesseyPerformance.com.

Original source Hennessy Performance


The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is Here! And the BEST C8 Content is at MotorTrend

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most anticipated vehicle reveals of the century so far–are you as excited as we are? For the first time, the production-spec Corvette will be a mid-engine car, opening possibilities to a much higher level of performance than we’ve ever seen from the ‘Vette. But you know all that. You’re here for world-class, comprehensive 2020 Corvette coverage and photos you can only find at MotorTrend.

So be sure to check back frequently, as we’ll be adding Corvette content after the C8’s reveal. Enjoy!

Motor Trend links:

CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE

OMG NEW CORVETTE

C8 ENGINE AND TECH

FUN STUFF

Original source: Motor Trend


Most Expensive 2020 Chevy Corvette Convertible Costs $113,955

Configurator with pricing info is up, so we’ve decided to max it out.

We’ve been periodically checking Chevy’s website for the Corvette C8 Convertible configurator ever since it went up at the beginning of October to see if there’s pricing available. You can finally know how much the desired spec is going to set you back as the configurator now has all the pricing details included. Much like we did with the coupe a few weeks ago, we’ve decided to max out the online builder in an attempt to find out how much a fully loaded Stingray Convertible costs.

We’re not going to go through each and every option as we did in the previous post because most of them are identical. It’s worth pointing out the convertible commands a $7,500 premium over the coupe and it starts at $67,495 for the entry-level 1LT. Go for the better-equipped 3LT and the price jumps to $78,945, and then you can add this $995 Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat paint and a dual racing stripe also priced at $995.

The most expensive options available for the C8 Convertible are the $5,000 Z51 Performance Package and the $4,850 Grounds Effect Kit, but on top of these, you can also add the $2,095 grille insert and $1,145 side mirror caps both finished in visible carbon fiber. Another pricey option is the $2,695 wheel set measuring 19 inches up front and 20 inches at the rear, with a five-spoke design and a Performance Pewter-painted finish.

If you truly want to go all out with the configurator, Chevy will be more than happy to provide you with a two-piece leather travel bag set for $1,450 as well as indoor and outdoor car covers each priced at $460. Inside, a carbon fiber trim adds $1,500 to the final bill, while the Competition Sport bucket seats are an additional $500.

With all the boxes ticked, you’re going to end up with a 2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible that costs $113,955, plus an additional $110 worth of dealer-installed

As you’re probably aware by now, production of the C8 has been delayed until February 2020, so it’s going to be a long wait to park the new Corvette in your garage.

Hit the source link below to play with the configurator and see if you can beat our price.

Hit the source link below to play with the configurator and see if you can beat our price.

Original source: Adrian Padeanu; Motor1


C8 Corvette ZR1 Will Get 900-HP, Twin-Turbo, Hybrid V8 Engine: Report

This is the first time that we’ve heard concrete news about a hybrid version of the C8, and their source has confirmed that it is indeed coming very soon. The supposed ZR1 will utilize the engine found in the Z06, a dual-overhead-cam V8 that happens to be flat-plane-crank and twin-turbo; similar to the one found in the C8.R race car. The hybrid system will be completely performance oriented, and will place an electric motor between the engine and transmission to increase output considerably to 900 horsepower. That’s not all, apparently, the C8 Stingray has some space in the front trunk that’s reserved for a pair of front-mounted electric motors that are said to increase performance and apply torque vectoring to aid the rear axle and its electronically controlled limited-slip diff, essentially meaning that the ZR1 will be all-wheel drive. 

More Tiny C8 Details:

 2020 Corvette Stingray Almost Had A Split Rear Window: Report

Furthermore, their source indicates that the rumor of the 4.2-liter Blackwing V8 engine from Cadillac being shared with Corvette models is false; GM gave Cadillac and Chevrolet the resources to design and develop two different V8s at the same time. The hybrid system also has the consequence of added weight and proper placement to retain performance and a low center of gravity, so your guess is as good as ours as to where Chevrolet plans to mount the entire system.


How the C8 Corvette’s Dual-Clutch Has Changed Since We Drove the Car

The new Corvette has an eight-speed Tremec DCT. We weren’t crazy about it in the pre-production C8 we drove, but engineers tell us the final version will be better.

For the C8 Corvette, Chevrolet abandoned the traditional manual and torque-converter automatic for a new, eight-speed Tremec dual-clutch. And in our Performance Car of the Year testing, the gearbox was the weakest component in the pre-production C8 Stingray we had on hand. It’s part of why the Corvette didn’t win.

