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The 2020 Corvette Is at the Large and Heavy End of the Mid-Engined Crowd

Dave VanderWerp
Photo credit: Car and Driver

From Car and Driver

  • We compare the C8 Corvette's dimensions to those of the existing mid-engined field to see how it stacks up
  • The C8 is larger and heavier than nearly all of today's mid-engined cars, but its generous dimensions yield impressive passenger and cargo space.
  • A claimed ability to blast to 60 mph in under three seconds puts the C8 on par with many exotics that are vastly more expensive.

The mid-engined Corvette has made its official debut. Moving the engine behind the occupants is the Corvette's most significant change in its 66-year history, so now we're anxious to see how it compares to the rest of the mid-engined sports cars on offer. Obviously, these aren't really the Corvette's direct peers, as most mid-engined cars—save for the Porsche Cayman—cost many times more than the starting price of the new Corvette, which Chevy promises will be right around $60,000. But the fact that the C8 is such a mid-engined outlier is a testament to just how large of an achievement it is.

First, the C8 Corvette is large. At 107.2 inches, its wheelbase is a half-inch longer than the front-engine C7 it replaces, and many inches longer than the Acura NSX, Audi R8, Ferrari F8 Tributo, Lamborghini Huracan Evo, and McLaren 570S and 720S. And it's just shy of 10 inches longer than the Porsche Cayman's. (It's nearly 11 inches longer than the 911's wheelbase—yeah, we know that car doesn't have its engine in the middle, but it's been a longstanding Corvette competitor so we could help but include it.) The closest current mid-engined competitor is the Ford GT at 106.7 inches.

Photo credit: Chevrolet

Overall length on the C8 stretches 5.3 inches longer than the C7, and it's roughly 3 to 10 inches longer than the mid-engined field listed above, with the exception of the Ford GT, which is 5.2 inches longer still. The new Corvette, at 76.1 inches, is 2.2 inches wider than the C7, which puts it in the zone with most of the cars listed above, although everything but the McLarens and the Porsche Cayman and 911 are wider. The C8 is dramatically wider than the Porsches; 5.2 inches more so than the Cayman and 3.2 inches girthier than the 911.

Large for a Reason

Large exterior dimensions portend generous passenger and cargo space; the latter has been a long-running Corvette strong suit. That remains true in the C8. Its head- and legroom figures nearly match the C7's (legroom is down by 0.2 inch), which is above the mid-engined-supercar average. From the driver's seat, it feels more spacious than the C7, although the Cayman, R8, and NSX have more headroom.

The C8's rear trunk is especially large for a mid-engined car, a deep well that can swallow two full-size golf bags stacked on top of each other. There's also a front trunk that can hold a carry-on-sized suitcase. Although the C8's cargo volume is slightly lower on paper, we're convinced that it's plenty to accommodate any reasonable everyday needs.

Photo credit: Greg Pajo - Car and Driver

But generous dimensions also mean mass, especially at the Corvette's aggressive price that doesn't allow engineers to throw endless expensive lightweight materials at it. Chevy is being coy on weight by only divulging a dry-weight figure of 3366 pounds. That implies a curb weight of roughly 3600 pounds, which is about 150 pounds heavier than the C7 (which itself gained 100 pounds over the C6). That makes it far heavier than the mid-engined cadre, more than 400 pounds above the lightest, such as the Cayman and the McLarens. Only the Audi R8 and the Acura NSX, which is laden with electric motors and a battery pack, weigh more.

Rear-Heavy for Blastoff

Chevy also hasn't yet divulged the C8's weight distribution, but on the collection of mid-engined cars above, it ranges from 56.5 percent of the vehicle's weight on the rear axle (Cayman) to 59.3 percent (Ford GT). The C7 has a slight rear-weight bias, but the C8 will carry significantly more of its mass on the rear axle.

That's precisely the point. That rear-weight bias allows the C8 to hook up better than ever. Combined with the rapid-shifting dual-clutch automatic with a proper launch-control function and the additional horsepower from the revised 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 that's now making as much as 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, Chevy promises that models equipped with the Z51 performance package will be able to hit 60 mph in less than three seconds.

That puts it in the hunt with most of the exotica above, which is a monumentally impressive achievement indeed.

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