2020 Corvette Stingray by Chevrolet Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO
2020 Corvette Stingray by Chevrolet
By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
I recently got around to driving the entirely new Corvette Stingray. Yes, the so-called “C8”, the eighth iteration of America’s two-seat sports car! Actually, it’s more accurate to say a new Corvette Stingray got around to me.
Before the CV-19 pandemic changed the course of virtually everything in 2020 I expected to be behind the wheel of the completely re-imagined iconic Corvette in the spring. That would have been at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin at the Spring Rally produced by the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
I’m a member of the MAMA organization. The Road America location of this revered spring event for member auto journalists offers great driving roads around Wisconsin’s Kettle Morain as well track driving on the 4-mile road course and also on a great autocross circuit.
So yes, that didn’t happen. My Corvette drive experience was around the city streets and highways near my Chicago home. This made me wonder. How many buyers of the new Stingray will ever track drive it? Somewhat conversely, how is the Stingray, dare I say, as a daily driver?
The Stingray has impressive performance creds. The 495hp 6.2L small block V8 will scoot the Z51 equipped Stingray I dove to 60mph is 2.9 seconds. If you have a long enough straight and empty road at your disposal it can take you to 194mph.
Acceleration is breathtaking. When you tromp on the throttle you better be ready, paying attention and have no other car a short distance in front. The performance exhaust on the Z51 announces your presence to any one in earshot.
The mid-engine layout (you did know that?) provides for a chassis design engineered for outstanding handling with its rear weight bias. The cockpit is 16.5 inches more forward compared to the C7 providing a better sense of control. The Z51 Performance Package has suspension, brakes and tires meant for track use. Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 delivers refined suspension control and also outstanding ride quality.
I did have one “aha” moment. The more forward driving position requires a slight adjustment to turn-in when executing a simple street corner turn. There’s a lot more car behind the driver than in a front-engine car.
The 495hp of the LT2 engine gets to the high performance tires through a Tremec 8- speed dual-clutch transmission. Upshifts are lightening fast with a commensurate pop from the exhaust. Software programming dictates downshifts. Select the “M” button on the gear selector and manual shift paddles engage you with the powertrain. I used the M-button a lot.
Purists complain there is no longer a manual transmission available. I was very happy with my fingers on the shift paddles and my left foot on the dead-pedal---or the brake pedal. The shift paddles are mounted to the squared-off steering wheel. Therefore, when turning your hands need to stay on the wheel in the 3-9 clock positions.
The driver’s cockpit worked well for my medium frame body. You sit low. Ingress is not difficult since the Stingray doesn’t suffer from a wide structural rocker panel. The hood and instrument panel also sit low, with a good bit of distance to the base of the windshield. But, it all worked well for me.
A long row of HVAC buttons divides you from the passenger and defines each space. And yet, the interior feels open and spacious with its thin-design vents. There’s plenty of comfort and convenience features including heated and cooled memory seats, heated steering wheel, power-fold outside mirrors, 10- or 14-speaker sound systems, wireless charging and more. Sporty GT2 seats provided plenty of comfort with good lateral support. You also can get the standard GT1 seats or a track-intended Competition Sport seats.
I drove a Stingray coupe which has a removable roof panel that can be stored in the rear trunk which is accessible under the large rear hatch over the engine. A convertible is also available with a power retractable hardtop.
Go to www.chevrolet.com and spec out your new Corvette Stingray today. There are three trim levels to choose from, 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. The Stingray coupe is priced at $58,900 and the convertible is $66,400. Destination charge is $1,095. The Sebring Orange 2LT Z51 equipped coupe I drove was optioned-up to $79,315, and worth every dollar.
I enjoyed my short 3-day stint with the new Corvette. I left it parked for one day due to cold temps and a miserable pouring rain. I ended up driving about 100 miles in different traffic situations while also seeking empty roads here and there. With that I was ready for either a race track or to head to Chicago’s easterly end of Route 66 and simply motor west.
I liked the front curb view camera so you can see those parking blocks. The optional front lift system helps you over a sloped driveway ramp. It can even store a location using GPS so the Stingray knows when to lift. There’s a valet mode and a teen driver mode…both for you know what. (I have some valet stories from long, long ago.) Drive Mode control can give you max performance or also help bad weather control.
If you get the Z51 package with the summer high-performance tires you’ll need winter or all-season tires when driving in ambient temperatures below 40ºF. Oh, and it is recommended to hand wash the Corvette due to risk of body panel damage.
Two final notes. You can you master Corvette technologies and racing techniques and learn all the capabilities of a new Corvette through the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in Pahrump, Nevada. This two-day program is available to new Corvette owners at a reduced rate.
And, for an extra cost at purchase, you can choose to take delivery of your vehicle at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The CV-19 pandemic might have increased one’s passion to get out and drive the open roads. The new 2020 Corvette Stingray offers a ton of performance for the dollar and an appearance that puts it in the supercar category.
Can you make it your daily driver? I’m not sure I could but I would like to give it a try.
© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy