If you did not believe that a prototype for the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette will be introduced, you were probably wrong since we might be looking at the model in these photos. Chevrolet decided to test the mid-engine model along with a C7 Corvette prototype which seems to be a new ZR1 sports car. Luckily for all of us, our camera was there to capture it. It is expected that the new vehicle is the C8 Corvette which will be introduced next year at Detroit Auto Show.
The C7 was introduced as a 2014 model and will not be produced the same way much longer since the C8 will be launched one year from now as a 2019 model. This decision was a result of GM’s C7 mid-engine project which was put aside during problems regarding company’s bankruptcy.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Rumors
Judging by the images, it seems that the C8 is a bit lower and wider than the C7, although both models are similar in size. The vehicle will not probably feature vertical lifting doors which many exotic cars have, but it will have a short front overhang. Under the hood, there is a pair of chunky buttresses, and Chevrolet plans to insert a sheet of glass which would enable us to see the vehicle’s engine. Most demanding will probably be heat management, this is something that mid-engine models need to cope with.
Our sources report that the company decided to test the vehicles during nighttime in order to dodge long-distance lenses. The project is also kept secret from the majority of GM’s employees, and only a handful of engineers working on it have access- just like when Ford GT was developed.
However, unlike the GT which is an expensive limited edition vehicle, the new C8 will be somewhat affordable. Certain rumors suggest that this car will use the same platform that underpins the C7 meaning that the aluminum spaceframe structure will be employed. Also, we might expect a new LT5 engine and a plug-in hybrid version in higher trim levels.
The Corvette is obviously changing, and someone might wonder why General Motors decided to take that step. One of the reasons is because the front engine, rear-wheel-drive layout might not be the right choice for future models. In addition, GM introduced the Alpha-based Camaro which proved to be a successful vehicle, and in order to distinguish Corvettes and the Camaro in the future, the company opted for a more exotic design.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Price
Just like the mid-engine change, the C8 will also feature a majorly different price. It is expected that the new model will cost $20,000 more than the C7 which has a $60,000 tag price. So, for approximately $80,000 you will get a more exotic layout, and the company will get a chance to advertise the C8 all around the world as the Chevrolet signature semi-exotic vehicle, just like Nissan promotes the GT-R.
The new model will be built in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Over the past year, the company made upgrades worth $700 million to the plant in order to prepare it for the C8, and we might even see a partnership with Cadillac.
Because of this, no more Corvettes sporting a front-mounted-engine will be produced, after the C7. However, Chevrolet already has a substitution in store- the new ZR1.
Are you sitting down? You might want to sit down for this one. We can’t decide if this is a bad thing or a good thing. We suspect most true fans of the Corvette will be against it or will they? Lots of people are claiming the new mid-engined Corvette is well on its way and certain spy shots seem only to support those claims even further. Whether it is indeed the Corvette or an all-new model we can’t say for sure but the car in the spy shots does look very Corvette-like, and it certainly seems to have its engine mounted in the middle.
We can’t say we’re shocked, however. Chevrolet has always designed and built mid-engined concepts but it somehow never got around to putting them into production. The mid-engine Corvette has been speculated for half a century by now, and we suspect the real reason the subject has been brought back again right now is because of those very same spy shots.
Short History of Chevy’s Corvette
The first mid-engine prototype was revealed in 1970 and in all actuality, the vehicle was just about production ready, but sadly, it didn’t make it into production for various other reasons. The Corvette Indy showcased in 1986 was another great success, concept wise at least. It had a twin-turbo V8 mounted in the middle of the chassis and, get this, all-wheel drive. That’s right, a 1986 Corvette had twin turbochargers and was powering the four wheels. Just nuts.
The new millennium started off great for Chevrolet, especially with the Cien concept in 2002 at the Detroit Auto Show. Between the axles and just behind the passengers it had a 7.5 liter V12 developing 750 hp. To be honest, it wasn’t branded as a Chevy, but it might as well have been. Everyone saw that GM was getting ready to take on a massive project.
In 2004 engineers decided that the Corvette was at its peak but also limit. They concluded that the front engine rear-wheel drive layout just couldn’t be pushed any further (yeah right, take a look at the C7 Z06), so they opted to move to the mid-engine platform. They went as far as building two full-size clay models of the Corvette and the Cadillac XLR and were getting ready for testing. The recession in 2008 hit GM hard, however, and the project was sadly abandoned. It was originally postponed for a bit, but they saw that it was leading nowhere and canceled the entire thing. There is a possibility that it’s not over, at least according to the latest information.
The C7 Corvette might go down in history as the Corvette with the shortest production run. Mark Reuss, head of Global Product development said that the new C8 (the C7’s replacement) would be “revolutionary.” Whether that’s true or just hype we can’t say for sure, but it certainly teases at the possibility of a mid-engine setup in Corvette.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Price
While we’re all for it, we have to use our heads and logic in this. One of the reasons the Corvette became so popular, and indeed still is, is because it’s great value for money. With a starting price of just $55k, the C7 is a great option for anyone in the market for a great sports car that doesn’t cost a small fortune. Now, that figure can be so relatively low because the platform of the current Corvette has been developed over a long period of time and it’s tried and tested out. A new mid-engined platform for the Corvette will have to be built from the ground up, obviously adding more to the finishing product regarding price.
There are a lot of rumors and reports regarding prices in case that the huge shift happens. We could hear figures staring from around $100k and going all the way up to $500k (all of them higher than the base C7), but the most popular one seems to be in the $150k region. Now while that might seem like a lot (we know it is), it’s great value when you compare it to the new Ford GT, a car which costs $450k. Obviously, one is a motoring icon, a sports car bordering hypercar, while the Corvette is what it has always been, an affordable sports car. Changing people’s perception of the Corvette might be difficult. Another thing can influence this move, the retirement of Viper. If Dodge changes its decision and leaves Viper on the market, all those fans of sports cars could opt for much cheaper Viper and avoid Corvette.
Engine and Performance
It’s logical to expect a V8 under the hood, even despite the fact that the “hood” will be at the back. There are rumors that it will carry a turbocharged V6 to keep costs down, but this is Chevrolet people. Don’t believe everything that’s on the Internet. Naturally, aspirated V8 like before would be a better choice and would keep part of the original offering.
The recent spy shots indicate that the C8 will indeed be mid-engined (if the car in the pictures was indeed the new C8). The giveaway features are the cabin, which is moved more forward, a longer rear section, flying buttresses, and a much taller rear end, especially at the mid-section. We saw the flying buttresses on vehicles like the 570S and the Ford GT, so we’re almost 100 percent sure the car in the pictures has its engine in the middle.
No matter how much money they throw into the current front-engine C7, it won’t go any faster. Sure, they can tweak and adjust it to infinity, but it’s still being limited by the front-engine design setup. That layout limits grip, both in a straight line and in the corners, and engineers at Chevrolet are well aware of it. Putting the engine in the middle automatically gives you almost a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, without having to fiddle around with any balancing.
The Corvette started off as a good sports car, but ultimately it became one that was not able to compete with the European counterparts. It was laughed at for having a cheap interior and poor reliability, but the C6 and especially C7 changed all of that. They proved that America can build a car to not only compete with the Europeans but beat them at their own game. The thought of an American mid-engined Corvette going up against the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini excites us, and we can’t wait to see the real thing in person. Fingers crossed it’s happening.