The new Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray will go on sale in the UK in October in coupé and convertible guises, with prices starting from £81,000. It will be the first Corvette in the model’s 67-year history to officially be sold in right-hand-drive form.
The C8 will first reach the UK in Launch Edition trim with 16 different options split equally between the coupé and convertible versions. Prices will start from £81,700 and £87,110 respectively. All models sold here will be equipped with the Z51 performance package and highly specified 2LT trim as standard.
That means all European cars will gain a number of hardware upgrades over the base-spec US car, including manually adjustable suspension, larger brake discs, an electronic limited-slip differential, a shorter axle ratio, a performance exhaust system, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres and an aerodynamically enhancing bodykit.
Additional standard equipment fitted includes a head-up display, data recorder, sat-nav, 14-speaker Bose sound system, rear camera ‘mirror’ and heated, ventilated seats.
The Launch Edition cars will also feature the higher 3LT trim and will include additional carbon styling elements on the spoiler, mirror, wheels and roof, along with upgraded seats. They will also benefit from a magnetic ride control system and bespoke design details that set them apart from the standard models. A front suspension lift, which raises the clearance of the car by 50mm, will be offered as an option.
The new C8 features a mid-engine layout – the first time for a Corvette – in a bid to take on European rivals such as Porsche and Ferrari.
Since the original version of the two-seater was launched in 1953, Corvettes have featured a front-engined, rear-drive layout – but the 495bhp 6.2-litre V8 in the new C8 machine is mounted behind the driver for the first time.
Mark Reuss, president of Chevrolet parent firm General Motors, said at last year’s launch: “The traditional front-engined vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout.” He added: “In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history.”
The entry-level version of the new machine is dubbed Stingray, reviving a badge first used in 1963, and is able to cover 0-60mph in under three seconds, making it the fastest base-level Corvette yet. More powerful variants are due to follow.
The gearshifter is electronically linked to the transmission, freeing up space, and an array of key controls are lined up, Porsche-style, along the edge of the centre console. A new customisable display is visible through the squared-off steering wheel, while the infotainment screen is now angled towards the driver.
As with the C7, the new C8 Stingray features Magnetic Ride Control, which uses a special, magnetically sensitive fluid that allows the suspension dampers to be quickly adjusted. A performance traction management system is also available, with an electronic limited-slip differential standard on the entry-level car.
A front splitter and open two-piece rear spoiler work together to generate as much as 181kg of downforce under aggressive cornering.
Buyers have the option of all-season Michelin Pilot Sport ALS tyres – which, Chevrolet claims, can manage nearly 1g cornering – or the Z51 package’s Michelin Pilot Sport 4S. Front tyres are 245/35 ZR19s, with 305/30 ZR20s at the rear.
Like all recent generations of the Corvette, the C8 is being assembled in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but Chevrolet is seeking to enhance the model’s presence around the world, much as rival Ford has done with the latest-generation Mustang.
Upgraded versions are likely to retain familiar designations such as Z06 and ZR1 and will be following over the next few years, with rumours suggesting the C8 could eventually nudge towards 1000bhp.