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Chevy's new Corvette is a radical break with the past — here's a closer look at the 8th generation o


Since 1953, Corvettes have had their engines in front of the driver. But that all changed recently when Chevy revealed the production version of the eighth-generation Vette, carrying the legendary Stingray nameplate.

The C8 Corvette, as we have long known, would find its V8 engine moved from under the long hood up front to a compartment between the driver and the rear wheels. This mid-engine design is considered optimal for balanced sports-car handling and is de rigueur on supercars from Ferrari and Lamborghini. The epic new Ford GT that won the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans also has a mid-engine design.

It wasn't as if the old C7 design wasn't successful. The racing version of the Corvette also won Le Mans and, more than any other Vette, convinced enthusiasts that the two-seater was a proper American supercar. The C7 Stingray was Business Insider's first-ever Car of the Year, in 2014.

But the writing was on the wall. Chevy needed to do something different to keep the Corvette relevant and competitive. Rumors about a mid-engine Vette have circulated for years, but this time around, General Motors finally took the plunge.

"Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary-pushing at GM. The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout," GM President Mark Reuss said in a statement.

"In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history. Customers are going to be thrilled with our focus on details and performance across the board," he added. The Corvette enthusiast Mark Reuss, GM's product czar, revealed the all-new Vette at a giant aircraft hangar in Southern California. The eighth-generation Vette replaces the C7 design, the highest and most powerful expression of which was the 755-horsepower ZR1.

The outgoing Vette has an incredible racing pedigree. Corvette Racing finished 1-2 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2016 and has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the top sports-car class. Chevy completely reimagined the Corvette for the eighth iteration of the two-seater. Gone is the long hood, as the V8 engine has been shifted amidships. It now sits in a compact bay between the driver and the rear wheels.

GM and Chevy have previously experimented with mid-engine concepts, including the CERV III design from the 1990s. But now the mid-engine Corvette has moved from concept to reality. Chevy will build it in Kentucky for the 2020 model year.

The design picks up various key Corvette cues, but the car bears a resemblance to the old Ferrari 458, although the impressive side intake scoops are more akin to what we see in contemporary mid-engine supercars. The sharp angles continue the design language of the C7 Vette.

A closer look. The intakes cool the engine and boost aerodynamic performance. Up front, the fascia presents a familiar Corvette look, but with a much shorter hood and lower haunches. The rear end is pure Vette, and it looks good. The two-piece rear spoiler and a front splitter combine to create 400 pounds of downforce.

The Stingray can be had in six different colors, according to Chevy: Jet Black, Sky Cool Gray, Adrenaline Red, Natural/Natural Dipped, Two-Tone Blue, and Morello Red. The angular headlights are extremely aggressive. They're a fresh design for Corvette. Of course, the Corvette flags are on the hood, in the form of the famous badge.

The Stingray badge is prominent below the transparent rear hatch. "A lightweight ... glass panel on the rear hatch allows owners to show off the engine," Chevy said. "This panel features a cantilevered trailing edge to evacuate heat from the engine compartment."

A 6.2-liter V8 LT2 engine motivates the new Vette. Making 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, it's unique in that it's the only naturally aspirated motor available in the V8-powered segment, according to Chevy. The transmission is a new eight-speed dual-clutch unit. The car is expected to race from zero to 60 mph in under three seconds when equipped with Z51 Performance Package.

"Driver mode choices have been expanded from four to six, allowing drivers to tweak the feel of their Corvettes to their personal preference," Chevy said.

"The familiar Weather, Tour, Sport and Track modes remain, and there are two new modes: MyMode, a configurable setting for preferred driving style that can remain between key cycles; and Z mode, named after the famed Z06, ZR1 and Z51 Corvette performance packages."

"Z mode is activated through a 'Z' button on the steering wheel. This is a single-use mode that takes MyMode configurations one step further, allowing drivers to adjust the engine and transmission, as well."

The rear trunk, believe it or not, can handle golf bags! As with the exterior, the interior has six options: Jet Black, Sky Cool Gray, Adrenaline Red, Natural/Natural Dipped, Two-Tone Blue, and Morello Red.

The squarish two-spoke steering wheel is racing-derived and intended to provide a clear view of the digital cluster. The infotainment system is based on Chevy's superb setup and runs on a central touchscreen.

Two Bose audio systems are on offer: a 10-speaker premium setup and a 14-speaker Bose Performance Series. This is one of the best high-end audio systems on the market.

Welcome to a brave new era for Corvette! Price? $59,995!!!



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