We Rode Shotgun In the 2020 Chevy Corvette C8

Under the chatter may be the constant low-frequency thrum of the Chevy small-block rising and falling through its rev range. It's interrupted frequently but briefly by shifts from your eight-speed dual-clutch Tremec transmission-quickened by cutting engine spark-to which it's bolted. And today, finally, the foundation of this thrum-a fifth-generation 6.2-liter V-8 named, needless to say, LT2-comes from behind our heads.

We're riding shotgun in mid-engined Corvette Stingray development mules on rural Michigan back roads. The three cars with this convoy represent the entire breadth from the Stingray's chassis options. There's an FE1 base car; an FE3, which incorporates the Z51 performance package with passive dampers and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires; and an FE4, that is the top-level Stingray combining the Z51 package with magnetorheological adaptive dampers. Like the C7 before it, the C8's Z51 package adds an electric limited-slip differential, bigger (iron) brake rotors and calipers, and various transmission ratios. However now every C8 Corvette gets a dry-sump-equipped engine.

 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 prototype
Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

Driven by executive chief engineer Tadge Juechter and vehicle performance manager Alex MacDonald, the C8s are officially here to endure final tweaks for that differentiation of steering effort within the car's Tour, Sport, and Track drive modes. Unofficially, the engineers, also to some degree the cars, are here to talk about the mid-engined-Corvette back story, the technical details, and the chance to ride in the initial production Corvette to put its engine behind the driver and passenger. That people will be the first non-GM-employee rider in in the automobile, well, that's just gravy.

But it's an admittedly difficult environment that to draw impressions. The cars remain wearing camouflage-both inside and out-and we're balancing interview questions, note taking, along with a voice recorder all at one time. Plus, the chance of drawing conclusions from what we realize a mid-engined car must do well-to fall prey towards the placebo effect-is real.

Nonetheless, the very first time its new two-spoke tyre is turned with purpose-through a T-shaped intersection at modest speed-the C8 exhibits a lightness and willingness to rotate that's common and then cars making use of their mass centralized behind the passengers. There is a quickness, a pointedness here that's apparent only with this layout; the wheel is turned, and the automobile pivots immediately and straight into the corner. When the C7 was a turkey in the air, capable but bulging, then your C8 is really a falcon-wholly purposeful and mission intent.

 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 prototype
Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

A GENUINE Automatic. Finally
MacDonald fires off a battery of upshifts, pointing out that the brand new eight-speed Tremec dual-clutch transmission provides everything the engineers had envisioned inside a DCT, namely shift speed and response time. More important, there is no observable decrease in acceleration between shifts, and MacDonald says they're quick enough to become invisible to some 100-hertz data logger.

Also, each tap from the paddles is met only having a muted blat from your exhaust because the next gear is engaged. It is a monumental advance from the prior torque-converter-equipped eight-speed planetary automatic, that may now be retired towards the museum where it belongs. He demonstrates the DCT's effectiveness by whacking the left paddle 3 x in rapid succession, triggering three boldly rev-matched downshifts.

 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 prototype
Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

Possibly the most apparent dynamic differ from the passenger seat may be the C8's capability to deposit power while turning. Leaving the tight confines of another 90-degree intersection, MacDonald boldly hammers the throttle. It is a move that could have pushed the C7-any C7-hard contrary to the unforgiving hand of physics, where in fact the car includes a choice only between spinning its tires or stepping along with stability control.

Instead, with an increase of from the C8's weight on the drive axle, we're launched effortlessly and undramatically forward and nearby, snapping into second gear prior to the C7 may have shaken from the upset. This new Corvette's on-throttle stability is really as clear from your passenger seat because the C7's slower, more predictable rotation was from your driver's seat.

 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 prototype
Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

You'd Better Have Fast Hands
And that's finished . no one says yet: the idea that not just a single Corvette engineer or, for example, an individual Chevy representative, is discussing. A mid-engined Corvette is most likely a harder-to-drive Corvette. Moving mass to the center means the necessity for faster hands is real which catching a less stable car requires quicker reactions. It is the double-edged sword of physics, the burden of a nimbler Corvette.

But it will most likely not be. The truth is that this Corvette team is filled up with capable, invested engineers armed with the massive technological might of THE OVERALL. They will, without doubt, tune the C8's Performance Traction Management to eke every last little bit of grip and balance from its newly athletic chassis. They'll ensure it is save the overenthusiastic asses of a large number of Americans while sparing YouTube viewers the trouble of an incredible number of disparaging comments. The C8, with techniques different and much better than the C7 before it, is going to be an extraordinary car. At the very least it appears so from your passenger seat.

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