In automatic mode, the DCT dolled out nice, snappy shifts, but when using the paddles, it could be clumsy. Too often we found ourselves running into the rev limiter, or having downshifts denied after a paddle pull. But, the C8 we drove wasn’t a finished product. There’s been development work since we drove the car, and that work will continue for the foreseeable future. At a powertrain engineering seminar held by Chevy last week, we asked Glen Hoeflinn, controls program manager for the DCT, what will change from the car we drove.

“Maybe you get some humpy-bumpy shifts here, you get a little bit of that there. That all gets refined out,” Hoeflinn said. “It’s in final refinement, and then it’s in final checks and looking what we’re doing and making sure that it’s behaving exactly [how] we want.”

“That’s what we’ve done since the car that you had. Doing all that refinement and making sure it’s ready to go for everybody across the all the cars.”

A dual-clutch presents unique challenges, no matter what sort of car it’s in. “There’s a lot of pre-selection interaction that goes on in the background,” Hoeflinn said. “It’s the same choreography” between the engine and transmission, he added, but without the “luxury” of a torque converter, there’s a lot more programming work involved.

As you’d expect, the transmission has different automatic shift strategies for the various drive modes, which adapt in real time. The more aggressive, the more spirited you drive, the more aggressive the car’s going to respond,” Hoeflinn said. “As you start to relax, the car’s going to start to relax.”

The DCT uses latitudinal and longitudinal accelerometers, and looks at information like throttle position and steering angle to gauge how the car is being driven, and react accordingly. For example, in Track mode with the transmission set to automatic, the car will downshift aggressively when the driver is braking hard into a corner, and hold upshifts until corner exit.

The C8 has two manual modes. If you pull a paddle while in Drive, you get a temporary manual mode, which automatically times out, or can be exited sooner by holding the upshift paddle. In this mode, the car will automatically upshift at redline. If you press the M button in the center console, you get full manual mode. There’s no time out, and the car won’t upshift at redline.

There are two other neat tricks available for drivers to exploit. First, if you hold the downshift paddle, the DCT will serve up the lowest possible gear. Do that while braking, and the transmission will keep downshifting as engine speed allows. And second, pulling both paddles at the same time is equivalent to pushing in the clutch pedal on a manual car, which allows you to rev the C8’s new V-8 as much as you want.

In the C8, the paddles are directly wired to the transmission control module (TCM) for quicker response times. “In other applications, from the paddle, the wire will go to the body control module and then from the body control module back over to the transmission. You have obvious latency there,” Hoeflinn said.

“It could be 25, 30, 40 milliseconds from the time you pull, to the time that transmission actually got the message. When you wire them directly from the paddle straight to the TCM, we’re getting the message instantaneously.” This doesn’t mean the paddles will give you a downshift that over-revs the engine—the TCM prevents that—it just helps reduce delay.

One of the headline figures of the C8 Corvette is its incredible acceleration. We timed a pre-production Z51 Stingray as hitting 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and running the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph. With the C8’s Performance Launch mode, the car will actually use the inertia of the engine coming down between revs to propel the car forward. Chevy calls these “Boosted Shifts,” and they’re only used with a Performance Launch. In any other mode, they make the car feel unsettled.

From a mechanical standpoint, this new Tremec transaxle isn’t a radical departure from other DCTs. There are concentric clutches and input shafts for the odd and even gears. The even gears and reverse live near the front of the transmission, while the odds are at the back. A limited slip-differential is integrated within the unit. Base Stingrays get a mechanical diff with a 4.89:1 final drive ratio while Z51-pack cars get an electronic LSD with a 5.17:1 ratio. The overall gear ratio spread of 8.8:1 is the same regardless of differential.

The packaging of the transaxle is such that there’s a common oil sump—filled with 11 liters of Pentosin FFL-4 fluid—for all components. A cooler mounted to the top of the transaxle assembly means there’s no need for additional hydraulic lines, while two filters keep things clean. An externally mounted pressure-side filter requires replacement every 20,000 miles, while the internal suction filter mounted to the sump is a lifetime part.

We asked about why the C8 team didn’t try to do a manual. Hoeflinn and the other engineers present gave us a similar answer to Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, when we interviewed him before the car debuted. They’d need to develop a new manual just for the C8, and considering the stick-shift market is shrinking, it would be an expensive endeavor seemingly without much reward. There are packaging constraints with the Corvette’s central backbone tunnel, too, which would require a hole to accommodate the shifter and gear linkage, hurting structural rigidity. Juechter also said the pedalbox would be cramped with a clutch.

Our first experience with this DCT was less than positive, but this is a gearbox that shows a lot of promise. We look forward to driving the finished product.

