Everything We Know About the 2020 Mid-Engine C8 Corvette So Far

Image: Chevrolet

The mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray debuts in three days, and while there’s still a lot to learn about it, we’ve heard quite a bit over the years. Here’s a look at what we know and what we think we know about Chevy’s upcoming supercar.

The world has been talking about mid-engine Corvettes for about half a century now, but with each new generation, General Motors’ affordable-ish supercar has kept its motor up front. This new launch on Thursday, though, promises to change that, as GM has confirmed that the C8 Corvette will at long last place a motor between its axles.

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But other than the powertrain layout, there’s quite a bit more we know about this new ’vette. Here’s a look:

It Might Look Like This

As was the case prior to the C7 Corvette’s launch, images of the new ’vette have leaked. The picture above was sent to Corvette Forum and Instagram, and was initially published on Corvette Blogger. It shows the tail end of a vehicle whose features look quite similar to those of Corvette test cars that have been running around, so I bet it’s legit.

Also legit is this steering wheel, as it was Chevrolet who posted it. It’s a two-spoke design with integrated paddle shifters, and my boss Patrick thinks it’s a “solid evolution from the outgoing C7's wheel.” I agree, though I generally am not a two-spoke fan.

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If you want a peek at the Corvette’s full interior, Carscoops has some detailed images that show the dash and the center console area. It looks...interesting.

Image: Chevrolet
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While the steering wheel is official, and the rear spy photo looks like the real deal, the spy photo we’ve seen of the front is a lot more dubious, mostly because it’s grainy as all hell, and it came from a random YouTuber.

Screenshot: Street Speed 717
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That random YouTuber is called Street Speed 717, and you can see his video about the new Corvette here:

For reference, here’s a spy shot of a development car:

Photo: Stefan Baldauf
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We have a ton of spy shots of the upcoming Corvette, so check them out here.

It Will Sound Like This

C8 Corvettes have been seen—and more importantly, heard—all around the globe at this point, so there’s already a fairly large collection of exhaust audio clips out there, like the one above. And Chevrolet even posted its own clip on the Corvette’s launch page. The thing sounds good; I can’t wait to hear it in person.

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A 6.2-liter ‘LT2' V8 and Eight-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission

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Back in March, Jalopnik contributor Bozi Tatarevic got his hands on what appears to be leaked Corvette order guide, which apparently shows that the new Corvette will get a V8 motor and a dual-clutch automatic. From Bozi:

The first screen shot starts out with the powertrain details and shows that the sole engine option on this document is coded as LT2. The abbreviations for the engine state that it is a high output aluminum eight-cylinder engine with direct injection, variable-valve timing, and Active Fuel Management. This engine is likely a refresh of the current LT1 engine, which means that it will be the base option and should make somewhere between 460 and 500 horsepower based on the specs of the current model.

Rumors have circled that the C8 will be the first Corvette with a dual-clutch transmission, and this document appears to confirm it. The sheet lists an “M1L” transmission code that is described as an “Auto 8-Speed, Dual Clutch.”

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Check out the full story here, which shows that the C8 may share quite a bit of equipment with the outgoing C7.

Other Possible Engine Options? Maybe a Hybrid?

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But the Corvette will almost certainly offer a multitude of engine options. And since supercars are electrifying these days, if the Corvette wants to be considered a truly modern supercar, it, too, will have to follow suit.

It’s no surprise, then, that back in May of 2018, Car And Driver speculated that the new Corvette would offer not only a 600 HP flat-plane crank V8 and an 800 HP twin-turbocharged flat-plane crank V8 to join a 6.2-liter pushrod V8, but also a hybrid that the website said in April of this year could “combined power rating that could approach 1,000 horsepower.” From C&D:

But hang on: What if we told you that within a couple of years Chevy would add a 200-hp electric motor to the mix? The twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 will abuse the rear tires while the electric motor, housed in what would typically be a front trunk, will energize the fronts. That’s right: This mid-engined/front-motor Corvette will have a horsepower rating at or near the four-digit mark.

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We’ve also heard rumors of a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8, though GM Authority wrote in March of last year that Cadillac boss Johan de Nysshen shut down rumors that the brand’s “Blackwing” 4.2-liter V8 would make its way into a Corvette. But I suppose the ’vette could use a variant of that motor? We just don’t know.

Here’s What It Looks Like Blasting Through the Nürburgring

Check out the Corvette being tested at the fabled Nürburgring.

Rear Coil Springs?

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For the longest time, the Corvette has used composite transverse leaf-springs at the front and rear. For 2020, it appears that that tradition may go away in favor of a more traditional coil sprung suspension—that is, if the leaked CAD images from a CorvetteForum user firebirdfan are to be trusted.

What About the Name? Will There Be Two Variants?

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We know for sure that the vehicle that will debut on Thursday will be called the Corvette Stingray, but earlier this year, we wrote about how GM had trademarked “Zora,” the first name of Zora Arkus-Duntov, the father of the Corvette. Motor1 guesses that the top-end variant of the new Corvette could get that new name, and that seems plausible.

There was also discussion a while ago about the concept of the front-engine C7 sticking around as a cheaper option while the C8 goes after the big dogs like the Acura NSX, Porsche 911, and Audi R8. But with the last C7 car having been auctioned off in June, it seems that a front-engine Corvette may be out of the picture, as Bozi Tatarevic wrote in his April, 2019 article about the auction:

This announcement, made by GM CEO Mary Barra confirms my suspicion that—despite rumors to the contrary—C7 production would not continue on alongside the C8-generation mid-engine car.

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Prior to that auction story, Bozi found info that implied that two Corvette platforms were indeed under development. From his story:

The next-generation Corvette currently has two working platform names, according to the public LinkedIn profiles, “Y2XX” for the standard front-engine car and “ZERV” for the mid-engine car. That’s not surprising as the C7 used the working name of “Y1XX,” and the ZERV name seems very related to the CERV name used for their mid-engine projects in the past.

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But the idea that GM would develop two new Corvettes seems highly unlikely.

It’s Possible It May Not Cost as Much as You Fear

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A big question about the C8 Corvette is the price. Is GM trying to go upmarket with this new mid-engine machine? That’s really what everyone wants to know, but Car & Driver says to expect the vehicle to start in the $62,000 range. Hagerty, who claims to have “well-placed sources,” said in March that we should expect the base car to cost “between $60-70,000.” I hope they’re both right.

After a number of delays, including one that Hagerty said had to do with “distortion of the aluminum spaceframe experienced during testing a prototype equipped with the 900-1000 horsepower twin-turbo V-8,” GM will finally show the new Corvette to the world on Thursday at 10:30 P.M. ET. Only then will we know how many of the things on this list are legit, and how many are total bullshit.

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio