General Motors and Honda have announced they will produce around 12,000 gallons of hand sanitizer that will be provided to workers at their respective production facilities.
The hand sanitizer is being produced by both companies through their joint Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) partnership. The hand sanitizer is being made at the Brownstown, Michigan facility where the GM-Honda FCSM team has been working on to develop fuel-cell fuel stacks for the next generation of hydrogen-powered road cars. Honda says the sanitizer is made using an “apparatus designed to manufacture the electrodes used in the fuel cells,” that was repurposed.
“It is inspiring to see how the automotive industry continues to find new and innovative ways to help society during this crisis,” said Honda North America general counsel Cathy McEvilly. “The commitment shown by Honda associates and their counterparts at GM is a source of pride to us and we are happy to provide something to help the brave health care professionals fighting this pandemic every day.”
Honda also said it will donate 75 percent of the hand sanitizer to healthcare facilities and other places that may be in need of it and will keep 25 percent for Honda North America workers. It has already sent some bottles of the sanitizer to ProMedica Toledo Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, Memorial Health in Marysville, Ohio, and the DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, Michigan.
GM and Honda formed the FCSM partnership back in 2013 and, more recently, announced a collaboration on electric vehicles as well. Under the new EV partnership, Honda will use GM’s new BEV3 electric vehicle platform an Ultium battery technology in its future line of EVs and will also incorporate other GM technology such as OnStar and Super Cruise.
“This collaboration will put together the strength of both companies, while combined scale and manufacturing efficiencies will ultimately provide greater value to customers,” executive vice president of American Honda, Rick Schostek, said in a statement previously.
SAM MCEACHERN for GM Authority
In football, a team’s playbook is guarded with nearly manic effort by everyone in the organization, and woe be to any coach or player who loses one — much less the Benedict Arnold who for some reason might give a copy to the opposition.
But in today’s U.S. auto industry, playbooks are like the gospel: They’re meant to be given away and shared as widely as possible, with the more readers, the better.
That’s because the playbooks in question these days are the detailed, voluminous guides to how auto manufacturers are re-opening their plants with Covid-19 health and safety protocols. And in that regard, General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Jim Glynn, the company’s vice president of worker safety, are hoping their jointly authored, 48-page guide, “Returning to the Workplace with Confidence: Covid-19 Employee Guide,” reaches every corner of the industry.
It’s free to all, but that’s not the reason GM’s playbook seems destined to become a best-seller. Every company in the vast, deep network of the U.S. and global automotive supply chain is eager to rejoin the working economy again, but to do so their leaders must not only be careful in restarting but also take great pains to avoid any early misstep. Expertise like that provided by GM’s guidebook — and by those also produced by other companies, such as Tier One supplier Lear — can be invaluable not only to automotive manufacturers but also to thousands of other factory operators across the country.
“We knew we had to get this right ourselves and clearly articulate our requirements and what to do at every site,” Glynn told me. “Then we had to think about our supply base to help make them equally successful; we’ve had several seminars for a total of literally hundreds of suppliers wondering what we were doing to prepare for restart.” GM also, he said, has “shared our ideas with other companies and with competitors and with industry councils so we can learn from them as well and incorporate all the best practices into our documents.”
General Motors is re-starting its U.S. factories this week, so the company is taking every step leaders can think of to ensure that managers enact and follow the protocols, that employees and the United Auto Workers are comfortable with their requirements, and that everyone embrace the guides as a significant enabler for the company and the industry to restore production, sales, profits and renewed prosperity as quickly as possible.
To that end, Barra even directed a “care package” be sent to every GM employee last week that included a flyer with the highlights of the playbook, a letter signed by her, and five face masks that were manufactured at a company facility in Warren, Michigan. Her personal touch was reinforced by the fact that the package contained not just a single medical-grade mask but enough for a typical family.
Barra “wanted to make sure early on in this pandemic that every people leader in GM understood the protocol intimately,” Glynn explained. “And she recognized right away that, whether someone works in a plant or in a lab or in our technical center [in Michigan], or at an office in the Renaissance Center” headquarters of GM in downtown Detroit, “they are going to have some apprehensions about the virus and whether they’ll be safe. That was her focus.”
So the playbook is “meant to very comprehensively, and in as much detail as we could, provide help so that our people leaders can be as knowledgeable about our protocols as any medical or safety professional,” Glynn said. “Because they’re who people are going to turn to.”
GM’s protocols themselves demonstrate two advantages over much of the other information out there. One is an attribute enjoyed by some other OEMs and major suppliers: They’ve already learned and applied health and safety lessons from the restarting of their Asian plants a few weeks ago. Another edge is enjoyed by only GM and Ford, which is the fact that each of them reopened a U.S. plant a few weeks ago to shift quickly to production of pandemic-fighting medical equipment.
“Some of the ‘whats’ applied pretty well for the couple hundred people entering the site” at GM’s Kokomo, Indiana, electronics plant, which it refitted to produce ventilators, Glynn said. “But it gets more difficult when you’ve got 1,000 people coming into a [different] plant for a shift. So we are scaling up our approach so that, instead of just one entrance, we are duplicating our [screening] efforts at two or three entrances to the plant.”
The needs for new protocols, redesign of many plant-floor processes, and an overall abundance of caution can be counted on to slash productivity that most auto plants enjoyed pre-Covid 19. Yet at first, that shouldn’t be an issue because auto sales, and the entire manufacturing supply chain, will take a while to creak back to life.
And Glynn said that he expects factory productivity to rise rapidly anyway, after an initial orientation period. Even something as simple as donning a mask can pose a complication to an auto worker who wears glasses – or, as many do, safety glasses – by fogging them, for example.
“But we’ve learned tips and tricks to prevent that from happening,” he said. “We’re doing all of these things to protect people and help them be comfortable in the workplace. Once they understand that, productivity takes care of itself pretty quickly.
“Everywhere we’ve put this into place,” such as plants in Asia, Glynn said, “people get on it it and get back to normal productivity. They like the routine; they have a sense of accomplishment; and it feels comfortable for them to be back at work.”
Source: Dale Buss
What We Know So Far
Now that the bubble of anticipation surrounding the mid-engine Corvette has burst, excitement is building for the even-mightier Z06 model. With an exotic flat-plane-crank V-8 engine, the 2022 Chevy Corvette Z06 will sound unlike any Vette that’s come before. It’ll also look meaner than the mainstream C8 thanks to flared fenders, larger air scoops, and aerodynamic addendum that actively adjusts to maximize high-speed downforce and cornering traction. Along with its exclusive powertrain and enhanced appearance, the super Chevy will inherit all the best features and technology from the regular model. Although we still don’t have all the juicy details about the new Z06, here’s what we know so far.
What’s New for 2022?
The first mid-engine Corvette Z06 is expected to go on sale in early 2021 as a 2022 model. As is tradition, it’s a more hardcore, track-focused version of the standard Vette, complete with bolder styling cues and serious performance attributes.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- Z06: $85,000 (est.)
It should make sense that, since Chevy hasn’t officially revealed the new Corvette Z06, we can only speculate on how much it’ll cost. Its front-engine predecessor started at about $25,000 more than the base model, so we think it’s safe to add that number to the starting price of the 2020 Corvette, which starts at $59,995. That means the 2022 Z06 should open at around $85,000 when it eventually goes on sale.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The upcoming Corvette Z06 will receive a special engine that should make it sound similar to the supercars it’s trying to dethrone. The naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V-8 features a flat-plane crank, which means it should rev to between 8500 and 9000 rpm. This engine is expected to make over 600 horsepower, and it’s Ferrari-like howl is all but guaranteed to send shivers down the spine of bystanders. The unconventional V-8 will hook up to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Considering that the 495-hp 2020 Corvette Z51 we tested rocketed from zero to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds and completed the standing quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph, the Z06 will be even quicker in a straight line. A set of wider, stickier tires and more powerful brakes will help it corner harder and stop shorter than the regular Vette, too. Chevy will also strengthen the structure and recalibrate the suspension tune on the Z06 to help make sure its performance advantages are most obvious at the racetrack. A host of active aerodynamics that automatically adjust to optimize downforce will join the party for this new generation. We’ll have to wait until we get our hands on one to evaluate how its myriad improvements compare with the outgoing Corvette Z06.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Neither Chevy nor the EPA have indicated how efficient—or inefficient—the 2022 Corvette Z06 will be in the city and on the highway. Since the company’s flat-plane-crank V-8 is currently only found in the Corvette C8.R race car, we don’t have any government ratings for comparison. Once the Z06’s fuel-economy figures are released, and we have the opportunity to test one on our 75-mph highway route, we can evaluate its real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Bow Tie brand went above and beyond to ensure that the mid-engine Corvette’s interior could not be called boring. While the design certainly transcends what’s found on every other Chevy model, the square steering wheel and wall of climate-control buttons on the center console are unusual elements, to say the least. Still, the cabin layout caters to the driver, and the list of standard and optional features is extensive. This includes a 12.0-inch fully digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, heated and ventilated seats, and wireless charging. All of this and more will continue inside the new Z06. We expect its track-worthiness to be made apparent through additional carbon-fiber and microsuede interior accents as well as a set of even more aggressively bolstered seats. The Corvette’s capacious rear trunk should continue to provide a spot for drivers to carry two sets of golf clubs.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Cooked into the Corvette’s multilayered dashboard is an 8.0-inch touchscreen that supports Chevy’s Infotainment 3 Plus system. While we’ve only had minimal exposure to this specific setup, we found it to be mostly intuitive and responsive. We’re confident the Z06 will share the same interface and features, which include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Likewise, two separate Bose stereos are expected to be offered: a standard 10-speaker system and an optional 14-speaker setup. The new Z06 will continue to offer the Performance Data Recorder, which allows you to record video of everything from your track exploits to relaxed country-road cruises. And if you dare leave your Z06 with a valet, there’s a setting that keeps track of any nefarious activities the car-parker might try.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2022 Corvette Z06 hasn’t been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While the regular C8 Corvette only has a handful a driver-assistance technology, such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, we expect those features to be available on the Z06.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Chevy provides all of its models with a middle-of-the-road limited and powertrain warranty. While the company offers more complimentary maintenance than automakers who skip the free service altogether, it’s one of the shortest such plans in the industry.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit
(CNN)General Motors and Ford laid out plans for restarting their US factories while, at the same time, attempting to protect workers from the coronavirus.
Both companies detailed how they would thoroughly clean facilities and allot extra time between work shifts to do so. The automakers said they will also screen employees with questionnaires before they leave for work and temperature checks as they enter a plant or other facilities.
Employees who have recently been exposed to someone with the coronavirus or exhibit a high temperature or other Covid-19-related symptoms will be sent to local clinics for testing before they are allowed to return to work.
While in factories, employees will work at least six feet apart from one another whenever possible, the companies said. Employee workstations will be separated by clear plastic panels. Workers will also wear surgical-style face masks and clear plastic face shields whenever they’re required to work close to one another.
These practices are based on the experiences the companies have had at their factories in China and, in GM’s case, Korea. Ford executives said 90% of the employees at their plants in China, which started reopening in mid-February, have now returned to work. Ford also recently reopened a plant in Thailand that it operates with Mazda.
“Absolutely I would feel comfortable sending my family to work at Ford,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer, when asked how confident he felt in the steps the company was taking.
A Ford of Europe employee wearing protective equipment similar to that US employees will be required to wear.
Both Ford (F) and GM (GM) have also been operating a few plants in the US in order to make personal protective equipment and ventilators for healthcare workers. Ford has also been manufacturing face masks for its own workers around the world. Both companies also have some warehouses operating to distribute parts for repairs. Workers at those US plants have also been trying out the safety protocols and equipment that will go into wider use in the US as factories reopen.