Originally written by Chris Perkins; Road&Track


Highlights of the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas

SEMA is the United Nations conference of all things aftermarket, and here’s some of the best stuff we spotted there.

1.Quintin Brothers Dodge Challenger

This 1000-hp Dodge Challenger went on a wild adventure after it arrived in Las Vegas. Vermont-based Quintin Brothers Auto & Performance had their truck and trailer stolen days before the show. Their custom Challenger was inside. Video surveillance helped track down the perp, but when Nevada state trooper Adam Whitmarsh tried to block the stolen Challenger into a parking space, the suspect rammed the Trooper’s Ford Explorer and escaped. After exiting the parking structure, the suspect smashed through a fence and drove the stolen Challenger across a nearby karting track—during a karting event. He eventually ditched the car and was later arrested. The Quintin Brothers and their Dodge Challenger arrived at the SEMA show wearing battle wounds from the wild chase.

2. Chevrolet E-10 Concept

It’s not an engine, it’s a motor. The Chevrolet E-10 concept is a 450-hp electrified C-10 pickup. Typically the only time a 1970s Chevy pickup is plugged into anything, it’s connected to a trickle charger. The E-10 has its batteries in the bed. The two electric motors seen here are called eCrate motors, a nod to the popular Chevy crate engines that can be found swapped into just about anything. GM claims the E-10 can complete a zero-to-60-mph run in about five seconds with a quarter-mile time in the high 13s. A Tesla P100D might be quicker, but it doesn’t look as cool.

3. Vibrant Performance Titanium Chair

Had Game of Thrones producers used Nissan Skylines or Toyota Supras instead of dragons as source material, this might be the Iron Throne. Vibrant Performance didn’t have to vanquish their enemies to build the thing, but they did use more than 50 pieces from their lineup of titanium exhaust products to construct what’s likely the most uncomfortable Adirondack chair on the porch. But it’s fun. Feeling exhausted? Have a seat.


4. Hyundai Veloster Grappler Concept

You’re unlikely to see a Hyundai Veloster on an off-road trail, let alone a dirt road, but this overland concept is out to change that. The Veloster Grappler concept is equipped with typical in-car camping accessories like a rear-hatch tent, solar panels, LED light bars, big all-terrain tires, and a roof basket to carry a spare. It’s still pretty low to the ground, and the tire clearance isn’t ideal for crawling, but it’s a concept. We’d pitch a tent with this thing.

5. Toyota Supra Wasabi Concept

Toyota’s Genuine Accessory Team cooked up a color for this concept that we hope will soon find its way onto a Camry. This Supra’s paint mimics wasabi paste and features white accents on the brake calipers, mirrors, stripes, and spoiler. The forged-aluminum wheels were designed at Toyota and have center caps with the original Toyota emblem. Ohlins coil-overs drop the Supra concept two inches. This was one of many Toyota Supras at the show.

6. AEV Jeep Gladiator

This Jeep Gladiator is equipped with all the proper get-dirty-quick gear. It has tough Bilstein dampers, a lifted suspension, and 37-inch tires. American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) is known for swapping big engines into off-road vehicles and then adding lift kits and other off-road accessories. They’re also responsible for the coolest parts of the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison. This year AEV brought three green machines to show off their latest accessories.

7. 1999 Honda Civic Si Super Street Build

Was this the car that sparked the movie The Fast and the Furious in 2001? It sure looks like it. Honda brought a handful of concepts to the show in celebration of its 60th year in North America, and what better way to do it by showcasing the Civic Si Super Street magazine modified for the Civic Si Challenge in 2000. If you collected buckets of Mattel die-cast cars as a kid (or shamelessly as adults, like us), this car might look familiar.

8. Nissan Frontier Desert Runner

The current-gen Nissan Frontier might be 16 years old, but this concept proves that Nissan knows what people at SEMA want in a truck: tons of suspension, awesome off-road tires, some type of light bar, and a 600-hp 5.8-liter V-8. In the meantime, we can only hope one of these ingredients get put to use on the upcoming Frontier refresh.

9. RTR Rambler Ford Ranger Concept

The RTR Rambler Ford Ranger does everything right without going too far. Ford chose 33-inch Nitto Ridge Grappler tires with custom RTR Tech 6 wheels, because they know anything bigger than that will be unnecessary in most cases. Three LED light bars are tastefully tucked into a custom front grille to complete an almost Ranger Raptor–like appearance. A two-inch suspension lift is installed as well as heavy-duty rock sliders, which act as both a step and as extra protection against rocky terrain. It’s a simple package done well, saving the flashy stuff like wild paint for the Insta-campers.

