History of the C8 Corvette
Chevrolet C8 Corvette (2020-??)
The C8 is the eighth and current generation of the Chevrolet Corvette, which began in the 2020 model year. It's the first mid-engine layout of the Corvette since the original model back in 1953. It's also GM's first mid-engine sports car since the discontinuation of the Pontiac Fiero in 1988. Rumors of a mid-engine Corvette were rife during the previous generation, and it was officially announced in April of 2019. The C8 Corvette debuted with a two-door Targa top coupe body style and a two-door retractable hardtop convertible.
The C8's design is vastly different from previous generations of the Corvette. It features completely new aluminum construction and coil-over springs instead of the previous leaf springs. The exterior styling features an aggressive aerodynamic look with bigger air intakes and deep side scoops. The rear of the car offers a small trunk, and the front also includes a storage space since the engine is near the rear-middle of the car.
Inside, the cockpit has a very driver-centric feel, with most controls on the center console. The steering wheel is designed in a unique hexagon style and also includes various controls. The first production model for the C8 generation was the 2020 Corvette Stingray. Some significant upgrades were made for the following 2021 model year, and there were a few changes for the 2022 model year.
So far, the only engines in use for the C8 are the 6.2-liter LT2 V8 for most models and the 5.5-liter LT6 V8 engine for the Z06 Corvette.
C8 Corvette Evolution and Changes
For 2020, the Corvette Stingray came in the 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT trims. The only engine was the LT2 V8 mentioned above. This is a GM small-block V8 derived from the LT1 that was in the C7 Corvette. This brand new, naturally aspirated engine comes in at 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. The power output improves on the C7 by about 40 horsepower. The only transmission available is an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters located on the steering wheel. A manual transmission was considered but dropped due to a lack of interest from customers.
Another unique feature of the C8 Corvette is that it's available in a right-hand-drive configuration for markets in the UK, Australia, and Japan. The C8 is GM's only RHD vehicle to be made directly at the factory instead of being converted from LHD after assembly. This is the first time a production RHD Corvette has been available since 1953.
For the 2021 model year, two colors were discontinued, and two new colors were added. The full-length racing stripe options were also given four new color choices. The Z51 package added Magnetic Ride as an available option, and the price was increased by nearly $1,000. Wireless connectivity for Apple and Android became standard for 2021. One issue with the 2020 model year going into 2021 is that production for 2020 was cut off due to Covid-19. Many customers who ordered the 2020 model would not get their cars until the 2021 model went into production. This created an unpopular issue where people who ordered 2020 models and had them delayed would end up paying the 2021 price increases.
The base price was increased again for the 2022 model year. This model featured new injectors and a new fuel pump, which improved engine calibration but did not raise the horsepower. Three colors from 2021 were discontinued, but three new colors were also added. The IMSA GTLM Championship Edition package was introduced for 2022, limited to 1,000 units.
The Z06 was originally unveiled in October of 2021, but it won't hit the streets until the 2023 model year, which should be sometime in 2022. The Z06 is the performance version of the Corvette, offering three trim levels: 1LZ, 2LZ, 3LZ. The Z07 Performance Package can also be added to all trims, and it offers upgraded brakes, suspension tuning, performance tires, and carbon fiber aerodynamics.
The Z06 will feature a 5.5-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine that is all new and makes 670 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This engine is called the LT6 and will be the most powerful naturally aspirated production V8 ever. The previous holder of this title is the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series M159 engine. The same eight-speed dual-clutch transmission used by the Corvette Stingray models will also be standard on the Z06. It will also utilize the same suspension setup as the Stingray. However, standard equipment will include magnetic ride adaptive suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential.
Pricing for the Z06 hasn't been announced yet, but it's expected to start at around $90,000. According to Chevrolet, the Z06 can pull 1.22 g on a 300-foot skidpad and is capable of producing 734 pounds of downforce at 186 mph. The top speed of the Z06 hasn't been revealed yet, but some experts expect that it might hit 200 mph.
C8 Corvette Fast Facts
- The new C8 was dubbed 2020 Motor Trend Car of the Year
- The 2021 Corvette started production late in 2020 due to continued production of the 2020 Corvette and parts constraints
- Delayed production also contributed to the later debut of the Z06 model
- The C8 Z06 will feature the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine ever put in a production model
- The C8 Z06 has a 2.6-second zero to 60 mph time and may reach 200 mph for its top speed
Legacy of the C8 Corvette
As the C8 Corvette generation is ongoing, it's hard to say what its legacy will be by the end. However, it's a unique model from previous generations, so there's no doubt that it will stand out for that alone. The upcoming 2023 model year should be introduced by the summer of 2022 and will include the long-anticipated Z06 with the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine to ever be placed in a production car.