Employees at Ford’s currently operating US plants will be sharing their experiences with other employees. Among other things, they will describe what it’s like working with masks and face shields on and the best ways to wear and use them, said Kiersten Robinson, Ford’s chief human resources officer.
Both companies will also make changes to how “common areas,” such as dining areas, are used in order to keep employees apart from one another.
GM expects to restart operations in mid-May, according to an executive familiar with the plans. A Ford executive declined to provide a specific timeframe for restarting the company’s factories, but said decisions for each factory will depend on local conditions and requirements. The company said it is closely monitoring conditions in areas where it has factories.
The United Auto Workers Union, which represents assembly line workers at Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), is asking for more coronavirus testing of employees.
“Our position is that we employ as much testing as is possible at the current time and commit to full testing as soon as it is available,” UAW president Rory Gamble said in a statement.
Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN Business
“This is our saving grace, and if we can save one person it’ll all be worth it.”
Penni Cox wakes up before dawn, taking her coffee to-go as she makes the 10-minute drive down the road from her home to the General Motors campus in Kokomo, Indiana. She arrives at the Engineering Resource Center as the sun rises.
Until recently, its three stories stood empty; auto work in Kokomo has steadily drained, and the absence of opportunity has meant indefinite layoffs. Then, as the coronavirus swept across the globe, the building surged to life, reopening to make much-needed ventilators for the nation’s sick.
“It has been nonstop, and a whirlwind of emotions,” Cox told ABC News.
She was laid off on March 13, out of a job after nearly 14 years — three generations of her family, a part of the United Auto Workers. Her aunt, mother, grandmother, all worked at GM; her son will now join making ventilators; her grandfather worked across the street at Fiat-Chrysler. Before being laid off, her husband also worked at that FCA plant, where in late March, a fellow UAW worker tested positive for COVID-19 then died.
“It’s scary. The virus is scary. Not knowing our plant’s future is scary. But we won’t give up,” Cox said. “Work has slowly declined, we’ve been losing people to layoffs for a while, and unfortunately I was one of them.”
“You teach your children to help others. But when the time comes and you can finally do it — when they call you and say, ‘Hey, do you want to make ventilators?’ It’s like — well yeah!”
Her work ceased just as the virus flared, and hospitals braced for a deluge of patients and a looming ventilator shortage. As a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, the plant finally shut down.
In late March, General Motors and Ventec Life Systems announced a partnership to mass-produce critical care ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, pledging 30,000 by the end of August: a $489.4 million contract with the Department of Health and Human Services. Cox and her United Autoworkers Local 292 team were brought back.
Working “around the clock,” as General Motors said in a statement, their first ventilators began rolling off the line in a matter of weeks.
“Right now? It’s much more rewarding making a ventilator than making a car,” Cox said. “We’re all working long hours, it gets tiring, but when you see who you’re helping — it’s all worth it. I love my Chevys but I definitely feel much more sense of pride in making a ventilator.”
“There’s a mood in there that hasn’t been for a long time — we’ve been shrinking for so long,” UAW Local 292 President Matt Collins told ABC News.
“We’ve got mixed emotions,” he said of the good fortune brought about by grim circumstances. “But this has made a lot of new opportunities for a lot of people.”
Penni Cox arrives at the plant before 6:30 a.m. each day, where she — and everyone else — gets immediately checked for a fever before being admitted. Cox wears a mask and gloves throughout the day, except for when she eats or drinks.
On the line, Cox makes the ventilator back cases.
“We do a lot of messing with the screws,” Cox said. “The part that hangs on the cart you push around, that hook right there. Then a thermal cover, plastic pieces to the center band — it basically holds the main guts in.”
The Kokomo plant was picked to make the ventilators because it already handled precision electronic parts — and it had preexisting clean rooms, required for medical equipment production by the FDA.
“We’re pretty dedicated,” Cox said. “There are a lot of people putting in 10, 12 hour days. They just kept telling us, ‘We don’t have any work for you,’ and we just kept saying, Well you’ve got to!’ And then this came along. We’re kind of the little engine that could.”
From a workforce that was once roughly 12,000 strong, their union now has whittled down to a few hundred. But the ventilator production is expected to boost numbers operating out of the Kokomo facility to roughly 1,000.
“We’re so hungry for work, we’d build anything. We’d make cakes,” Collins said. His plant has seen hundreds of layoffs in the last few years, he said. And as membership declines, maintaining the local union can itself become more of a financial burden.
“But now this is going to save lives, and it’s just a really cool thing,” he said.
Collins, also a third-generation GM worker, is himself at higher risk for infection: Three years ago, he told ABC News, doctors found a tumor and removed most of one of his lungs. His voice wheezes lightly as he talks.
“I worry about going anywhere — but I feel safer going to the plant than I do going to the grocery store,” he said. “I couldn’t sit this out — I wanted to be a part of it. There’s no place I’d rather be.”
Asked about the parallels to World War II’s war effort — to “Rosie the Riveter” — Penni Cox shrugged.
“Not so much,” Cox said. “This is really nothing new for us — people give us credit and that’s nice but we’re just doing our jobs.”
“We’re not the heroes,” she continued. “The medical staff out there — they’re the real heroes. And they’re the ones that need help. We’re just trying to back them up.”
Once their contract with Ventec is over, the future is uncertain. There are no assurance there will be work ahead, Cox said.
“Our plant doesn’t really have anything to go back to,” she said. “We’re hoping that something big comes of this for us. ‘Cause when the ventilators are done — we could be done.”
“I feel like this is our saving grace — and if we can save at least one person in the process, that keeps us going every day,” Cox said. “The long hours, the sore hands, the climbing 50 million steps every day, it’ll all be worth it. So just let us show you what we can do.”
What to know about the coronavirus:
How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
GM today announced manufacturing details around building much-needed medical face masks. According to the company’s press release, it took the company less than seven days to go from nothing to producing the first production-made mask. The automotive giant said today in a released statement it expects to deliver 20,000 masks on April 8 and soon after, able to produce 50,000 masks a day once the production line is at full capacity.
These face masks are a vital piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by front-line healthcare staff to protect themselves against the virus-causing droplets that are spread by patients through coughing and sneezing in clinical settings.
GM turned to global partners to create this manufacturing line within a week. The company sourced material from GM’s existing supply chain and acquired manufacturing equipment from JR Automation in Holland, Michigan, and Esys Automation in Auburn Hills, Michigan. As the company’s press release says, GM even created an ISO Class 8-equivalent cleanroom in GM’s Warren manufacturing plant. GM and the UAW will seek two dozen volunteers to staff this new assembly line.
“The first people we called were those who work with fabric vehicle components,” said Karsten Garbe, GM plant director, Global Pre-Production Operations. “In a few days, the company’s seat belt and interior trim experts became experts in manufacturing face masks.”
While this team was creating a face mask assembly line, others within GM were working towards creating ventilators. Last Friday, March 27, President Donald Trump signed a presidential directive ordering GM to produce ventilators and to prioritize federal contracts. This came hours after the automaker announced plans to manufacture the critical medical equipment needed for patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Other automakers joined the fight, as well. Ford and GE Healthcare licensed a ventilator design from Airon Corp and plan to produce as many as 50,000 of them at a Michigan factory by July as part of a broader effort to provide a critical medical device used to treat people with COVID-19. Under this partnership, Ford said it expects to produce 1,500 Airon ventilators by the end of April, 12,00 by the end of May, and 50,000 by July.
Matt Burns; Tech Crunch
It’s not such a crazy idea.
The Chevrolet Corvette went mid-engine, so why not the Camaro? That’s the question this particular rendering from Carlifestyle on Facebook asks, figuratively and literally in the post. Sometimes, these oddball renderings can go off the rails but if we’re honest, this one has our interest … in a good way.
It’s not hard to see shades of the Lamborghini Huracan in this design, presumably because that’s the car this rendering is based upon. The side intake and lower rocker trim is a dead giveaway, but beyond that, this car definitely looks like a proper good ol’ Camaro.
And what are the attributes of this, dare we say, Lamaro? As with all things mid-engine, the nose is short and the hips are wide to accommodate an engine behind the driver. From this angle, it’s quite impressive how well the pony car adapts to life as a mid-engine supercar. Of course, this is also an exceptionally well-done rendering that could pass for something real if we didn’t know otherwise.
Here’s a radical thought. The Corvette and Camaro were a stout one-two punch for Chevrolet as front-engine performance machines from America. Camaro sales have fallen sharply in recent years, and the Corvette has transitioned to its new mid-engine form. Maybe creating a mid-engine Camaro could be the pony car’s salvation. Keep the one-two Bowtie punch, just move both the ‘Vette and ‘Maro to the mid-engine world. The Camaro certainly wouldn’t have any domestic competition in such form, and we wouldn’t have even a teeny problem driving the car you see here – be it a V6, V8, or even a neat hybrid.
Alas, Chevrolet already had the guts to build the C8 Corvette with its engine behind the driver. As such we suspect that absorbed all of GM’s gambling chips so the Camaro’s future will likely be far less interesting. The car is expected to disappear in the next couple of years as the current generation winds down, fading into the annuls of automotive history for a second time.
Christopher Smith for Motor1
All-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is now on sale, and buyers are lining up
With deliveries of the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette beginning this month we know there are a lot of very excited Corvette buyers out there who are just now getting familiar with Chevrolet’s newest sports car. What drove those shoppers to the new eighth generation Corvette C8, and what are they likely discovering as their ownership experience begins?
We’ve been fortunate to drive the new Corvette on multiple occasions, on both public roads and at a closed course race facility. This has given us sufficient seat time to understand the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette’s upgraded design cues and capabilities. We could make a nearly endless list of why people want the new Corvette, but here are the top 10 reasons we think new, and prospective, Corvette buyers are lining up to sample Chevrolet’s latest supercar.
- Zero-to-60 Performance: The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette’s “base” 6.2-liter V8 engine makes 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough power and twisting force to catapult the Corvette to 60 mph in 3 second flat. Spring for the $5,000 Z51 performance package, with 495 hp and 470 lb-ft, plus more effective engine cooling, more advanced brake and suspension components, stickier Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, along with aerodynamic enhancements, and the Corvette can hit 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.
- Exceptional Value: The 2020 Corvette starts at a meager $59,995, including delivery charges. Once again, that price includes a zero-to-60 time of 3 seconds flat, making the new Corvette not only one of the quickest street-legal cars you can buy, but one of only a very few cars capable of hitting those numbers for less than $100,000. The Corvette has always offered exceptional “bang-for-the-buck” performance specs. The C8 takes this longstanding Corvette tradition to new dimension.
- Top Speed=194 MPH: Not that we endorse going almost 200 mph in any vehicle, and certainly never on a public road. But – IF you have a safe, closed course facility to do it – the Corvette can indeed hit 194 mph. That’s in base form, at the $59,995 starting price. Pro tip: ordering the Z51 performance package actually reduces the car’s top speed even at it improves the Corvette’s zero-to-60 time. The Z51’s aggressive aerodynamics increase downforce, but the added drag reduces top speed to “just” 184 mph.
- 8-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission: Unlike a traditional manual transmission (which is not offered on the new Chevrolet Corvette), a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) has the benefit of keeping the rear wheels connected to the engine, even while shifting The “dual” in dual clutch means the incoming gear is engaged even before the outgoing gear is disengaged. This makes for shifts in under 100 milliseconds, far quicker than a human. The transmission’s design and placement also lowers the Corvette’s center of gravity.