10. 1972 Honda N600

If it looks like this 1972 Honda N600 has a motorcycle engine under the hood, it’s because it does. This oddball is powered by a Honda VFR 800-cc V-4 motorcycle engine that puts power to the rear wheels. Although the car itself predates the era of high-revving VTECs, with the bike motor installed, this is likely the only N600 with a 12,000-rpm redline. This was one of several cars Honda showcased at the SEMA show.

11. Honda Civic Si Drift Car

This is a peek under the hood of a 926-hp Honda Civic Si. The engine is turned longitudinally and transforms a front-wheel-drive coupe into a rear-wheel-drive drift-spec machine. The work was done with help from Jeanneret Racing and Olson Kustom Works.

12. Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Prototype

We saw this Chevrolet Silverado Desert race truck back in early October, when it competed in the Laughlin Desert Classic, a 17-mile race event in Nevada near the Arizona border. It was there for “engineering development,” but we still think it’s a preview of an upcoming Silverado Z

13. Honda Rally Passport

Honda R&D in Ohio built this rally-ready Honda Passport in their spare time. It has already survived a handful of rally competitions, finishing second in its class at the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. It has had typical safety additions like a roll cage, but other than that it’s unchanged except for tires, brake pads, wheels, and skid plates. Oh, there’s also the addition of a hand-operated hydraulic brake, for epic drift action.

14. 1968 Ford Bronco

There’s been plenty of buzz lately about the upcoming Ford Bronco, which is expected to debut in early 2020. A collaboration between Jay Leno and Ford, this Bronco has a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 from the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and a five-speed manual transmission. The restoration maintained the simple beauty of original Bronco. The 18-inch steel wheels by Detroit Steel Wheels are a great combination of old style and modern needs. The Bronco’s Tonight Blue color would look great on a Mustang or F-150 Raptor.

15. Hyundai Veloster N Performance Concept

The Veloster N is quick, but this Veloster N Performance concept is quicker. Hyundai modified its hot hatch with carbon fiber for the front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, and spoiler while adding carbon fiber to each wheel’s center caps. The suspension is made up of Extreme Racing coil-overs and H&R coil springs with aluminum chassis bracing to add rigidity. Orange-accented interior bits stand out among more carbon-fiber pieces and an Alcantara dashboard.

16. SpeedKore Dodge Charger

Routed through the front fender of a 2019 Dodge Charger Pursuit is the exhaust from a 1525-hp Dodge Demon V-8. This project, put together by SpeedKore Performance Group and MagnaFlow, began as a police car. After fitting a carbon-fiber widebody kit, they turned it into something that would outrun police cars. The stock supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 was transformed into a twin-turbo engine and received an upgraded upper intake manifold designed to withstand the 26 psi of boost.

Written by: Austin Irwin, Car&Driver


OFFICIAL: The 2020 Corvette Stingray Goes 0-60 MPH in 2.9 Seconds; Runs Quarter Mile in 11.2 @ 121 MPH

OFFICIAL: The 2020 Corvette Stingray Goes 0-60 MPH in 2.9 Seconds; Runs Quarter Mile in 11.2 @ 121 MPH

Chevrolet today revealed the long-awaited performance figures for the 2020 Corvette Stingray. While the various magazines and websites have been releasing their numbers, we’ve finally gotten the official word straight from Chevrolet.

The 2020 Stingray with the Z51 package will hit 60mph in 2.9 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 121mph. The base Stingray without Z51 performs the 0-60 sprint in 3.0 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds but at 123 mph. That’s a whole lot of boogity, boogity, boogity for just $60,000. But why is the base car faster than the Z51 in the 1,320? It’s the same reason the Z51’s top speed is lower than the base car – aerodynamics. All that aero that keeps the car planted in the corners holds it back at high speeds in a straight line.

“The performance of the 2020 Stingray has far exceeded our expectations,” said Alex MacDonald, Chevrolet vehicle performance manager. “Moving more weight over the rear wheels helps us get off the line quicker, but it’s the integration between the powertrain and chassis that really takes the performance to new levels.”

The 2020 Corvette Stingray Goes 0-60 MPH in 2.9 Seconds; Runs Quarter Mile in 11.2 @ 121 MPH

All that performance is the result of harmonization between the 495hp LT2 engine and the 8-speed Tremec DCT. The transmission is built at Tremec’s Wixom, MI facility utilizing components produced Belgium, Mexico, and other locales. The DCT itself is a complex unit that contains the rear differential, final drive unit, its controls system, various sensors, its lubrication system, and the cooling hardware. It’s a combination of all these items in addition to the inherent advantages of mid-engine architecture that allow the C8 to achieve its mighty performance.

