Mid-engined, RHD 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray confirmed for OZ

The radically overhauled 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray has been confirmed for Australia, with the iconic American sports car being built in right-hand drive for export markets around the world.

Dave Buttner, Chairman and Managing Director of Holden, said: “The news that Corvette will now be built in right-hand drive for the first time ever – and will be exported to Australia – is hugely exciting for our team at Holden and any Australian who loves high performance cars.”

Following seven generations of front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, Chevrolet has completely redesigned its most iconic sports car in an effort to improve performance and dynamics to a new level.

One of this year’s most anticipated models and worst kept secret; the 2020 C8 is the first Corvette to adopt a mid-engine design.

At the heart of the sports car is a new 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 dubbed the LT2. It churns out 369kW at 6,450rpm and 637Nm at 5,150rpm when fitted with the performance exhaust as part of the Z51 Performance Package.

The engine retains GM’s traditional pushrod, two-valve per cylinder layout but lifts the compression ratio to 11.5:1 and uses dry-sump lubrication to both lower the centre of gravity and prevent oil surge under hard cornering. Its Active Fuel Management feature shuts off cylinder 2, 3, 5 and 8 on light throttle, too.

Sadly, the 2020 Corvette will ditch the manual transmission entirely and offers solely with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic driving the rear wheels as standard.

Chevrolet claims the C8 Corvette equipped with the Z51 package will blast from 0-60mph (97km/h) in “under 3.0 seconds”. We can expect to add a second or two for the 0-100km/h dash. Drivers can also manually de-clutch the transmission by pulling both shift paddles back simultaneously.

Unlike more exotic supercars, the American muscle eschews a carbon fibre monocoque. Its chassis is built around a central tunnel, improving torsional rigidity and enabling it to be built in left- or right-hand drive.

To reduce weight, the car features aluminium components and a new “carbon fibre curved rear bumper beam”. Its dashboard and front/rear trunk tubs are molded from an ultra-lightweight material derived from fiberglass and a proprietary resin. As a result, the C8 tips the scales at just 1,530kg.

It is suspended on double-wishbone coilover suspension and comes equipped with 19- and 20-inch wheels shot with Michelin Pilot Sport ALS tyres. Stopping power comes courtesy of a Brembo disc brake system with 321mm rotors and four-piston calipers up front, and 339mm rotors with two-piston calipers out back. Its variable-ratio steering has been sharpened from 16.25:1 to 15.7:1.

The optional Z51 Performance Package brings sports exhaust, performance-tuned suspension with Magnetic Ride Control adaptive dampers, larger brakes (345mm front discs and 350mm rears with matching four-piston calipers) with better cooling, a shorter final drive ratio, an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres and Performance Traction Management ESP. It also adds a front splitter and rear spoiler which provides up to 180kg of downforce.

A button on the steering wheel lets the driver choose from six drive modes: Weather, Tour, Sport, Track, MyMode, a configurable setting and Z Mode, each varying the engine and transmission settings.

The new C8’s mid-ship layout has contributed to a radically different design to its predecessors, with wide rear haunches, lower bonnet and deeply sculpted sides to feed air into the side intakes.

At the back, there’s a ventilated rear bumper, angular LED taillights, a subtle spoiler, a diffuser and four exhaust pipes.

Other design highlights include a removable double bubble roof, a ventilated engine cover with a glass window over the new V8 engine.

There are 12 colours to choose from – white, black, silver, orange, bronze, yellow and a pair of reds, blues and greys.

The C8 measures 4,630mm long, 1,934mm wide and 1,234mm tall, and because it now sits closer to the ground, it’s equipped with a front suspension lift system that raises the front by 40mm in 2.8 seconds at speeds up to 39km/h. The system can be automatically activated by the vehicle’s GPS coordinates.

Inside, the fresh cabin features a two spoke steering wheel with a squared off design that provides an unrestricted view of the 12-inch digital instrument cluster, along with a high resolution infotainment display of undisclosed size.

Six interior colours are available, including black, grey, ‘natural’, blue and a pair of reds, while three seats options are on offer – a comfort-oriented GT1, sporty GT2 and heavily bolstered Competition Sport, the latter two with carbon fibre trim.

In the US, C8 prices start from below US$60,000 (A$85,000) but Australians will have to wait until the car’s expected local launch in late 2020 or early 2021 to find out local pricing.

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