- Magnetic Selective Ride Control: General Motors perfected this advanced active suspension technology years ago. How perfect? Ferrari licenses the use of this tech from GM for its own cars. When buyers equip the new Corvette with the FE4 $1,895 option they’ll have multiple driving modes, including Tour, Sport and Track. This enables a smooth, comfortable ride during relaxed driving conditions or track-ready stiffness when driving a 2020 Corvette on a closed course. It’s the definition of the “best of both worlds”.
- Cargo Capacity: A sports car with functional cargo capacity is relatively rare, and a 3-second sports car with 13 cubic feet of cargo capacity is unheard of…until now. The new Corvette has adequate space behind the engine to fit two full sets of golf clubs, while a front trunk, under the hood, can swallow a large carry-on bag with room leftover. We’re not sure how often Corvette owners actually pick up a buddy to hit the links, but for those that do, the 2020 Corvette is ready and willing, with cargo space to spare.
- Fuel Efficiency: Yet another longstanding Corvette character trait that continues in the new Corvette. Between the car’s slippery shape, torque-laden engine and 8-speed transmission there’s the potential for very little energy expenditure while cruising at a steady highway speed…assuming the driver’s goes light on the throttle. If he does, the new Corvette can deliver between 25 and 30 mpg.
- Driver-Focused Cabin: Everything from the squared-off steering wheel to the 12-inch, reconfigurable gauge cluster to the driver-angled 8-inch touchscreen confirms the Corvette’s performance-oriented purpose. The smaller front-end provides excellent forward visibility, which adds to driver confidence when navigating corners, and all three seats options provide excellent lateral support while remaining comfortable for long drives. The days of disappointing Corvette cabins are finally in the rearview mirror.
- Open Air Cruising: The new Corvette comes as a coupe or convertible, but even in coupe form the Corvette’s roof panel is easily removed and securely stored in the rear cargo area. The convertible uses a retractable hardtop design, the first in Corvette history, that folds away in 16 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. Powered by electric motors, the Corvette convertible offers the same coefficient of drag as the coupe, with two cool nacelles behind each seat to smooth airflow at higher speeds.
- So Many Options: Almost as exciting as the new Corvette’s performance and value is the car’s range of personalization. The option list long, and can’t be remotely covered in this top 10 list. So head over to the Corvette Configurator and play with exterior colors, interior colors, stripe designs, seat designs, wheel designs, performance upgrades and exterior accents to your heart’s desire. But be prepared to spend quite a long time there. And don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Karl Brauer for Forbes
With the highest performance versions of the seventh generation Corvette, customers were forced to make a choice. Did they want their car to have the highest possible top speed, or did they want to sacrifice some of that by bolting a slew of aerodynamic aids to their car for maximum cornering ability?
We would love for Chevrolet to take that decision out of the ordering equation for buyers of the upcoming Z models and the Grand Sport. They could give buyers the best of both worlds with the incorporation of Active Aerodynamics.
Active Aerodynamics can take many forms, from grille vents that close at high speeds to streamline a car, to suspension that lowers at speed to reduce lift. We know that the Corvette team would build a fully functional system that integrates several of these technologies into a cohesive package, just like they did on the C7 ZR1’s chassis-mounted wing and innovative balancing front underwing, but what we mostly want to focus on here is the most visible piece of such a system, the rear wing.
This unit would elevate both the performance and even the prestige of GM’s looming halo car. There are several benefits of an active rear wing that accompany their off-the-charts cool factor.
1. An active rear wing can be lowered, causing it, for all intents and purposes, to disappear, along with any drag that it was creating. Top-end General Motors Products have become so fast that the most track-worthy editions have suffered at the dragstrip because of massive fixed wings. The effects of the C7 Z06/Z07’s wickerbill spoiler have been well documented. Chevrolet officially listed the top speed of ZR1’s with the “big-wing” ZTK package as 10 MPH lower than their stock counterparts, and the Camaro ZL1 with the 1LE package has proven slower than the car it is based on, even in distances as short as a quarter-mile. Allowing these serious track performers to retract their wing, and the ZTK/Z07/1LE models become the best version of their respective model-line with no excuses or asterisks, which is what buyers that dole out more funds expect.
Photo Credit: https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz
2. Just as these wings can retract to reduce drag and improve top speed, they can be “actively” placed in full “attack mode” for maximum downforce in the corners. This increases cornering speed, stability, and driver confidence which can lead to drastically lower lap times.
3. Upon hard braking, an active wing can also go vertical, transforming into an air brake. This assists the actual brakes, resulting in shorter stopping distances. It also keeps more weight in the rear of the car, again helping with stability and, especially in a rear-wheel drive car, improved corner exit speeds.
Photo Credit: Car Magazine (UK)
All three of these traits brought to the table by an active wing radically assist the driver and make the car faster in all aspects. The coolest thing is that, with the right programming, the wing does all three automatically with seamless transitions, and, did we mention how awesome they also look?
There has been speculation about Active Aero coming to the Corvette for several years now. These rumors were fueled by GM’s own patent filings which showed a sketch of a C7 fitted with advanced aerodynamic trickery. We think the top dog mid-engine offerings are the perfect place for the General to finally deploy this technology that can already be found on the majority of the world’s supercars.
For the last two days we’ve been in Corvette Heaven as we were invited by Chevrolet to come out to Las Vegas and test drive the 2020 Corvette Stingray. The test consisted of two parts that included a route through the Valley of Fire state park and then today we drove the new mid-engine sports cars at Spring Mountain Motor Resort & Country Club.
Today’s driving session culminated with the very talented instructors from the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School offering hot laps around the track. Each driver gave their passenger a demonstration of the capabilities of the new Corvette and those two fast laps started with engaging launch control as each car took to the track.
With 60% of the weight of the 2020 Corvette residing over the back wheels, the Launch Control demonstration shows just how quick these cars are able to put power to the pavement as those Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires quickly hook up to send the car on the track.
We will be traveling from Las Vegas to home in Tampa on Wednesday, but keep checking back as we got a lot of great photos and videos from our 2020 Corvette drive on deck!
Video by Keith Cornett
The Corvette Owner’s School at the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School will officially kick off its new program for the mid-engine 2020 Corvette with the first classes to start in April. And once again, Chevrolet is offering huge savings on the enhanced two-day program for just $1,000.
This announcement comes from Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club, home of the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with Chevrolet and Ron Fellows here at our world-class facility. There has been an incredible buzz around the 8th generation Corvette, and what better way to kick off 2020 and our twelfth year of the school, with the all-new mid-engine Corvette,” said John Morris, CEO and co-owner of Spring Mountain.
The new C8 Corvette program features a two-day curriculum designed to provide drivers of all experience levels the skills and techniques of performance driving. You will experience both classroom and on-track driving instruction in a manner that builds upon your skills and increases your confidence with each session. You will come away from the Spring Mountain experience more knowledgeable and confident in the incredible capabilities of the 2020 Corvette.
Located just 55 miles from downtown Las Vegas, the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School offers some of the most fun you can have in a Corvette. Tuition for the two-day class is only $1,000 and includes a one-night stay in one of Spring Mountain’s luxurious condominiums. Enjoy access to the clubhouse for meals and drinks with breakfast and lunch prepared by Spring Mountain’s onsite chef.
“Our entire team here at Spring Mountain are incredibly excited about the 8th generation Corvette and cannot wait to get the new Owners School program started. I know that everyone responsible for the day-to-day operations of our school are really looking forward to providing our outstanding service and a great overall experience showcasing the next-level engineering of the new mid-engine Corvette,” said Ron Fellows, charter member of Corvette Racing and co-founder of his school at Spring Mountain.
To book your C8 Corvette Owners School, Call 800 391-6891 or view online at www.CorvetteOwnersSchool.com
Check out this photo gallery from Spring Mountain featuring the 2020 Corvette Stingray Z51 Coupes on the track!
Source: Corvette Blogger
Barrett-Jackson sold the first C8 Corvette off the line for the Detroit Children’s Fund charity, and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick snapped it up.
- The Barrett-Jackson auction company got $3 million for the very first 2020 Chevrolet Corvette off the line at its January auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, with all proceeds going to a Detroit educational charity.
- The mid-engine C8 Corvette with VIN 001 gets the Z51 Performance package and the 495-hp 6.2-liter LT2 V-8, and the winning bidder was NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick.
- This same auction house sold the last C7 Corvette last spring and took in $2.7 million for a different charity.
UPDATE 1/19/20: NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick was the winning bidder, paying $3 million for C8 Corvette no. 1 at a high-spirited charity auction event on Saturday featuring GM CEO Mary Barra on the stage. Although the car present at the auction was red, Barrett-Jackson said the actual first car will be “a black-on-black Corvette 3LT loaded with every available option, scheduled to be built during the first quarter of 2020.”
We’ve seen this before: automakers offering the first example of a highly anticipated new model up for auction to benefit a charity. This time, General Motors will auction off the first mid-engine Corvette off the line at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale Auction in January. All proceeds will go to the Detroit Children’s Fund, which benefits underfunded Detroit public schools.
VIN 001 of the C8 Corvette Stingray is powered by a 495-hp 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 and is equipped with the Z51 performance package, which adds an electronically controlled limited-slip differential with a shorter final-drive ratio, Brembo brakes, a performance exhaust, heavy-duty cooling system, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires.
GM CEO Mary Barra and winning bidder Rick Hendrick pose during the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale on January 18.
There’s no doubt this example will go for well over the $59,995 starting price of the C8 Stingray. Only a few months ago, the final front-engine C7 Corvette sold for $2.7 million at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction in June, and the first Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 off the line sold for an insane $1.1 million at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction in January, both also for charity.
Source: Car and Driver; Conner Hoffman
If you’re waiting for an all new 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette, it’s only natural that you’re wondering when your allocation is going to come up. And, with production just now kicking off, it’s easy to wonder whether yours will be considered a 2020 or a 2021 model (and what pricing implications that will have on your bottom line.) I’m sure some of you have plenty of other questions too and now, thanks to Mike Furman – one of the most famous Corvette salesman in the world – we have some answers. Keep reading for a full update on the Chevy C8 Corvette and what’s going on behind the scenes.
CHEVY ISN’T PRODUCING C8’S SLATED FOR CUSTOMER DELIVERY YET
One of the most important things we’ve learned from Mr. Furman’s latest e-mail update is that Chevy’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant is exclusively producing C8 Corvettes, but none of them are going to make it into customer’s hands. According to Furman, all of the C8’s produced so far and those produced through the end of January, are all “captured test vehicles.” Now, no clarification beyond that was mentioned, but in most cases, these are the vehicles used to fine-tune the production process, make sure everything lines up the way it should, etc. Chevy could have other uses for these vehicles, but usually, they are destroyed or recycled once their purpose has passed.
IF YOUR ALLOCATION COMES AFTER THE 2021 MODEL YEAR SWITCH, YOU’LL PROBABLY PAY MORE
We all know that the initial 2020 models will be cheaper than subsequent model years, however, the difference in cost between the 2020 and 2021 models has yet to be revealed. In his latest E-mail, Mike Furman raised a very important point.
Pricing for 2021 models will probably go up, but historically GM has not raised the price by more than $2,500 year-to-year.
So, it won’t be outrageously more expensive if you receive a 2021 model over a 2020. And, as pointed out by Furman, the C8 Corvette landed at some $10,000 less than anyone expected anyway, so you’re getting one hell of a deal for a world-class sports car anyway.
C8 CORVETTE PRODUCTION FOR CUSTOMER CARS STARTS IN THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY
If you’re lucky enough to have one of the first customer car allocations (you’re probably not,) you could be riding around in your new Vette very soon.
