Every time we write about the mid-engine 2020 Corvette—and it’s been a lot lately—its price tag inevitably comes up. We at Jalopnik, like others, have speculated that this powerful and advanced sports car will carry a much heftier price tag than the current front-engine Corvette, which starts around $55,000 and goes all the way up to the $130,000-ish ZR1. Then come the emails.
“This is America’s sports car, sir,” these aggrieved emailers write. “There is no way it will have a starting price tag over $100,000. There is no way GM would abandon the Corvette faithful.”
Well, here’s the thing—what if it is that expensive? What happens to the Corvette market then?
This thought exercise, if you want to call it that, comes from a rumor making the rounds on Corvette Forum. Normally, forum rumors aren’t really worth too much consideration. They’re a dime a dozen and could easily be made-up bullshit. There’s a little extra credence to be given here, as this forum member has provided sketches of the completed C8, which they claim to have seen in person. (If that’s true, my guess is they work for a supplier rather than GM, but that’s purely a guess on my part.) So take all of this with a big grain of salt.
But it is worth thinking about, nonetheless. I don’t really see a world where GM can make a mid-engined supercar with a dual-clutch gearbox and supposed twin-turbo and hybrid variants in the pipeline, and keep it all under $60,000. Or even $100,000. How would that even be possible? No one else does that. This seems like a more direct competitor to the Porsche 911, Acura NSX, Audi R8 and more, and they’re all well into the low-six figure range.
What happens to the hardcore Corvette fans in that case? The Corvette’s value proposition has always been its biggest selling point—a car that can match the performance of high-end European machines at a fraction of the cost. A $60,000 Corvette can keep up with a ton of supercars, to say nothing of the Z06 or ZR1, which can outright annihilate them. Whatever this mid-engine Corvette ends up being, GM is clearly aiming higher than it ever has before, and that will mean a higher price tag.
So will the fans follow it into that price point, or does the Camaro effectively take the Corvette’s place as GM’s working-person sports car? My personal theory is that the front-engine C7 will continue on for a couple more years, as it’s still very good at what it does, alongside the more expensive mid-engine version.
And then there will be a much cheaper front-engined C8 Corvette, as we’ve heard that GM’s got two “Corvettes” in development. Which would make this entire thought experiment kind of moot, though it’s a Thursday in November and you and I both know that you’d rather be thinking about this sort of stuff than your actual job. Truth be told, we don’t even know for sure that this mid-engined thing will even be called a Corvette.
What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but the Corvette folks should probably start saving now if they’re serious about this thing.