2020 Corvette Stingray Coupe Review: American Supercar

by Jimmy Dinsmore
2020 Corvette Stingray Coupe Review: American Supercarzoom in

    2020 Chevy Stingray Corvette Coupe

  • Engine: 6.2L V8
  • Horsepower: 490 (495 w/Z51 package)
  • Torque (lb-ft.): 465
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Drive Configuration: RWD
  • Top Speed (mph): 184 (194 with Z51 package)
  • City/Hwy/Combined MPG: 15/27/19
  • Curb Weight (lb): 3366 (dry)
  • Wheelbase (in): 107.2
  • Total Length (in): 182.3
  • Width (in): 76.1
  • Base Price (USD): $58,900
  • Price as Tested (USD): $72,075

In this era of so-called fake news and media bias, I try to remain unbiased when I get different vehicles to drive and write about. I’m supposed to tell it to you as I see it, without any preconceived notions. But, I am openly admitting when this week’s tester jumped onto my schedule, I was downright giddy long before I got behind the wheel./

You see, the Chevy Corvette is a car that I’ve always admired. I watched the reveal live, and my jaw hit the ground when the cover was pulled off of the C8 (8th generation) Vetter. Some may try to pigeonhole me and my preferences, and that’s their opinion, but if I have any bias, it’s toward this great-American sports car.

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I’ve been a fan of the Corvette my entire life. I told my friend Gale Halderman, who designed the Ford Mustang, that the Corvette was my favorite car, and even he said, “yeah, that’s a good one.” Even with his tried-and-true Blue Oval roots, Gale recognized American royalty. And the Corvette is certainly that.

For 2020, the Corvette enters with a new and revolutionary new platform. The engine has been moved back to the middle part of the car (behind the cockpit). It completely changes the driving dynamics of the Corvette. It also dropped weight and changed the chassis layout. The end result is one of the most drastic transformations (and dare I say improvements) of any car in years. The Corvette’s driving dynamics are now more supercar, and the all-new looks match the supercar persona.

As I said, I always liked the different look of the Corvette. Nothing else looked like it, with chiseled features and sleek curvatures. But now the C8 Corvette looks like a sexy, sleek supercar. “Is that a Ferrari in your driveway?” someone asked me. And to the average glance, I get it. No other Corvette has ever looked this aggressive or had this shape or vibe.

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For sure, it might repel some of the old-school Corvette fans as this is most assuredly not your grandpa’s Corvette. The look and aesthetics of the Corvette scream supercar from the engine vents on the side to the aggressive grille and hood scoop. Even the rear spoiler looks hot, although there’s some resemblance to the Camaro with the taillights, and that’s not necessarily a good thing in my book.

Of course, what good is a car that looks like a supercar if it doesn’t perform like one? Well, the C8 Corvette is no phony baloney with its performance abilities. A 6.2-liter V8 powers the Vette and slams out 490 horses from right behind the driver’s seat. The overall driving dynamic changes with the new mid-engine placement and for me, it drives better than any other Corvette has. It feels more agile, athletic, and nimble. And there’s a visceral sound and feel with that powerful engine just behind you.

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I’ve heard some gearheads claim the engine isn’t loud enough, and I don’t agree with that at all. There’s plenty of exhaust noise and high rev action to always be fun and exhilarating. And if you really want your heart to pound, switch it to one of six drive modes, each with its own personality, including Sport, Track, and Z-Mode. You can track your 0-60 times and even switch to launch mode, where it will hold you at 3,000 RPMs until you let off of the brake. Note, some of these modes are not for the amateur driver and are best reserved for a track.

It’s very easy to have this car get away from you, but conversely very difficult to get loose, thanks to the engine placement and the weight distribution. An 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is the only option, although it does come with paddle shifters. I personally found the automatic transmission to be outstanding, and even when I was trying to override the shifts with the paddles, I just couldn’t do as good of a job as the automatic transmission could.

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Inside, this Vetter is almost as different as the new engine placement. The futuristic cockpit angles all of the buttons and controls toward the driver. This includes a vertical stack of buttons for the infotainment system and seat settings. It may seem odd or confusing upon first glance, but quickly you realize how intuitive and well planned it actually is, and also, you figure out why there’s no room for a manual shifter either.

As impressive and special as the touchpoints are, the legroom is mind-blowing. When I drove the previous-generation Corvette, it felt cramped, and the racing-style seats seemed to constrict me. But in the C8, there is ample legroom, and the seats are incredibly comfortable. And, the roof comes off the Coupe and can be stored easily in the trunk. Even though it’s not a true convertible, I was able to enjoy open road driving, and enjoy it I did.

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I even borrowed my neighbor’s golf clubs to see if they would fit in the trunk, and low and behold, they did. Plus, there’s extra storage space in the front-trunk (frunk). But, let’s be honest, you’re not buying the C8 Corvette to haul groceries around.

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The one thing that was impressive was when I polled everyone in my neighborhood and asked them what they thought this car cost. All of them guessed north of $100,000. With such a long list of superlatives, perhaps the best superlative to use about the C8 Corvette is value. My Stingray tester had a starting MSRP of $58,900, and with extra packages, the final price tag was “only” $72,075. While I cannot afford that, I’ve seen cars with bigger price tags that didn’t have nearly all the capabilities and talking points as the Corvette.

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The 2020 C8 Corvette is a value-oriented, performance-based supercar. I was sad to give it back. Can anyone give me $72,000? I know what I’d like to buy.

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