The production of customer-bound cars starts in the first week of February and GM will begin delivery sometime after that.
And, if you were considering skipping the museum delivery because of not having paint film protection for the ride hone, you can now get XPEL applied at NCM Motorsports Park before you head our on your maiden voyage.
CHEVY IS LIMITED ENGINE TORQUE FOR 500 MILES BECAUSE YOU CAN’T FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS
When news about Chevy reducing torque in the C8 Corvette during the break-in period hit the net, some people lost their minds. Well, there’s a damn good reason that Chevy has to do it, and it boils down to the fact that people just don’t honor the break-in period as they should. As quoted on Mid-Engine Corvette Forum it has to do with ensuring that the break-in period is honored and, while torque will be reduced by 25-30 percent for around 500 miles, it doesn’t really affect performance that much:
“For the 8th generation Corvette, we have taken it a step farther. With more weight on the rear, the car has more traction and we take advantage of that with more aggressive gearing. That translates into more torque multiplication and more loads in the driveline. We decided for the first 500 miles to limit maximum torque in first and second gears. The torque reduction is roughly 25 to 30% depending on which transaxle (standard or Z51) and which gear. That may sound like a big reduction, but in reality the car is still really fast.”
The basic principle is that this is done to make sure the engine’s components wear properly during break-in and, ultimately, helps ensure the longevity of the engine. Apparently, Chevy is still going to ask customers to take it easy on the car during the break-in period too, so do yourself a favor and don’t get into it until you pass the golden 500-mile mark.
JAY LENO WAS THE FIRST NON-GM-EMPLOYEE TO DRIVE THE 2020 CHEVY C8 CROVETTE CONVERTIBLE Z51
ENJOY THE CHEVY C8 CORVETTE EXHAUST COMPILATION FROM DRIVE615
Source Robert Moore;Top Speed
The Corvette C8.R #4 driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, and Marcel Fässler at the Daytona Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway. The C8.R is Corvette’s first mid-engine race car.
The Corvette C8.R #4 driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, and Marcel Fässler at the Daytona Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway. The C8.R is Corvette’s first mid-engine race car.
The #3 Corvette C8.R driven by Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg at Daytona’s Roar Before the 24. The C8.R uses a 5.5-liter flat-plane crank engine different than the 6.2-liter push-rod engine that will be in the first production C8.
Chevy debuted the Corvette C8.R with the #3 and #4 cars. The race car gets lights in the lower fascia corners – where the production car has oil coolers. The #3 C8.R driven by Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg at Daytona’s Roar Before the 24.
At the Daytona Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, the #4 Corvette C8.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, and Marcel Fässler set fast time of the ‘Vettes – the time was just a tenth of a second off the fastest Ferrari.
The Corvette race car is lighter with more down-force (see the big wing) than the 3,647-pound production C8. The #3 Corvette C8.R driven by Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg at Daytona’s Roar Before the 24.
The Roar Before the 24 was the Corvette C8.R’s first outing in the IMSA Weathertech Series. The C8.R #4 driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, and Marcel Fässler.
The #3 Corvette C8.R driven by Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg negotiates the infield turns at Daytona’s Roar Before the 24. The C8.R hits speeds of 170 mph ion the oval.
Corvette Racing set for COTA-Sebring double FIA WEC run with C8.R
Corvette Racing looks set to contest the 1000 Miles of Sebring, in what would be the second consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship outing for the new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
Sportscar365 has learned that provisional plans are in place to run the Sebring WEC race alongside its two-car factory GT Le Mans class program in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring the following day.
It would come as one of the prerequisites from the ACO, which has stipulated that the Pratt & Miller-run team must run in at least two regular-season WEC races in order to be guaranteed a pair of GTE-Pro entries for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The team ran the Shanghai WEC race in 2018 in addition to Sebring last year with its previous-gen Corvette C7.R.
While declining to comment or confirm on any WEC plans beyond its COTA entry, Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan said that it’s been their intention to run two regular-season races in the 2019-20 WEC season.
“Right now, that’s the plan but we’re running down a road,” Fehan told Sportscar365.
“We haven’t refined what exactly that plan is going to be. I couldn’t give you every detail and widget.
“We’ve been busy for a couple of years trying to race and design, build and develop the new car. This adds to the challenge of all of that.
“I think most people would understand that we don’t have it completely defined yet.
“It’s a case of dealing it in an orderly fashion.
“We can’t become overwhelmed too much with what’s going on down the road when we have to focus on what we need to accomplish [in Daytona] in a couple of weeks.”
While set to give the new mid-engined GTE contender its competition debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month, the car’s second race will come just four weeks later at Circuit of The Americas, with a single entry having been submitted for the WEC replacement round.
Fehan said details on that program, including drivers, have yet to be determined.
He explained the reason for doing the additional WEC races is to “try as best we can” to support the globe-trotting championship.
“We understand the value that has to the sanctioning body and the value to the global fan base,” he said.
“We know it’s important but they also know the business side of it that prevents us from doing both things. They get that.
“I think they also appreciate how hard we’re trying to make all of the accommodations we can to keep the ball moving down the field.
“It’s not easy for us and they know it’s not easy for us and they appreciate that.”
No Issues in 2019 ‘Super Sebring’ Endeavor
Fehan said the team faced no issues in its double-duty endeavor at Sebring last year, in what was only the second-ever time the team raced three cars between two different series on the same weekend.
In addition to its over-the-wall crew and several other staff, drivers Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller took part in both Friday’s eight-hour WEC race and the around-the-clock IMSA enduro the day later.
“That worked out great,” Fehan said. “We were lucky because we had enough equipment.
“It’s not like you can piggyback what you have set up. You’ve got to have a completely additional set of stuff.
“Between stuff that we had in stock and stuff that we had for the Cadillac program, we had enough in place.
“That system is getting better and we learned from that on all the things we did right and all the things that we know we could improve upon.”
Source John Dagys; SportsCar365
The $60,000 Stingray pushes its engine to the middle and expectations through the roof.
From its dream-car debut in 1953 at the Motorama show at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, the Chevrolet Corvette has kept its engine up front, where sports-car tradition says it belongs.
But with sales of many fast, fun cars on the wane — blame the rise of dully practical S.U.V.s, an aging boomer audience or a declining car culture — the Corvette’s creators saw the need for a radical about-face. The 2020 Corvette Stingray has moved its engine behind the driver and passenger, adopting the physics-approved layout that brought Ferdinand Porsche his first racing successes in the 1930s. Today, this approach is associated with money-torching supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren.
The long-awaited “mid-engine” Corvette easily outruns its formidable predecessor, as I learned during a time-warping desert drive near Tortilla Flat, Ariz. The eighth-generation “C8” Corvette is earning rapturous reviews and dominating industry awards, as a car that can take on European exotics that cost $200,000 and more, but at a $59,995 base price that reads like a misprint.
“It’s certainly a great moment in the car business,” said Eddie Alterman, chief brand officer for Hearst Autos and a former editor in chief of Car and Driver. “It’s nothing less than the democratization of the supercar.”
At General Motors, that democratization includes a virtual decree that Chevy’s relatively blue-collar baby generate vastly more sales than, say, its Porsche 911 nemesis, enough to earn its keep in profits. Yet sales of sports cars and muscle cars have plunged by nearly half since 2000, on track for just 230,000 this year, according to analysts at Motor Intelligence. A reborn Toyota Supra, despite huge fanfare, has found a lukewarm 500 buyers a month since its summer debut, fewer than one-quarter of the expected 25,000 to 30,000 first-year sales of the Corvette.
At Porsche, a single sport utility vehicle, the Macan, finds more buyers than all the brand’s sports cars and Panamera sedans combined. Unsurprisingly, the world’s speed merchants, including Lamborghini, Bentley and Jaguar, have developed S.U.V.s into their best-sellers around the world, with entries from Aston Martin and Ferrari on the way. Some of those companies had vowed to never sully their names with a sport utility. Never mind.
Into this minefield steps Tadge Juechter. As just the fourth chief engineer in the Corvette’s fabled 67-year history, Mr. Juechter holds one of the most scrutinized positions in the American industry, his every utterance parsed for clues to the ’Vette’s future.
The previous-generation Corvette, the first to wear the Stingray badge since 1968, also generated robust sales beginning in 2014. Yet Mr. Juechter and his team saw a car nearing its end, both in technical terms and its ability to win new buyers.
“We saw an aging demographic, the same faces at Corvette events year after year,” he said.
That honking, 6.2-liter V8 up front had become an Achilles’ heel. The Corvette’s top-shelf, $121,000 ZR1 edition was already pumping out 755 horsepower, keeping pace in an unprecedented industry horsepower war. Moving the engine aftward — shifting critical weight over driven rear wheels — became the only way to apply such monstrous force to the pavement while improving traction and stability.
The move risked alienating the Corvette’s tradition-loving buyer base. At a design clinic for owners of various sports cars, Mr. Juechter discovered that current customers were split roughly 50-50 on the mid-engine switch. But among supercar owners that Chevy hoped to conquer, 90 percent favored it.
“We had to go for it,” Mr. Juechter said. “We did it purely for physics rules, but the byproduct was that it would also appeal to a new generation. We try to respect the past, but not be stuck in the past.”
G.M. had teased the faithful for decades, experimenting with a midmounted layout in a series of fanciful prototypes, beginning with the CERV 1 (for Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle) in 1959. Finally, for the 2020 model year, the near-mythical mid-engine Corvette is here, including the coupe’s Ferrari-esque view of its V8, provocatively exposed below a glass cover.
The public’s first glimpse of the car, in April, supported the Corvette engineering team’s confidence. Mr. Juechter drove a prototype, its body work disguised by a black-and-white pattern, through a bustling Times Square, with Mary Barra, the G.M. chief, riding shotgun. Rolling, windows down, Mr. Juechter heard younger voices yelling, “Mid-engine Corvette!”
“We imprinted on young people a super passion for this car,” he said. “Our job is to push that, that every drive can be a joy, an adventure.”
Dodging Times Square tourists and Ubers in a 495-horsepower, roughly 190-m.p.h. sports car is one form of adventure. But in my Arizona test, including roller-coaster desert curves, this new model combined moonshot acceleration, handling, tech and versatility like no rival remotely near its price. That includes a 2.8-second catapult to 60 miles an hour, on a par with a $250,000 Ferrari 488 GTB; a sharply improved, jet-fighter-inspired cockpit; and a GPS-based video data system that records street or track drives, overlays them with animated telemetry readouts and lets drivers analyze their performance with racing software.
“It doesn’t have the operatic Sturm und Drang of a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but it really is an everyday supercar,” Mr. Alterman said.
Fuel economy is surprisingly decent, roughly 26 to 28 miles per gallon at a steady highway cruise. The Corvette is notably aerodynamic, and can deactivate half its cylinders to save fuel. The latest driver-adjustable magnetic suspension, a G.M.-first technology now adopted by several European exotics, lets the ’Vette drive as smoothly as some luxury cars in its Touring mode, despite the sleeping-bear V8 just over your shoulder.
“It couldn’t be just a weekend toy,” Mr. Juechter said. “A lot of people use this as their only car.”
Perhaps because do-it-all S.U.V.s are strong-arming sales — and definitely because today’s fans won’t put up with punishing rides or dodgy reliability — the worldwide trend is all about more practical sports cars that are safe and approachable for amateurs, yet still rewarding for skilled pilots.
Many mid-engine exotics lack a trunk, because the engine hogs the space. Yet Corvette designers made room for a trunk that can fit two golf bags, in addition to the Porsche-style “frunk” up front where the engine used to go.
