There’s only so much you can talk about a car in theory before you need to see things in cutaway or exploded view. Thankfully, the Chevy team brought a cutaway model of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette at the official launch last week and we got to take a closer look.
With its panels stripped away, it’s so much easier to see the Corvette’s guts. How big its engine actually is. Where all the cooling goes. We asked Mike Petrucci, Corvette Lead Development Engineer, and Steve Padilla, Corvette Lead Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, to give us a short walk-through of thing.
Large exterior dimensions portend generous passenger and cargo space; the latter has been a long-running Corvette strong suit. That remains true in the C8. Its head- and legroom figures nearly match the C7's (legroom is down by 0.2 inch)...
This was quite apparent to me when I drove the car, so that’s what I wanted to hear about first. Petrucci said there were things like additional seat travel and a narrower center tunnel supposedly meant more comfort for the occupants. That narrower center tunnel is the result of all the car’s mechanicals now being located behind the driver.
A Corvette has to be usable, not just fast. I see and understand the team’s attempts, I just don’t know how well they pulled it off. But it’s interesting to see the bones of what they were working with.
The layout of the car wasn’t just a matter of simply sticking everything behind the cabin. Turning a front-engine car into a mid-engine car posed its own set of challenges. Petrucci said the team wanted to balance aerodynamic and thermal attributes, as well as powertrain cooling functions. Because the engine has now been moved to behind the cabin, the team had to engineer a new flow path for the air to reach it.
When it’s parked, fans located behind the doors pull air into the engine compartment. You can see them below:
Seeing the the C8 cut open like this makes me realize how much room is in that engine bay. I’ve poked around the 992 Porsche 911 cutaway and there’s zero space in there for anything. A mouse would have trouble finding a hiding spot.
But here? There’s definitely some wiggle room. Some mods-room. I highly encourage you to get ideas.
What’s most interesting about looking at the bones of the C8, however, is how similar they are to the new Acura NSX. There was a cutaway model at this past year’s LA Auto Show (pictured above) and it struck me how similar the two look. Obviously, the Acura has a whole hybrid system packed in there as well, but I can’t imagine it would be terribly difficult for General Motors to do the same to the Corvette.
Maybe the engineers could fill in the front trunk with a battery-powered motor in order to drive the front wheels. Hah! An all-wheel-drive, hybrid Corvette? I wouldn’t hear the end of it from the Corvette fanboys. Neat idea, though.
And yeah, that would likely sacrifice some trunk space. But who needs golf clubs, anyway?