American Performance – The Next Generation
We were big fans of the previous generation (C7) Corvette Stingray convertible when we tested several years ago. But with the introduction of the new generation (C8) mid-engine Corvette Stingray convertible, we couldn’t wait to drive it to see if the magic is still there.
We drove the C8 on the streets of Bear Mountain, NY. The conditions were wet, very wet. It was downpouring most of the time which gave us a unique opportunity to get drive this beast in conditions that are not ideal for top-down fun.
Behind the wheel with the top up, we barely even noticed that we were in a convertible. This is because it’s actually a retractable hardtop, not a soft top. The retractable hardtop is nice because it provides extra security and quietness over a soft top while remaining attractive. It operates at speeds up to 30 mph and lowers in 16 seconds. Unfortunately, the hard top does block you from seeing the gorgeous 6.2L V8 engine that’s located behind the seats.
The 6.2L V8 engine in the C8 produces 490 hp @ 6,450 rpm. However, since our car has the Z51 Performance Package which includes the performance exhaust, our car produces 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The sound of this car is amazing and is one of the best sounding cars available. As you accelerate, the symphonic roar gets louder and louder until you reach the redline, but it’s never too loud.
This car is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in around 3 seconds. As much as we wanted to test this, we couldn’t because the roads were too wet. Applying full throttle from a stop resulted in too much torque going to the Michelin® Pilot® Sport 4S high performance summer-only tires resulting in slip, even though it’s equipped with the Electronic Limited-Slip Differential (eLSD). The eLSD is designed to improve traction while cornering to achieve a balance between directional control and acceleration.
The 8-speed dual clutch transmission shifts quickly and is a joy to use, However, the C8 doesn’t come with a manual transmission like the C7 did. As much as we like the performance of automatic shifting, we miss the engagement we got with a manual transmission.
Braking feel solid. The Brembo 4-piston antilock brakes that come with the Z51 performance package do a nice job reducing wheel lockup during hard braking, even on wet surfaces.
Under less aggressive driving, the C8 feels more like a grand tourer. It’s comfortable, easy to drive and maneuverable. The C8 has an advantage over the C7 since it feels smaller, especially up front since the engine has been relocated from the front of the car to behind the driver. This allows for a shorter hood. As with the C7, the C8 is very low to the ground. We had to be very careful to not scrape the front end or drive over sloping pavement to avoid hitting the bottom of the vehicle.
The interior has improved materials over the C7. The dash and controls are positioned towards the driver. The surfaces are wrapped in leather. The squared steering wheel adds to the character of the car. Although it looks odd in pictures, once we were behind the wheel, our hands adjusted to it right away and it felt natural. The GT2 Adrenaline Red, Napa leather seating surfaces with perforated sueded microfiber inserts are comfortable and supportive for my 6-foot 175-pound frame. A learning curve is required for the controls, but there is some logic to the arrangement. For example, the long vertical strip to the right of the driver contains the climate and heated/ventilated seat controls for quick and easy access.
What we loved about the C7 remains with the C8 though. It’s a very attractive car that sounds great, performs even better and feels special. Although it’s not cheap, given the performance and how much more expensive its competition is, you can argue it’s worth the price and is actually a bargain.
2022 Chevrolet Stingray Convertible
MSRP: From $69,695
Engine: 6.2L V8 DI
HP and Torque: 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque with the performance exhaust or Z51 Performance Package
Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch
Drive: Rear Wheel
Fuel Economy: 16/24/19 (City/Highway/Combined)