Even the carefree convertible model doesn’t neglect its chores, with an ingenious powered soft-top that tucks away without stealing an inch of luggage space. Welcome practicality does bring a visual downside: The wide, chunky rear deck makes the ’Vette a bit back heavy.
Proper fits aside, wishful fans didn’t find a little red-ribboned Corvette under their Christmas tree: A now-settled G.M. strike has delayed production until February. For Chevy’s pampered halo car, only about 12 units each hour will roll off the production line in Bowling Green, Ky., down the road from the National Corvette Museum.
In anticipation of huge demand, more than 400 workers have been hired to fill a second daily shift, including employees laid off from Chevy’s closed plant in Lordstown, Ohio. (G.M. plans to open a new battery plant there, part of a $2.3 billion joint venture with LG Chem of South Korea.)
Mr. Juechter is confident that Chevrolet can sell every Corvette it can build, for now. The real test comes after the initial frenzy subsides. Mr. Alterman points to an increasingly short, roughly 18-month shelf life for such high-profile performers, with fickle buyers and collectors always in pursuit of the hot new thing. He sees the Corvette borrowing from Porsche’s ultra-profitable playbook, keeping the lineup fresh with myriad styles, performance upgrades and personalization options.
Though Mr. Juechter wouldn’t comment on future models, the cottage industry of Corvette rumors cites development of a hybrid ’Vette with up to 900 horsepower.
The dominance of S.U.V.s and the momentous shift to electrics has automakers playing offense.
Aside from an industry explosion of superpowered sport utilities, Ford ignited a controversy when it unveiled a Tesla-baiting electric S.U.V. and called it the Mustang Mach E. The traditional Mustang is enjoying its own golden age of performance, including a bonkers Shelby GT500 with 760 horsepower and an affordable four-cylinder model that gets 32 m.p.g. on the highway. Yet Mustang sales continue to tumble.
And while traditionalists are crying foul over the Mustang Mach E — first S.U.V.s stole customers, now they’re stealing legendary names — Mr. Alterman suggests that this heresy won’t be the last. A five-seat, Corvette-branded S.U.V. could be the most “everyday supercar” of all.
“You’ve got that sub-brand of the Mustang that’s so evocative,” he said, “so why not draw on it? There’s an opportunity for Chevy to do the same thing.”
Original Source Lawrence Ulrich; NY Times
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.
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
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
Photo Credit: Kevlar Bike- Corvette Forum
Inside General Motors’ headquarters known as the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit is a large turntable that is currently featuring all eight generations of the Chevrolet Corvette. The new eighth-generation iteration of America’s Favorite Sports Car is a 2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible painted in Shadow Gray Metallic.
A Youtuber named portcarlingboats captured a minute of video as the new C8 Convertible spins by him on the turntable.
The visible cues on this Corvette show that it’s a non-Z51 model but it’s loaded with some great looking options that include the two-tone Natural and Black seats, Spectra Gray Trident Wheels and red brake calipers. We also prefer the bright Corvette emblems to the the darker versions on this exterior.
From portcarlingboats via YouTube:
Corvette C8 convertible on display at the GM Headquarters in Detroit Michigan on Sat Nov 23 2019; part of 8 generations of corvette convertibles on a rotating display from 1953 to today; C8 supercar, exotic car, european sports car; this is the car that will change the automotive for years to come; can’t wait for the all electric version to come- No sound
On his original post on the Corvette Forum, Kevlar Bike tells us he is Canadian and that the C8 Corvette on display inside the GM’s HQ is the closest C8 Corvette on display so he made the trip to check it out.
Shadow Gray is one of those colors that change drasticly when viewed in the direct sunlight and the lightings inside the RenCen does nothing to show-off the varying hues within. As a comparision, here is a quick walkaround of a Shadow Gray Metallic C8 at the NCM earlier this year from CorvetteBlogger contributor Jeremy Welborn:
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
If you ever doubted the significance of the upcoming mid-engine Corvette, take a look at MotorTrend’s Power List for 2020, a compilation of the 50 most important names in the auto industry.
On the strength of leading the design of MotorTrend’s 2020 Car of the Year, the 2020 Corvette Stingray, Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, unranked on the 2019 list, zoomed to the No. 4 spot in the 2020 ranking – ahead of two of his bosses, General Motors President Mark Reuss, who came in at No. 28, and GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, who ranked No. 6.
Said MotorTrend of Juechter:
“Juechter was able to squeeze the final dollops of power out of the C7 Corvette and then create a whole new beast: the long-awaited C8 with a mid-engine to increase power and performance. Despite all the tech, he engineered an affordable everyman’s supercar: 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds for $60,000.”
Reuss, who moved up from No. 32 in 2019, earned the following praise from MT:
“Reuss is managing the day-to-day for an automaker as focused on the Corvette and Silverado as the goal to put 1 million electric vehicles on the road annually while developing autonomous vehicles and still making a profit. It means overseeing a leaner company going forward to fund the expensive tech.”
Barra, meanwhile, tumbled from the No. 1 spot in 2019 but still earned serious kudos from the magazine:
“Barra continues to be the tough, shrewd, and strategic leader that GM needs to remain profitable while investing heavily in electric and autonomous vehicles. Her decisive, no-nonsense approach has led to unpopular decisions to discontinue models, stop production, and cut jobs to meet long-term financial goals.”
Another GM leader, Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevera, was unranked in 2019 but made it to No. 23 for 2020.
MotorTrend says of her:
“In charge of GM’s finance department since 2018, Suryadevara is pivotal in achieving annual cost reductions of $4.5 billion through 2020—ensuring the automaker has the resources for ambitious EV and autonomous vehicle plans while keeping things running during a protracted labor strike.”
At the top of the 2020 list is MotorTrend’s Person of the Year, someone you may never have heard of, Peter Schreyer, President, Head of Design Management, for Hyundai Motor Group.
Writes MotorTrend of its No. 1 pick:
“Schreyer once said he wishes he could be a painter. The MotorTrend 2020 Person of the Year has taken a Korean canvas and created a masterpiece.”
Original source: Mitch Talley, CorvetteBlogger
Production of the new mid-engine 2020 Corvette Stingray was expected to start the week of December 2nd. But then the UAW strike happened, which pushed the earliest TPWs (Target Production Weeks) for those buyers with accepted orders back to January 20th at the earliest. Others have reported that updates to their TPWs pushed the start of their cars into February.
But now that the strike is over and the Corvette Assembly Plant has reopened, things are starting to get back to normal. After several days to assess their current situation, the Corvette team may be getting ready to make new adjustments to the current Corvette orders.
Over the last two days, we’ve heard from customers and dealers alike who have reported that current orders no longer have any Target Production Weeks attached them. Dealers are saying there are no TPWs in the order system.
This sounds like good news to us.
The Corvette Assembly Plant still has to knock out the remaining C7 orders, and plant spokesperson Rackel Bagshaw confirmed earlier this week that the plant will be down from November 18th – December 6th for C8 retooling.
If that’s the case, then perhaps we’ll see the first TPWs shifted back to December 2019. That would be fantastic news as then the strike would have only delayed the start of C8 production by just a week. Of course, the flip side is that TPWs could be moved even further into 2020 which is a very real possibility as well. Stay tuned on this and for those of you with orders, be patient!
Keith Cornett; CorvetteBlogger
Eleven worthy competitors, one surprising winner.
Crowning the Road & Track Performance Car of the Year is not an easy task. Each fall, we gather every new or revised performance car that we can get our hands on. While some of these candidates naturally worm into our hearts, this is more than a popularity contest—the award doesn’t simply go to the machine we like the most or the one we think is the coolest. PCOTY is about looking to the future and finding the car that provides the most hope for the enthusiast: a machine that offers everything you expect of a modern vehicle yet still tugs at the heart.
To pick a winner, we used the following criteria:
- Outright speed and testing numbers are part of the package, but they don’t determine the winner. Beyond sheer pace, a car has to bring emotion to the table.
- The car must embrace track duty while still being enjoyable on the road.
- Technology has to be used in service of the driver, not just added speed. Feedback and sensation via complexity is great, but complexity alone doesn’t cut it.
- Lastly, we ask ourselves, would any other manufacturer build it? Does the car feel uniquely of its story and brand, with a personality all its own?
This year’s test saw 11 cars join us for two days at Northern California’s Thunderhill Raceway Park. A staff vote at the end of our track time cut the field to six contenders. Those six were then road-tripped on a winding, demanding test route through the Sierra Nevada, ending at Lake Tahoe. A final vote at the end of the journey determined the winner.
You might be wondering why we elected to conduct track testing first this year. Past PCOTY contests have tested cars on the road first, then trekked to a closed course. Our current method gave the staff a chance to drive every car in similar conditions, learning their limits in a safe, controlled environment.
When it came to lap times, we enlisted a licensed club racer with no Thunderhill experience: me. We did this for a reason, and it wasn’t to build my ego. Most of our readers are not pro drivers. When you buy a new car, a professional’s lap time at any track is an interesting metric, but it’s rarely reflective of a normal person’s experience. We wanted to stress accessibility and adaptability. How easy is it to get up to speed in a given car? How communicative is the car? Is it hard to learn the quirks? Under the watchful eyes of our testing staff, every PCOTY contender got a quick warm-up session to set tire pressures, then no more than seven timed laps. Just enough to establish a representative lap and suss idiosyncrasies, not enough to set a record.
Of course, no method is perfect. Ambient temperature during our lapping day started at around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and eventually hit 107. That kind of heat doesn’t help lap speed, and it ensured that late runners needed shorter stints, as times immediately dropped off. While I made every attempt to, as one of our contributors once said, “underserve all the cars equally,” most amateur drivers will get faster over the course of a day at a track they had never before seen, learning the pavement’s nuances, and I am no exception. With those caveats in mind, it’s best to view the lap times as bellwether, not absolute. A loose guide to judge the spectacular machinery on these pages.
In the end, that’s the key. We hold PCOTY testing each year as reason to celebrate the future of the performance car, not lament it. The industry is undergoing transformation. More than ever, regulations try to force automakers into a box. Consumer trends lean toward amorphous appliances. At Road & Track, we drive hundreds of new cars each year, which means our affection for hydraulic steering, natural aspiration, lightweight efficiency, and a good, old-fashioned stick shift is tested on a regular basis.
Yet look at the field we have here. These cars are proof that there’s still plenty to be excited about. None of them fade into the background or aim to remove you from the experience. In a time when we’re told that the driverless car is around the corner, these machines put the driver squarely at the front of the experience. As it should be.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is this PCOTY thing?
One of this magazine’s crown jewels: A racetrack. A multi-day road route covering hundreds of miles. A king anointed among the year’s most significant new sports and exotic cars. Our priorities are emotion, engineering cohesion, relevance, and price, in that order. Plus beef jerky. (It’s a road trip. There’s always beef jerky.)
It’s not cheap. While fast cars have to work in cities, they’re most effectively and safely tested in the middle of nowhere. In this case, that meant shipping employees and equipment to a remote location, then orchestrating hotels, food, support vehicles, data collection, and two photographers. (Plus we spent $5 on giant stick-on googly eyes.)
That was senior editor Zach Bowman. Never give a Tennessean a corporate card in a Walmart.
Did you stick them on something?
One of the dim-looking minivans we use for chase and photography.
What did that poor van do to you?
Not much. But Bowman did walk out of that Walmart with a CD copy of Black Sabbath’s 1970 masterpiece Paranoid, because he wanted to hear “War Pigs” at ear-bleed level while wearing aviator sunglasses and doing van burnouts at stoplights.