“The goal from the beginning was to design a transmission worthy of an exotic supercar that is fun to drive everyday,” said Terri Schulke, GM global chief engineer of transmissions. “We achieved that goal by combining the best attributes of the LT2 and the DCT, and I think the impressive performance numbers speak for themselves.”

We expect to hear more details, including official fuel economy ratings, now through the car’s February start of production.

The 2020 Corvette Stingray Goes 0-60 MPH in 2.9 Seconds; Runs Quarter Mile in 11.2 @ 121 MPH

Chevrolet Confirms 2020 Stingray Quickest in its History
LT2 V-8 engine and dual-clutch transmission combine for unprecedented performance

DETROIT — Jaws dropped when Chevrolet first announced the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe would accelerate 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds with the available Z51 Performance Package. Today, the brand confirms the sportscar with the available Z51 Package can reach 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and cross the quarter-mile mark in 11.2 seconds at 121 mph.

Even without the available Z51 Package, a base Stingray, starting at $59,995 (including destination charges, excluding tax, title, license, and dealer fees), can reach 60 mph in three seconds flat and cross the quarter mile mark in 11.2 seconds at 123 mph. Performance numbers may vary, as different climates, tire conditions and road surfaces may affect results.

“The performance of the 2020 Stingray has far exceeded our expectations,” said Alex MacDonald, Chevrolet vehicle performance manager. “Moving more weight over the rear wheels helps us get off the line quicker, but it’s the integration between the powertrain and chassis that really takes the performance to new levels.”

A full chart of the above performance specs is listed below:


This groundbreaking performance is achieved through a formula of rear weight bias, tire technology, aerodynamics, chassis tuning and of course, the powertrain. The 6.2L LT2 Small Block V-8 engine and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission are in many ways the stars of the show.

Chevy’s Small Block Hits the Gym

The LT2 is the only naturally aspirated V-8 in the segment and is SAE-certified at 495 horsepower (369 kW) and 470 lb.-ft. (637 Nm) of torque when equipped with performance exhaust, making it the most-powerful entry Corvette ever.

“The LT2 is one of our best efforts yet in Corvette’s history of naturally aspirated high-performance Small Block V-8 engines,” said Jordan Lee, GM’s global Chief Engineer of Small Block engines. “This engine is incredibly powerful and responsive. Power is readily available when the driver needs it.”

The standard engine-mounted dry sump oil system boasts three scavenge pumps, which help make this the most track-capable Stingray in history. The LT2’s lubrication system keeps oil in the dry sump tank and out of the engine’s crankcase. It provides exceptional engine performance even at lateral acceleration levels exceeding 1g in all directions. The low profile oil pan is high-pressure die-casted – similar to some of Corvette’s large body structure parts – to reduce mass and is only 3.5 mm thick. The LT2’s pan-mounted oil filter and cooler assembly has cored oil and coolant passages, allowing for a 25 percent increase in cooling capacity over the LT1.

Much of the LT2’s additional power can be attributed to how much better it breathes. The intake system is a low restriction design and incorporates identical 210mm length intake runners and an 87mm throttle body. The performance header exhaust manifolds are also low restriction and feature a stylized four-into-one design with twisted runners to allow for thermal expansion. The camshaft now has 14mm gross lift on the intake and exhaust with an increased duration for both profiles, which helps the combustion system take advantage of the extra flow capacity. The LT2 retains variable valve timing, with 62 crank degrees of cam phasing authority.

The LT2 has a very low-profile oil pan. This allows the engine to be mounted low in the vehicle for a low center of gravity and improves handling and track performance. The DCT’s flywheel dampener was even reduced in diameter to allow for the lower engine position.

Bespoke DCT Puts the Power Down

Chevy’s first eight-speed dual-clutch transmission was designed to do two things – put the LT2’s power down and put a smile on every driver’s face. The bespoke, transaxle transmission was developed with Tremec to provide uninterrupted torque delivery whether setting a new lap record or heading out on a roadtrip.

“The goal from the beginning was to design a transmission worthy of an exotic supercar that is fun to drive everyday,” said Terri Schulke, GM global chief engineer of transmissions. “We achieved that goal by combining the best attributes of the LT2 and the DCT, and I think the impressive performance numbers speak for themselves.”

Engineering decided to use a dual-clutch design because it better supports the Stingray’s new mid-engine architecture and desired performance. The DCT aids vehicle performance with a very low center of gravity, enables desired weight distribution and offers maximum traction under acceleration. It is a highly integrated system, as it houses the differential, final drive, controls system, sensors, lubrication and cooling hardware.

