By David Thome – Special to ADAMM– Automobile Dealers Association of Metro Milwaukee.
The mid-engine 2020 Corvette has earned a wide range of accolades for its performance, handling and styling.
A lot of car reviewers almost broke their keyboards finding superlatives to describe the Generation 7 Corvette when it made its debut six years ago. When the mid-engine Gen 8 model arrived this year, the keyboards never had a chance.
“Chevy has just fired an armor-piercing round. A bunker buster,” Car and Driver says in explaining why the C8 Stingray is one of the best cars of 2020. “Moving its engine to the middle has not only taken its performance to new heights, but also has catapulted the sports car’s image from mouth-breathing, tire-smoking semi–muscle car to supercar disruptor.”
Says Top Gear: “The new mid-engined Corvette C8 is revolution, not evolution. It has all the performance we were promised, but it also has a presence and character that was unexpected but very welcome. It’s not like any other car you can buy today. It still costs muscle car money and gives you supercar performance.”
US News continued to break keyboards into next year with, “The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette ranks at the top of the competitive luxury sports car class. It offers searing engine performance, expertly balanced handling, a sumptuous interior, and a good predicted reliability rating.”
Theo Marshall, sales consultant for Lynch Chevrolet in Kenosha, says the accolades are well-earned.
“The 2020 redesign is a big deal for enthusiasts,” he says. “It gives you a way to dabble in the exotic while staying within a budget. I own a Lamborghini that cost $280,000, but you can get a well-appointed Corvette that gives you almost the same performance for just $80,000.”
Mike Rivas, general sales manager for Andrew Chevrolet in Glendale, says that he found so many reasons to be excited about the C8 during just a few days at the Corvette Owners School in Nevada that he came away convinced there isn’t anything about the car not to be excited about.
“It looks like a half-million supercar,” he says. “It only comes with automatic transmission, but paddle shifters let you hammer the gas as though it had a traditional clutch. And when you sit in it, it’s everything a luxury car should be, even if you’re a big guy, like me.”
The term “supercar” comes up a lot in discussions about the C8. It’s a term that has no agreed-upon definition, but attributes such as acceleration, speed, handling, racecar design, rarity and price are thrown around a lot. One bloggers says a supercar is like a race horse or a top fashion model, and must “represent the pinnacle of the automaker’s art.”
The latest Corvette seems to check off all of the above boxes—except price. That’s because, while $80,000 may seem steep to most of us, and the top-of-the-top-of-the-line iteration of the C8 can exceed $120,000, the price tag never comes close to that of most cars that are tagged “super.” And the Corvette’s base model costs a single five-spot less than $60,000.
While Chevrolet reports that about half of all Corvette buyers through the years have opted for whatever base model was being offered at the time, Marshall says that 14 of the 15 C8’s he’s delivered in 2020 have been 2LT or 3LT models that cost between $65,000 and $75,000.
Anyway, here are a few more superlatives about what reviewers love, love, love about the current Corvette:
- “Entering its second year, the first-ever mid-engine production-spec Corvette remains just as incredible of a car as it was in 2020. The 2021 C8 doesn’t see many changes, which works for us—the Corvette was our 2020 Car of the Year.” (Motor Trend)
- “The C8 shows what GM can brew when it puts its corporate heart into something. It still has a pushrod V-8 for now, but its 490-hp (the $1,195 performance exhaust takes that up to 495) 6.2-liter V-8 and quick-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch automatic are as refined as they are responsive. When equipped with the $5,000 Z51 Performance package (which includes the optional exhaust), this rear-wheel-drive machine’s launch control makes the most of having 60.6% of its weight on the rear rubber.” (Car and Driver)
- “The Stingray Z51 shoots to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph. It even betters the 60-mph runs of the quickest 650-hp Corvette C7 Z06 and 755-hp C7 ZR1, both of which blazed their rear tires for the first few gears. More importantly, it matches the far more expensive 992 version of the 911 Carrera S through the quarter-mile.” (Car and Driver)
- The dry-sump oil system has the added benefit of requiring a shallower oil pan, meaning the big V8 can be positioned about an inch lower than before. That might not seem like much, but it drops the Corvette’s center of gravity substantially, which in turn has a huge effect on handling.” (The Drive.com)
- “Here is where we’re supposed to discuss how the new 2020 C8 Corvette is a wild departure from its front-engine roots, how it’s a decades-long mid-engine dream made real, and how it hopes to achieve nothing less than to fully redefine American sports cars. Those are important and true facts, but they’ve been beaten to death here and elsewhere. The thing you really want to know is that it drives brilliantly. The 2020 Chevy Corvette is a balanced, incredibly quick, and capable thing, packed with performance-enhancing technology optimized by some of the world’s best chassis tuners.
I want one—now!
Some aficionados have been dreaming 60 years for a mid-engine Corvette to appear in showrooms, dating back to plans that never made it to the assembly line. But because of a series of setbacks, GM has had a difficult time fulfilling that dream.
A labor dispute delayed production last fall and then, not long after production started, the coronavirus pandemic shut it down for a big chunk of this year.
The one-two punch prompted GM to offer 2021 models to some customers who got onto waiting lists for 2020s. However, car dealers say they still don’t know when—or if—they’ll get more 2020s, and there’s no certainty about when the ’21s will arrive.
“We took 30 orders for 2020 and have been able to deliver 15,” says Theo Marshall, the “Corvette guy” at Lynch Chevrolet in Kenosha. “The wait time for some people has been as much as a year. If you were to come in today and put down $1,000 to get onto the list, you might take delivery next summer, but the company itself doesn’t have a lot of information right now. So if you want one, it’s better to act now instead of waiting.”
[Editor’s note: These stories are provided to Wisconsin Hot Rod Radio by the journalists at the Automobile Dealers Association of Metro Milwaukee without monetary compensation.]