That sounds awfully specific.
PCOTY is all about specifics. And generals gathered in their masses.
I’m sure nothing went wrong.
One staffer “ran out of pavement” (his words) and put the McLaren off at Thunderhill. (No one was hurt, and the car was fine.) The Lexus and Lotus got flat tires. And one of our vans was broken into in San Francisco—they took deputy editor Bob Sorokanich’s backpack, but not the copy of Paranoid. Editor-at-large Sam Smith left an open bag of Haribo gummy bears in the van during the break-in and then grumped for a bit because the bag had broken glass in it.
Was Bob upset?
Smith was heartbroken.
Who are the other mooks here?
Staff mooks joined by contributing mooks! Some adept at track driving, others with a penchant for sussing out a car’s foibles on the road. While a few fancy themselves engineers, others have actual engineering know-how. But all love sports cars and have strong opinions about which end of the Corvette should house the engine. You could say each participant brought a very particular set of skills.
Like Liam Neeson in Taken.
Only with more Lamborghini. And Bob, a professional editor who intimidates approximately nobody, speaking calmly about his backpack theft. (“I have a particular set of skills with… adjectives.”)
Why Thunderhill Raceway Park?
It’s a perfect arena. Demanding of both driver and car, modern, safe. Plus great roads in spitting distance.
The mid-engine Corvette: how’d you get a car so rare and new?
We asked to borrow a preproduction C8 from GM. They said yes, with caveats. The Corvette had minders, and they took the car back each night, checking it over. We also had to agree to an embargo, keeping drive impressions confidential for weeks.
What a peek behind the curtain! Got any more secrets?
Maybe! Ask Matt Farah about his superpower. Ask Bowman why he had an obsession with Gatorade Limon Pepino. And whatever you do, don’t ask Smith and Jason Cammisa what happens when Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia” hits the radio on a road trip. They will demonstrate. And you will regret it.
This year’s PCOTY field was one of our strongest, but as with every year, there were notable absences. The absentees generally fall into one of three categories: the car you’re thinking of wasn’t launched as a new vehicle in the year preceding PCOTY testing (and was thus ineligible), the manufacturer wouldn’t lend us one (privately owned test cars are impractical), or the car in question just isn’t any good. Here are the models that received invitations but couldn’t make the party.
2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera: A lightweight DB11 with 715 hp. Aston elected to not participate in the test.
2020 Audi R8: The first facelifted R8s arrived in the U.S. a week before our test. Sadly, there wasn’t enough time to get one shipped to Thunderhill.
2020 BMW M8: The new flagship M car was first shown in June, but BMW only made it available for review (in Europe) the same week as PCOTY.
2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo: The 710-hp V-8 from the wild, track-focused 488 Pista, in a more road-oriented package. Ferrari couldn’t provide one during our test window.
2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Supercharged V-8 and hellacious speed, but Ford didn’t provide test cars to journalists until a month after PCOTY testing.
2019 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro:
A track-attack version of a car already known for circuit prowess. Only hitch: the first GT R Pros didn’t cross the Atlantic until the tail end of 2019, after this issue shipped to the printer.
2020 Polestar 1: A 600-hp, hybrid, carbon-bodied GT from Volvo’s new electric-performance offshoot. Polestar wasn’t ready to let us borrow one, but don’t worry—we’ll drive it soon.
2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4: On paper, a PCOTY front-runner. Which is a shame, because Porsche had no test cars in the country.
2020 Subaru WRX STI S209: The WRX STI might be a few years old, but the S209 promises to be the best version yet. Subaru held a media test event for the car during PCOTY week, so its loaner 209s were all tied up.
We love bleeding-edge science experiments from companies like Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Pagani, and Rimac, but hypercars just don’t fit the spirit of this particular test. Mostly because of their near-unattainable prices. We’ve made exceptions in the past, due to circumstance or serendipity (last year’s PCOTY included a McLaren Senna, for example), but in this case, we preferred to avoid the archetype.
Where We Drove
We based the 2020 Performance Car of the Year test out of Willows, California, mostly for the town’s proximity to Thunderhill Raceway. The staff of this magazine spent two days there, setting lap times and evaluating the competitors in the rolling grass north of Sacramento.
Two days at any track is a blessing, but turning laps is less than half of what makes a sports car compelling. Everything about a Lotus or a McLaren hints at where the machine might take you, the lines of the thing whispering how the two of you might burn a tank of fuel. Or three.
We were aiming for gold country. Those mountains played stage to the 1800s boom that brought more than 300,000 people to Northern California in search of a fortune. By 1855, the rush had largely turned to bust, the masses vanishing as quickly as they had appeared. Those people left plenty behind—mostly vestigial towns dotting the hills, but also a spiderweb of wagon-route roads connecting them. On a map, the highways look like sports-car catnip. We only had to get there.
The farmland around Willows is flat and drab, fruit orchards aligned in dusty grids. Our unlikely caravan shot through it in the morning, over Highway 162, a thin needle across the state’s Central Valley, from Willows to Oroville. It’s strange and beautiful, home to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. Great egrets loped through the wetlands on either side of the highway. They chased their reflections for one slow-motion moment, then turned skyward.
Whatever envy we felt only lasted as long as it took us to make our way to Highway 70. The two-lane runs vaguely northeast, winding up and through a fir forest from Oroville. A year ago, the Camp Fire, California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire, devoured the landscape, and the place still shows the scars of it. Gutted stone homes, black tree trunks like charcoal scrawls. But that road is a work of art, the pavement stitched to the north fork of the Feather River as it pools and falls down the mountain.
The water runs through the core of California’s mother lode, a seam of gold-rich land just three miles wide but more than 120 miles long. John Bidwell found gold in the Feather in 1848 just outside Oroville, creating what would become Bidwell’s Bar, one of the richest mines in the area. Three years later, the place was home to 2000 miners, each aimed at digging money from the ground.
The radio crackled. It was contributor Matt Farah.
“I don’t know who picked this road, but it’s spectacular.”
Farah is a Californian, an East Coast transplant who lives in Venice Beach. He’s a journalist and R&T contributor who spends his days driving around the state, and there we were, on a stretch of pavement he’d never seen. Proof that a hundred lifetimes wouldn’t show you every inch of California. When we stopped for a driver change, the judges gathered on the side of the road. We’re all prone to big gestures and loud voices, but something about that place, the sound of the water and the stillness of those trees, kept us quieter than usual, our vocabularies sapped by the sight of Northern California at its finest. Editor-at-large Sam Smith looked down at the Feather, a coil of green basins. “I can’t believe this is in the same state as Los Angeles.”
Some of our favorite roads are wedded to water, and Highway 70 is one of the best. We chased it upstream for better than an hour. It was already autumn in the hills, the light sharp and clear as it filtered through the trees and splashed over our windshields. Far below, sunbathers and fishermen sat on the banks in the sunlight, oblivious to our passing as the road writhed over steel-trestle bridges and through old stone tunnels.
We paused in Quincy for fuel, the cars jockeying for pumps. The day before, in Willows, it had been 107 degrees, but we’d been gaining elevation with every switchback, and the air now sat closer to 50. None of us dressed warmly enough, but we didn’t care. Every convertible had its top back and the heat cranked, an idiot grin glowing from the driver’s seat. We left the gas station and took off toward Quincy’s main street, then hung a right on Highway 119. The road abandoned the river and climbed further into the ragged mountains.
Up there, teetering snow poles marked the shoulder, placed to guide plows through the winter. They towered over the cars. Suddenly, the sepia photos we saw in every convenience store made sense: 1930s Fords and ’40s Buicks parked beside 20-foot walls of ice and snow.
Highway 119 spilled onto the long, windswept Bucks Lake, and we arrived in a blink, settling into the gravel lot at Lakeshore Resort, a small restaurant and lodge on the shore. With the cars tucked in next to local pickups, we headed inside for lunch. The restaurant’s back patio was drenched in that crackling sunlight that seems so particular to Northern California afternoons. Iced tea arrived by the pitcher, and we washed down burgers as bald eagles circled the lake.
Senior editor Kyle Kinard looked out over the water, whitecaps forming on the surface, whipped up by a far-off wind. He had planned the route, arriving weeks before to scout the path and lay out a map.
“I don’t know how to say this without overselling what’s coming, but it gets better from here.”
After lunch, we turned onto Highway 120 toward La Porte, another wonder. Tighter even than the climb to Bucks Lake, the pavement ascending thousands of feet. In some spots, the road narrowed to one lane, the pavement necking between sheer rock walls and thick stands of trees. One moment, we dived into a set of wooded hairpins. The next, we broke into a clearing above a thousand-foot drop. Kinard was right.
The rest of the day carried on the same. A series of exclamation points. After the mountain, the road unwound, Highway 120’s tight bends making way for a river of fresh tarmac. The trees thinned, replaced by golden fields and stocky barns covered in flaking red paint. The caravan dropped into high gear, enjoying a few miles of lazy pace as the sun set.
Night descended as we made our way toward Tahoe, parading through one camp town after another. We caught Highway 49 through Tahoe National Forest, the trees turning to dark pillars in the fading light. The cooler air made for eager engines, exhausts popping and echoing through the woods. The group spread out, and it wasn’t until we caught up to each other at a stop sign, leading onto a highway, that someone noted we had all been running windows down, stereos off.
We called it a night outside Truckee, filling the garage and driveway of an Airbnb house with more than half a million dollars of sports cars. Editor-in-chief Travis Okulski stood in the drive for a moment, hands in his pockets, surveying the cars as everyone gathered luggage.
“This whole day has been like a movie,” he said.
It was true. We’d run through a series of driving bests. We had watched the roads spiral and contract, fell head over heels for a corner of California as the sun sank low. How many perfect days behind the wheel do you get, really? Sports cars demand so much from your life. Time. Space. Money. They don’t fit the family. They cannot brave a Costco run. Most spend their days slogging through a commute or languishing in a garage. But a good run up a clear bit of asphalt can wipe all that away. A day of it is the stuff of fantasy.
When we woke the next morning, we found ourselves with a pile of sports cars in the heart of some of the country’s best driving. We loaded up again and pointed at Donner Pass. California can be an insufferable place. Expensive and full of itself, but also so gorgeous it hurts, packed with more perfect roads per mile than anywhere else in the nation. The route up the pass felt as precious as all that ore Bidwell and his miners pulled out of those ridges. From up there, Donner Lake shone in the sun, reflecting that unreal California sky back at itself. We parked the cars and marveled.
You rip toward Turn 1. The straight is shorter than it looks. Fourth gear, though, at the end. Then into the first corner, a tight left-right combo. Looks like a needle-thread: Huck the car in, all the brake for the right, trailing it, maybe, to keep the nose under you in the corner’s second half. Don’t put it in the grass; people put it in the grass here. (Remember the old saw: don’t look for the wall, or you’ll find it.)
Uphill to the right after that. Turn 2, a third-gear left that goes on forever, painted across a hill. Camber will probably make the car push wide in the midcorner, the nose indifferent and light, and then the front tires set, third or fourth gear as the corner opens into the downhill straight that follows, the tail on casters.
Delicacy! Two corners in, it’s obvious: this place wants finesse.
Turn 3 leaps into your face. Overslowing will happen, because it looks tighter than it is. Mountains to the west, filling the windshield. The first time through 3, you realize you can straight-line the sucker, ripping over the curb. Some cars fly a wheel or two. Then the track changes again, blind, Turns 4 and 5, undulating pavement and no camber where you need it, big grassy berms on exit. The car doesn’t turn, then it turns too much. Turn 5 pinches down and seems to want you in that dirt. It’s a quick transition, but you have to keep your hands tidy or the car won’t settle enough to stay on the pavement.