The heart of the DCT uses dual concentric wet clutches that are opened by springs and closed by hydraulic pressure. The two clutches work in tandem for uninterrupted torque delivery as they toggle between gears. A separate lube circuit is used for on-demand clutch cooling to reduce parasitic losses. Holes in the outer housing allow for the wet clutches to operate moist instead of submerged. Gear ratios were engineered to be incredibly low-end biased for maximum acceleration. First gear takes advantage of the additional traction to get off the line quickly and reach 60 mph in 2.9 seconds with the Z51 Performance Package. The Z51’s 11.2 second quarter-mile acceleration is achieved by lightning-fast upshifts and excellent low-end torque. The gear ratios are:


The final drive and differential are integrated for the first time and make for an incredibly efficient package. A mechanical slip differential is standard on all 2020 Stingrays. The mLSD has an effective final drive ratio of 4.9:1 and is intended for straight line acceleration and dynamic handling. An electronic limited slip differential is offered on the Z51 Performance Package and has an effective final drive ratio of 5.2:1. It is intended for ultimate control during track driving and commands more authority than previous generation eLSDs.

Though they have different purposes, the mLSD and eLSD were engineered together. They share a common ring and pinion gear ratio of 3.55:1. Their ring and pinion gears also use a zero offset spiral bevel as opposed to the typical hypoid arrangement, which allows for a common fluid to be used and benefits overall packaging.


Software Plays Key Role

Beyond hardware, the transmission software controls are really where customers will find the most tangible benefits. Most of these will feel familiar when toggling through varying driver modes:

  • Tour: Moves to the background to provide quiet, smooth shifts for optimal ride comfort.
  • Sport: Gives drivers altered up and downshifts for more spirited driving.
  • Track: Maximizes vehicle performance with aggressive gear selection expected to keep the engine in a peak performance window.

A proprietary algorithm will influence gear selection if the car senses spirited driving. The level of aggressiveness will change with modes, but when sensed, the DCT can downshift early on hard braking, hold gears when lifting off the throttle and alter shifts points with lateral acceleration. All behaviors are intended to increase driving enjoyment and avoid unnecessary shifting.

To achieve peak acceleration numbers on the Stingray, drivers must initiate a performance launch. Once in Track mode, double pressing the traction control button will put the vehicle in Performance Traction Management for Magnetic Ride Control-equipped cars or Competitive driving mode for all others. Once prepared, the driver can then fully depress the brake and accelerator pedal together, and then release the brake pedal once 3,500 RPM are reached. Extensive work went into ensuring the DCT felt like the best of both worlds: the spirited, direct connected feeling of a manual and the premium driving comfort of an automatic. The magnesium steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters give a premium feel when pulled. For the most responsive shifts possible, the shift signal is sent directly to the transmission control module the moment the paddle pull begins. This avoids any communications delay through other modules and allows drivers precise control of their gear selection.

Unique features of the ergonomic paddles are:

  • Double paddle declutch – pull both paddles simultaneously to simulate pressing a clutch pedal.
  • Temporary manual – simply use either paddle while in Drive, and the vehicle will temporarily switch to manual mode.
  • Lowest available gear – hold the downshift paddle and the transmission will shift to the lowest available gear for a quick burst of torque.

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe and convertible are available to order at certified Chevrolet dealerships nationwide or on Chevrolet.com.

Source:
Chevrolet.com


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Review: Say Goodbye to the Bad Guy

Early-build C8 Corvettes are hard at work, ginning up enthusiasm for the biggest sea change in America’s sports car since the C2 dropped the stick axle. The 2020 Corvette is an extraordinary car that makes extraordinary numbers at an extraordinary price—and we would expect nothing less. But before we rush headlong into the mid-engine era, can we stop and appreciate the outgoing C7 one last time?

Because it seems unfair, really, that the 2019 Corvette ZR1 has already become a thing of history, just another Vette in the model’s long and storied line. This is the culmination of not just the most recent generation of Corvette, but also the entire 66 years of the front-engine paradigm. Certainly, it is the costliest Corvette ever (and the highest-priced vehicle GM currently sells), with our test car ringing the bell at $142,075.

You spend that money for more power than in a regular Stingray—300 horses more. This is not unlike having an extra V-6 Camaro engine bolted to the top of your Corvette’s 6.2-liter V-8. Except the ZR1 actually employs a supercharger, with which the big, bad LT5 can blow even the brick house down, making 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet says all that power comes from using both direct injection and good, old-fashioned port injection, a trick that also helps the Silverado return better gas mileage.

