If you’re a lover of adrenaline-pumping, finger-tingling, punch-in-the-solar-plexus supercars, I have two little words for you: New Corvette.
Just feast your eyes on the thing. It has more visual drama than RuPaul and Lady Gaga combined. More air-gulping intakes than an F-22 Raptor. More ripped muscles than Sly in his prime. Even while standing still, it looks as if it’s slicing through the atmosphere at 200 mph.
When GM unveiled the eighth-generation ’Vette in Summer 2019, it sent shock waves through the supercar world. This was no mere reiteration of America’s favorite sports car—it was a complete reinvention of the brand. After 66 years of having its engine up front, this new C8 plants its honking 6.2-liter V-8 right behind the driver.
Yet delivering a mid-engine Corvette with almost 500 horsepower, sensational performance, otherworldly handling, and a huge step up in quality wasn’t enough for GM. No, it had to seal the deal with a surprising sticker. In this rarified section of the supercar market, where entry prices start at well above $150,000, a nicely equipped “base” Corvette Stingray costs—drumroll, please—$59,995. There are Chevy pickups that retail for more.
Even when you start adding on options, like the must-have $5,000 Z51 Performance package, with its beefier brakes, freer-breathing exhaust, and MagneRide adaptive suspension, you’re still only looking at around $80,000. This is the best-value supercar money can buy. Period.
Some of you may be wondering why it’s such a big deal to have a Corvette with an engine amidships. It’s all about handling poise and balance. Whereas the last-generation Corvette C7 was a brutish blunt instrument, this C8 is a marvel of driving sophistication.
How sophisticated? After a week of runs to Trader Joe’s, curve-carving on interstate on-ramps, and foot-to-the-floor thrill rides, I would have happily donated a kidney to have kept this slingshot in my driveway.
This puppy is fast, blisteringly so. With 495 hp, 470 lb-ft of torque, and an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic, the rear-drive C8 can catapult off the line and hit 60 mph in a pulmonary-pounding 2.9 seconds. Top speed? That would be 194 mph (or 184 with the Z51 Performance package).
Unlike the previous C7 ’Vette, which had an exhaust that growled like an angry Rottweiler, this new mid-engine rocket ship sounds less raucous and more refined, though still authoritative when you dial up Sport+. And it’s an absolute joy to drive. You sit in body-clamping bucket seats, hang on to a rectangular wheel, and feel like you’re in the cockpit of a military jet. Heads-Up Display on the windshield, check. Touchscreen angled toward the driver, check. Switches and buttons everywhere, check, check.
While the upcoming Florida-friendly convertible version will be worth waiting for, in Corvette tradition the C8 coupe comes standard with a lightweight roof panel that stows in the trunk. When removed, it’s easy to run at speeds of up to, say, 80 without too much wind buffeting.
For a supercar, the C8 is surprisingly accommodating. With the top in place, the rear trunk can swallow a couple of golf bags. Pop the trunk at the front (the frunk?) and there’s space for two well-stuffed duffels. That’s an excellent 12.6 cubic feet total.
Shortcomings? The biggest is the dreadful rear-three-quarter visibility; pulling out of an angled road junction is a real leap of faith. Road roar from those huge gumball tires, especially on harsh concrete, quickly gets old.
But here is a true engineering marvel, an all-American performance masterpiece that can hold its head high among anything Europe has to offer—and at a price that seems unreal. Now, remind me how to get to Route 66?