A breath. Bit of a break, the track seems to open up here.
Six seems normal. It’s not. Your first time through here is also a wake-up, a realization as the pavement appears: 6 connects to 7! So you place the car properly or run out of road when you least expect, committed to a line you can’t see, the exit over a hill. There are divots in the grass at the exit, bites in the dirt where people have tried to hit it early, snipe a little more speed on entry, a little more room on the way out.
Seven is a tight left, arm over arm. Doesn’t feel right and probably can’t. Eight and 9 are waiting games. You go up and over the blind-right 8, cresting a hill at the apex, taillights light. Down into a tight, grippy right for 9, and finally the slow, hard left of 10, a release onto the straight.
It feels like walking through an open door—all that paved runoff, hands unwound as soon as you can, right mirror almost kissing the tires stacked next to the wall. The car yelling its guts out, waiting for 1 again. Lot going on here, you think, passing the flag stand. Do it better next time, your inner voice says, as you wrap that first lap.
And with every one after.
Mazda Miata RF 1:34.64
Hyundai Veloster N 1:31.44
Toyota Supra 1:28.93
Lexus RC F Track 1:27.56
BMW M2 Competition 1:26.91
Lotus Evora GT 1:25.35
Nissan GT-R Nismo 1:23.80
Porsche 911 Carrera S 1:23.08
Chevrolet Corvette 1:22.83
McLaren 600LT 1:20.42
Lamborghini Huracán Evo 1:20.00
We Chose a Hyundai
A Hyundai hatchback, over some of the most significant supercars of our era. Over the second coming of the Toyota Supra, an all-new Porsche 911, and even that beast of myth and legend, the mid-engine Corvette.
It seems impossible. But before you set this magazine on fire and use it to light a pitchfork-lined path to our door, understand that the Hyundai was not the convenient answer.
Politics and popular opinion all but demanded we hand our laurels to a brand with a dusty pedigree. Over the course of PCOTY testing, each of our judges squirreled away feelings on the hatchback, guarding them from others for fear of ridicule or expulsion. But the truth is simple: the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N is a greater celebration of the philosophies we treasure than any other new vehicle.
Let me explain.
There were 11 cars, handpicked and brilliant. They had to prove capable and engaging on the two undulating miles of Thunderhill Raceway Park’s West track before we’d set them loose on our demanding public-road test route. After two days of track time, only six cars would be allowed to join us on the street drive.
The job should have been easy work for machines like the McLaren 600LT, the Lamborghini Huracán Evo, and the Nissan GT-R NISMO, but 2019 was a big year for sports cars. The Supra has returned. The Chevrolet Corvette is mid-engine for the first time. And the Porsche 911 has entered an all-new generation, a sharper, stronger iteration of the world’s most versatile fast car. The others were no less honed, representing every facet of performance, from affordable gems like the Mazda Miata RF Club and the Hyundai, to serious hardware like the sleeper BMW M2 Competition, the bristling Lexus RC F Track, and the exotic, focused Lotus Evora GT.
We’ve never had such a competitive or disparate group of vehicles, each with an honest shot at taking home the prize. This isn’t an editor’s-choice award or a lap-time sprint for gold. Road & Track’s Performance Car of the Year must work well on a track, but it can’t be a one-trick pony; excellent apex behavior must give way to on-road competence. And most of all, a PCOTY winner has to use its technology in service of driver emotion, not just loftier speed. Automakers are increasingly occupied with deleting humanity from the automotive experience, and these days, speed is easy. The harder job is building a car worth driving.
So the Supra should have won, right? It’s a fast, ultra-modern coupe pointed directly at people like us. The Supra nameplate, with its long and storied history, is now engineered in concert with a company—BMW—that rose to prominence selling “the Ultimate Driving Machine.”
Except the Toyota didn’t win. Our judges voted it out, almost unanimously, in the initial cut. The car didn’t leave the track.
Why? How? The Supra is a magnet, low and small and absolutely electric, our testers trying to hide their excitement at simply seeing the thing, let alone driving it. But there’s not much Supra here—none of the name’s legendary solidity and brawn—or even much Toyota. The chassis and driveline are shared with the BMW Z4; the badge on the hood has a BMW part number. The interior smells like a BMW. And despite the Toyota-specific suspension and driveline tune, the car suffers from the same maladies that plague most modern BMWs.
Not that it isn’t seriously fast. Editor-in-chief Travis Okulski took the Supra to a ripping 1:28.93 around Thunderhill West, only a few tenths slower than the more powerful RC F Track. Much of the Supra’s time came from its spectacular front-end grip and precision, the front tires responsive and predictable, though filtered through dead steering. But the real problem is in how the thing does its job. At the limit, it can be twitchy and distant.
“The Toyota somehow manages to be joyless,” editor-at-large Sam Smith said, after his first session. “There’s no reward for focus, no incentive to be a hooligan… It doesn’t feel like any fast Toyota I’ve driven. None of the confidence or unflappability of a second- or third-generation Supra.”
Some of this likely lies at the feet of the car’s maker—without undoing a single fastener, we counted 28 separate uses of the word “BMW,” or the BMW logo, under the Supra’s hood. For a few years now, the Bavarians have been content to turn out cars the mechanical equivalent of the music student who can hit every note at recital but still miss the point of a piece. No surprise, then, that the BMW M2 Competition suffers some of the Supra’s pitfalls, despite clocking an impressive 1:26.91. With 405 hp, the 3600-pound M2 is far from slow, but BMW seems to have worked hard to isolate the driver. All that hustle occurs through a cotton filter. The steering is light and vague. The extra grunt and suspension stiffness over the discontinued, 365-hp base M2 are part of a wholesale trade, exchanging a bit of that car’s talk for straight-line speed and a willingness to drift.
“I have mixed feelings,” contributor Ross Bentley said. “It’s not a bad car, just not what it should be. Good brakes, a little too much understeer. It gives confidence because it’s not going to do anything bad.”
A shame, because nearly everyone praised the M2’s slick gearbox and perfectly positioned pedals. Proof that deep down, BMW still remembers the pleasure of a manual transmission. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to make the cut for the road portion of the test. Heartbreaking for a group of judges packed with BMW owners.
And those cars weren’t alone. PCOTY always carries a few surprises and underdogs. The Lexus RC F was out of its depth in this company, but we adored the car’s audacity, its snorty V-8 and too-stiff chassis. It’s a perfect caricature of a Dodge Challenger: great and hilarious, but unrefined and outshined.
Nothing paints a clearer picture of the field’s competitiveness than the strengths of the vehicles left behind. Five cars had to go, and the Lexus was too flawed to stay. Same for the Nissan GT-R NISMO. Who cares that the GT-R is now in its 12th model year? The Nissan is effortlessly fast and laugh-out-loud entertaining. Of all the six-digit cars on hand, it was also the only one that didn’t come with an army of factory minders. Just one guy in a Nissan Armada carrying an extra set of tires. When we asked him if we should make any concessions for the test’s 107-degree heat, maybe bleed off tire pressures, he just shrugged and smiled.
“Nah, it’ll be fine.”
It was. Despite being the heaviest car in the running, the 3865-pound GT-R popped a 1:23.80, less than a second behind both the Porsche and the Corvette. Nissan has improved the car almost every year since its 2007 launch, taking it from distant missile to talkative weapon. The NISMO feels like an old friend, but this year’s updates weren’t enough to keep its head above water. A great car outdone by exceptional ones.
The Lamborghini was also glorious, but it didn’t leave the track, either. Prior to PCOTY, most of us had only experienced the 630-hp, V-10-powered Huracán Evo on public streets, where phrases like “involuntary manslaughter” and “reckless endangerment” shackle you to what’s possible. Unleashed on a closed circuit, the Evo proved its abilities. Miraculous and terrifying ones, mostly. Violent shifts that echo like small-arms fire. Acceleration that rummages through your stomach to see what you had for lunch. That all-wheel-drive system performs the unnatural with a shrug, thanks partly to a front end that feels stitched to the ground. And when you think you’ve come to the edge of that ocean of traction, the Lamborghini digs around in its cupboard and produces another pitcher of the stuff. Trip into a slide, the car almost catches itself, despite feeling big as a city block.
The Evo was hands-down the fastest car around the course. The sound chased it from corner to corner, a Doppler flag marking position. In a field packed with muted and turbocharged exhaust notes, that barking, naturally aspirated engine could not have stood further apart.
“Lamborghinis are supposed to be all style and no substance,” said contributing editor Jason Cammisa. “This has both in equal measure.”
Okulski had just stepped from the car after his laps when Smith cornered him, curious.
“Remember 2018’s Huracán Performante?” Okulski asked.
“Yeah. Sublime. Nothing wrong with it,” Smith said.
“This is better.”
The only problem lurked on pit lane in white paint. A cannon that bumped the Lamborghini from the list of finalists despite being slower around the track. From its nonsensical doors and carbon-fiber buckets to its airy cockpit and turbocharged, theatrical V-8, the McLaren 600LT managed to out-occasion the Huracán at every turn. The LT had the same lightning acceleration, just married to a lithe chassis and the most tactile steering in the business.
Switching from McLaren to Lamborghini was like trading skin and bone for a pattern of pixels. And while the ever-stable Huracán seems to always have a guiding hand on your back, the McLaren could not care less if you chased your dumbest instincts. Drop the hammer in a second-gear hairpin and it does exactly what a 592-horse rear-driver should: spit you sideways in smoke and noise, the limiter kicking at your skull. The British car accomplished as much as the Italian but said more in the process, pushed you to greater heights. Shouted messages to your spine where the Huracán was all murmurs. And when it came down to it, that was the common thread through our six finalists—a hint that someone in R&D did more than tick boxes.
So we left that Lamborghini behind. The McLaren led the pack on the way out of Willows as we hopscotched a series of slow-moving 18-wheelers. The Veloster was next, followed by the 911 and the Corvette. The Miata bopped along behind, the Lotus and its supercharged bark last in line. We worked our way east, toward Tahoe.
Passing in a 600LT is a profanity. Tap the left paddle twice, check the oncoming lane, then plant your right foot and wait for England to put a boot to your chest. For all of our braying about speed’s irrelevance, there’s plenty to be said for a straight road. And while the McLaren’s capabilities are far past the legal limit, the car has other tricks. You can fold the hardtop or roll down the back cabin glass to let that V-8 gasp in your ear.
Before you die, try to execute at least one full-throttle rip through a mountain tunnel in a 600LT with the roof peeled back. It’ll make the best-of when your life flashes before your eyes.
Our stops turned into mini conferences, judges gathering to point and pick at the cars.
“I cannot believe they just let regular people buy these,” contributor Matt Farah said, gesturing at the McLaren. “It’s so obscenely fast. Feels like the craziest engine on Earth is bolted to your spine.”
“It’s the car Lotus wishes they could build,” deputy editor Bob Sorokanich added. “It simply disappears underneath you.”
The Corvette, too, had a way of vanishing in your hands. Few vehicles have felt so uniquely crafted to flip our switches. Our test car, a pre-production unit supplied by GM, brought caveats. For the record, this is not generally how we like to do things. There can be wide gulfs between a car’s test-build performance and job one, and judging a nearly complete effort isn’t always fair. But the eighth-generation Vette is the most significant sports car in recent memory, and GM said that if we wanted that icon in this year’s PCOTY, we had to accept a prepro car.