At idle the ZR1 rumbles like a seismic event and its rips and crackles at full snort are the sounds of a natural disaster. Hang on and hope that you don’t do anything stupid, like keep your foot in it for too long or try to outsmart its eight-speed automatic. (A seven-speed manual is also available.) Things happen quickly in the ZR1 and there is no chance of running out of car before you run out of road. It may not produce the acceleration numbers of an all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S Performance, but the violence of internal combustion in the Corvette augments its own sensation of speed to produce a far more visceral drive.

Indeed, the ZR1 must rank among the baddest sports cars to ever roll on four tires. In this case, those are sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s that owners should probably think about buying in bulk. Yet before the ZR1 was even launched, it was guaranteed to be overshadowed by the C8, just as it would be doomed to share most of its interior bits with the not-aging-so-well C7. Was it really only six years ago that this cabin seemed modern? But Chevy can’t really be blamed for spending money on interior upgrades for the new car rather than throwing good money after bad on this one-and-done special.

Behind the wheel, the view out over the vast hood of the ZR1 is like nothing likely to come again. The tops of its sharp fender creases still call to mind the outrageous C3, but they no longer seem like peaks compared to the mountain range in the center of the hood. The protruding carbon-fiber engine cover stands proud of the hood and is good for at least couple taps up on the power-seat adjuster. If the optional Competition Sport seats are too tight and the Track Performance package too stiff for the comfort of your average Corvette owner, well, those are items you add to your ZR1 when the pursuit of lap times render money no object.

Like its Z06 and Grand Sport siblings, the extra-wide ZR1 makes any road feel narrow, and makes narrow roads seem like goat paths. Thankfully its steering is prescient and immediate, giving the car an astounding athleticism. Talking about things like handling and grip after driving a ZR1 on the street is akin to holding forth on surgical techniques after binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. If the Cessna wing blocking access to the trunk isn’t a strong enough hint that exploring the limits of a ZR1 anywhere that doesn’t require a balaclava and helmet is a bad idea, maybe you’ve just sniffed too much of the ZR1’s resinous off-gassing. That cologne is yet another reminder that even at 218 percent of the price of a base Stingray, the ZR1 is still 100 percent C7.

With first tests of the C8 showing that it’s quicker to 60 miles per hour than the ZR1, the King of Corvettes has already abdicated its throne. It seems sea changes occasionally happen in the blink of an eye.

Originally written by Jeff Sabatini; Automobile


The C8 reviewed: The totally redesigned 2020 Chevy Corvette

It’s drop-dead gorgeous, with a few breaks in tradition

Oh boy, Chevrolet invited out the pitchforks with the reveal of the totally redesigned 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, or as it’s known inside Chevy: the C8. It’s a major leap of faith for those in charge at the bow tie brand. This marks the eighth generation of the iconic 2-seater. From the get-go, the introduction of every generational Corvette has been highly anticipated. So, what makes this launch any different? Well, nearly everything.

The first of two glaring changes is, for the first time since its original launch 67 years ago, the engine is located between the passengers and the rear axle. Yep, the 2020 Corvette is a midengine car. The second huge change is, it will no longer offer a manual transmission. What! That’s right, the only transmission available is an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic. A driver can still manually shift the transmission, but it’s by-wire technology. Also, for the first time, leaf springs won’t be a suspension component. Chevy went with coil springs at each wheel.

Clearly, Chevy has two key goals for the radically updated Corvette: Thrust it into the elite circle of supercars like Acura NSX, Audi R8 and McLaren 570, as well as appeal to a younger audience. In doing so, however, the threat is the loss of Corvette’s traditional owner base. Cue the pitchforks. If early orders already accounting for the first year’s production are any indication, though, Chevy doesn’t have much to fret about.

The new Corvette is priced from $59,995 to $73,040.

Forgetting the politics of such a sea change, while ignoring our own knee-jerk predispositions for maintaining Corvette traditions, we found our time behind the wheel to be a real revelation. Checking all the supercar boxes of performance, active suspension, midengine design and stunning exterior styling, the reimagined 2020 Chevrolet Corvette should win the hearts and minds of new generations of Corvette owners. As for the traditionalists, we think what the 8th-gen Corvette brings to the party will win over most of them, as well.

What’s new?

The Corvette is totally redesigned for 2020.

What we like

  • The Corvette is totally redesigned for 2020.
  • What we like
  • Drop-dead gorgeous styling
  • Radically improved handling
  • A supercar that’s an everyday driver
  • Sub 3-second sprint to 60 mph with Z51 package
  • A $59,995 starting price

What we don’t

  • Stingy cargo space
  • Hard-to-appreciate steering-wheel design
  • Will probably be in short supply for the first year or more

How much?

$59,995 to $73,040

Fuel economy

Filling the well behind the passengers is an updated version of last year’s LT1 engine. It’s the LT2 that’s a 495-horsepower 6.2-kiter V8 developing 470 lb-ft of peak torque. This is the most hp and torque on any entry-level ‘Vette yet. Chevy made a few changes, mostly to accommodate its amidships placement. One being that the air intake now originates in the rear.

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is all about the driving experience.

Hustling engine output to the rear wheels is an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

As already mentioned, Chevy is claiming a 0-to-60 mph time of less than three seconds with the $5,000 Z51 package.

No fuel economy government estimates were available as of this writing.

Standard features and options

The 2020 Corvette is available in three trims: 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. When it goes on sale early in 2020, there will also be a convertible version. All prices include the $1,095 factory delivery charge.

The Corvette 1LT ($59,995) comes with Brembo anti-lock brakes with black-painted calipers, a clear engine-compartment cover, 19-in front/20-in rear aluminum wheels, power outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, LED headlights, a 12-in diagonal color driver information center, dual-zone automatic climate control, Mulan leather seating with perforated inserts, 8-way power-adjustable seats, cruise control, keyless open and start, remote start, a leather-wrapped power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, Teen Driver parental controls, an HD backup camera, rear park assist, Bluetooth connectivity, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot capability, OnStar connected services capability, Infotainment 3 Plus System, an 8-in HD color touchscreen, a 10-speaker Bose audio system with HD radio and satellite radio capability.

To the 1LT features the 2LT ($68,390) adds heated/autodimming/power-folding outboard mirrors, a 14-speaker Bose Performance-Series audio system, cargo nets, upgraded 3 Plus infotainment system with navigation, HD front vision camera, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, an inclination sensor, memory driver/passenger convenience package, power-lumbar and power seat-back bolster front seats, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, antitheft system and wireless charging.

Stepping up to the 3LT ($73,040) adds a custom leather-wrapped interior package, upgraded seats, Napa leather seating with perforated inserts and sueded microfiber-wrapped upper interior trim.

Some features standard on a higher trim are options on lower ones. Several options, though, are across the board, like the performance exhaust, Z51 Package, the body-color dual roof, the carbon fiber roof and the transparent roof panel. There are plenty of customizing touches, too, like different color calipers, seat belts, exterior accents, interior accents and red seating.

Safety

The updated Corvette has the usual safety features like four air bags, stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes. Also standard across the trims is a backup camera, rear park assist and Teen Driver. Standard on the 2LT and 3LT are blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a front vision camera.

No third party has safety or crash tested the 2020 Corvette.

Behind the wheel

The first thing you notice when climbing into the driver’s seat is the uber-low seating position. Next is the oddly shaped steering wheel that’s more of a rectangle than a circle. This is a driver-centric cabin, surrounding the driver on three sides with controls and switches of one sort or another. Things not directly in front of the driver are canted toward him or her. This is not a cockpit engineered for trips to lover’s lane. You can see and speak with the passenger from the driver’s perch, but anything beyond patting your passenger’s head is another matter entirely. The center tunnel is huge.

The Corvette has an oddly-shaped steering wheel.

Enough about the color of the drapes. We like the options Corvette provides to the driver to make the experience his or her own. There are four driver settings (Tour, Sport, Track and Weather) to dial in performance to suit the current conditions. There’s even another setting for the driver to customize things to personal taste.

At the end of the day, what the Corvette is all about is the driving experience. Thanks to the midengine arrangement, not only is the weight more evenly distributed front and rear, the engine sits lower for a lower center of gravity. The car feels more planted and predictable. You really feel in control. A function of 470 hp and a svelte 3,500 pounds of mass, acceleration is as neck snapping as you want it to be.

Chevy made every effort to make the new Corvette more rigid, which translates into better control and cornering. Whether cruising along the freeway or attacking a few curves, the 2020 Corvette is every inch the supercar Chevrolet hoped it would be. And, we still think it’s the best performance bang for the buck.

Other cars to consider

2020 Acura NSX — Don’t let the fact the NSX has a hybrid powertrain fool you. This is still a performance midengine car with impressive acceleration and excellent handling.

2020 Audi R8 — Even without Tony Stark’s endorsement, the R8 is a terrific car. Enjoying a little more horsepower and torque for 2020, it performs as well as it looks.

2020 Porsche Cayman — Hey, it’s a Porsche . Timeless styling and an available 2.5-liter turbo engine that delivers as much as 365 hp.

Autotrader’s Advice

How can you go wrong picking any combination of Corvette trims and options? Having said that, we’d recommend sticking with the 1LT and adding the Z51 Package. It keeps the price about as low as possible, but provides serious performance.

This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.