No one cared when they rolled it out of the trailer. The Chevrolet turned us into children, pointing and crawling over it even as it was backed from the hauler. The C8 is a weird cocktail of familiar and foreign. It smells like Corvette inside, that faint whiff of glue. The valve covers are sparkly, bass-boat red. You can stuff a live human into the cavernous rear trunk. A single individual can remove and stow the roof panel. You sit so far forward, all but atop the front axle. Which is partly why the steering feels instantaneous.
The Corvette has been nipping at supercar heels for years, and it finally seems poised to take a proper bite. The C8 is a brilliant car. “Some elements—engine blueprint, sound, power delivery—are emphatically Corvette,” said senior editor Kyle Kinard. “Others—seating position, turn-in, rotation—aren’t.” As Smith pointed out, the Corvette has always been centered on the democratization of an experience: an affordable version of the European sports car in the 1950s, of the cocaine-cruiser highway vibe of BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the 1980s, and in recent years, Porsche-besting performance with a Silverado price tag. Viewed through that lens, as a Lamborghini for Lubbock, it is pure success.
But there are kinks. The C8’s cabin felt more claustrophobic than that of the front-engined C7, and someone in the General Motors chain of command decided that this car, mid-engine for the first time, needed to drive a lot like the old one. Steering aside, it feels very much like a C7, minus a bit of balance. We missed the liveliness and poise of other mid-engine cars, the nose grip. The delta prompted a question: if you’re going to scrap 66 years of brand precedent and abandon the manual transmission altogether, why look back? Go for broke.
Still, you could make an argument that such things are irrelevant. So the Corvette doesn’t pirouette like a European supercar costing twice as much. Who cares? In Okulski’s lapping, the Chevrolet was still quicker than its longtime rival, the 911, beating the German by a quarter of a second.
And on the road to Tahoe, it was as good as a Corvette has ever been. Comfortable and relaxed when you wanted, eating miles with that V-8 barely breathing. Or sharp and alive, dicing through switchbacks.
When we stopped for fuel, curious strangers lingered near the fleet, making slow passes on their way to the cashier. The Corvette was king, onlookers ignoring the McLaren and 911 for a better look at the C8. In that crowd, certain cars simply vanished, the Veloster N and Miata RF all but invisible. Win some, lose some.
The hitch, sinking the C8, was the transmission. A twin-clutch automatic, Corvette’s first. In automatic mode, on track or the street, it is perfectly adept, handing out shifts quicker than thought. But manual mode is a half step behind the competition, denying downshifts or letting the engine bash the limiter, unsure of how much intervention to provide.
If you must take our clutch pedals, at least swap them for a transmission that wants to play. GM benchmarked the PDK dual-clutch in the 911 while developing the Vette’s transaxle, and it’s clear why. There is no more satisfying or evolved two-pedal gearbox. The PDK in the new 911 Carrera S is quicker and more focused than any human, but it doesn’t rub your nose in it or rap your knuckles when you slip up. Lap after lap, the trans works with you to be a little quicker, covering your tail when you miss a shift and dropping a gear if it thinks you can gain a tenth.
Maybe the Corvette’s production gearbox will be better. Regardless, the disparity was instructive. The 911 and Vette come from different schools of thought. Chevrolet used to know how to subtly refine a product while guarding its identity; Porsche still does. This new-generation 911 fully embraces its rear-engine heritage, and on track, you can feel that delicious weight imbalance, the car’s strengths helping to fire you off each apex.
“This thing is so good, it’s almost impossible to hate,” Farah said. “Who could ask for more power? Who could ask for better steering or more grip? How do you argue with PDK? The only real problem is that you don’t need to spend nearly as much to go this quick, if you don’t want a Porsche. But the 911 is still the Swiss Army knife of sports cars.”
That’s no small compliment. The Porsche’s back seats are large enough to stow a couple kids or a few small pieces of luggage. And when you don’t have the car by the scruff, it fades from your mind, so you can wrestle with what’s for dinner instead of struggling to see out the back window.
On the other hand, maybe that’s the 911 curse. As Cammisa noted, at commuting speeds, the car turns into a Panamera Coupe, Porsche’s luxury sedan, always in the background.
No one accused the Lotus of blending into anything. The car seemed to have dropped in from a different dimension. Or at least a different time. The Evora GT is a snapshot of sports cars from 10 years ago, bare and alive, a minor evolution of a relatively simple platform that debuted in 2009.
It’s weirdly bad at being a car. The seats are mounted a bit too high. The stereo is an aftermarket afterthought. The ignition sequence is an annoying secret handshake—a series of unintuitive button presses to disable the factory alarm—designed to make you look like an idiot at the valet. The rearview mirror provides a spectacular view of the engine’s wastegate actuator and nothing else. It’s loud. And none of that mattered, because the Evora is that good. The GT’s supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 is the same Toyota engine Lotus has used for years, but it sings. As I chased the Corvette up Northern California’s Donner Pass in second gear, roadside granite bluffs bounced the noise back through the open windows, the blower whine crawling around in my lap. On track, the gears felt a little long, the cable-shifted six-speed too clunky for quick shifts, but on the street, the gearbox was divine. It’s the car most of us would have in our garage.
“Fast, winding canyons are like sailing or skiing or ice-skating,” Smith said. “Just dancing. You choose the flow and the Lotus serves it up on a platter.”
There is magic here, and not from electronic trickery. No electronically adjustable shocks or computer-controlled differentials, just careful geometry and tuning. The stuff that has long made Lotus, Lotus. Unlike others in this group, the Evora demanded something of the driver. Skill was necessary for quick laps, but the car never punished a lack of it. You need more than a pulse to make an Evora circle a road course. But that was also true of another machine.
By cold logic, the Mazda Miata RF Club, the slowest and least powerful car at Thunderhill, should not have made the final cut. The RF is essentially an ordinary Miata with a folding steel hardtop in place of the base model’s soft convertible top. Unlike the convertible, however, the RF cannot meet most track-day roll-over inspections without substantial modifications. But Miatas are not logical cars, and those downsides were trumped by the simple fact that the Mazda is a kid’s birthday party behind the wheel, all sugar and pony rides and bliss. The yards of suspension travel and narrow tires make it the perfect forgiving trainer, intentions shouted through body roll. Much of the good came from the Mazda’s new engine, a rev-happy, 181-hp 2.0-liter. That four is best within a whisper of redline, and while most of us loved using every ounce of its performance, some judges were less interested in thrashing a tiny four-cylinder.
At a stop, Farah held up the Miata key, shaking it.
“I don’t like the Mazda much if you’re not caning the hell out of it,” he said. “Those transitions when you’re passing a semi, say. You have to go from sixth, to fifth, to fourth, to third.”
“Oh, I dig that,” Okulski grinned. “I was behind the Miata earlier, and every time it had to make a pass, you could tell the driver was ripping off downshifts. Looked fun.”
“You have to be comfortable owning a car you have to beat the hell out of all the time,” Farah said. “It’s not fun if you’re going slow and the whole thing is vibrating. It’s buzzy.”
Several other judges met him with cocked eyebrows. Cammisa spoke up. “A car that can rip off a 5.8-second 0-to-60 isn’t slow for most people.”
“Well, I still don’t fit in the damned thing,” Farah laughed.
Either way, the power differential was inconsequential in the Plumas National Forest. That was the Miata’s playground. Tight corners, short sightlines, and the Mazda’s accelerator bolted to the floor—those high-dollar cars couldn’t use their power, and they had nowhere to run. There are moments in our driving lives when everything clicks, and the Miata has long been a reliable key for opening that door. The current RF is the same. Even with some of the world’s most athletic vehicles on hand, the Miata was never left behind, carrying its momentum without spilling a drop.
As we sat around a table discussing the week, competitors dropped from contention one by one. The McLaren, for all its supercar glory, could be simultaneously dull and exhausting at a public pace. Gearbox complaints felled the Corvette from grace; every judge wanted an honest manual in place of the dual-clutch, in part because the manual C7 in similar trim was more joyous and alive. And the 911, so close to perfect, still felt big on those back roads. The Lotus, with its wailing V-6, missed the mark in refinement and, like the GT-R, is an old car trying to stay young, not so much moving the sports-car game forward as preserving it in amber. Even the Miata came up short, hamstrung by a folding hardtop that makes installation of a proper roll bar difficult—necessary hardware if you want to take the car to the track.
Only one machine garnered rave reviews all week, painting every driver’s face with a mile-wide grin. Only one gathered an almost unanimous vote.
The Veloster was an outlier—outgunned and outclassed by nearly every other car in this test. A gawky front-drive hatch, zero brand pedigree, in a field of slinky sports cars. But the Hyundai’s behavior quickly set it apart from the crowd. Hyundai’s head of performance development, Albert Biermann, spent 30 years working for BMW, back when the German company built a different sort of car. It shows, because the Hyundai is a love letter to folks like us. After a few happy miles at Thunderhill, Cammisa took to a logbook to remind us that front-wheel-drive cars famously fall apart on a road course—stumbling over themselves, running out of brake, drowning in understeer. But if that’s a universal truth, no one told Biermann. His work behaves like a front-wheel-drive greatest-hits album: want the savagery of a John Cooper Works Mini with the fleetfoot bliss of a Ford Fiesta ST? Turn-in is immediate, the steering precise and bubbling with feedback. The Hyundai has a more sorted front end and more cohesive feel than cars costing three times as much.
“This is a $30,430 car that makes a Volkswagen Golf R irrelevant,” Cammisa said.
What he did not say: The Golf R, one of history’s great hatchbacks, costs around 10 grand more and feels numb by comparison.
Because the Veloster N is so cheap, anyone with a nine-to-five can sign a note and ride off with one of the sharpest cars on the market. But it was more than price. Pressing the “N” button on the steering wheel changed the car dramatically. We tend to turn up our noses at drive modes on fun cars: Why does a Lamborghini need a Sport setting? Didn’t you buy the expensive loud one? The button makes perfect sense here, switching the car from quiet and comfortable daily driver to snotty hot hatch, the exhaust popping and snapping with more authority than anything the Corvette could muster. It is so fantastically neutral, pivoting at your hips, the throttle and brake yaw rheostats.
No front-drive car should work this well, but the Veloster is eager, urging you to run up and stick a pin in some expensive supercar’s ego. To watch it deflate as you fill their mirrors.
“It doesn’t care how you treat it,” Kinard said. “You can drive it on its tippy toes, like someone who knows what they’re doing. Or you can drive it like me, a ham-fisted Colin McRae wannabe. The thing rewards you.”
“That’s what the Civic Type R should have made people say,” Smith agreed.
There are flaws. The engine has all the character of an ink-jet printer, and the gas and brake pedal occupy different zip codes. But after five minutes, it doesn’t matter. As we chased the new Corvette away from our lunch stop on the final day of testing, the Hyundai had that mid-engine thing’s number, dancing and playing but forever confident. Kinard called it a bucket of puppies, but that’s not quite right. I’ve never met a puppy that can run down a McLaren on a back road.
For all their bluster and power, their lap times and displacement, most of the carmakers at this test made a deal with the devil—they traded what once made them great in the search for outright speed. Never has the disparity been greater between the capabilities of a modern fast car and what is legally possible. The new definition of performance isn’t what a car can do, but what it will do on a good road.
The Veloster N is what a great front-wheel-drive car should feel like. A delight that welds a smile to your face every time you drive it. It cheers you on, treating you like the hero. And it came from a company that had no reason to build it. Chevrolet has to make a Corvette; Porsche, a 911. Short of a giant meteorite or nuclear winter, those names will always exist. Cars like the Veloster N are more special, crafted not of obligation, but for the sheer joy of driving. That’s why the Hyundai Veloster N is Road & Track’s 2020 Performance Car of the Year.
We got your letter, Hyundai. We heart you, too.