The 2020 Corvette is ushering in a new generation for America’s sports car. The C8’s mid-engine design means better handling around corners and improved grip off the line. The Corvette will finally and truly be able to keep up with the best from Porsche and Ferrari thanks to its new architecture.
Those in favor of the latest and greatest will love the mid-engine C8, but let’s not forget the C7. It represents the pinnacle of front-engine sports cars with a 60+ year heritage. And since this is the last generation of front engine cars using the Corvette name plate, it will surely become a collectible.
Upon first approach, the long sweeping hood paired with hood scoops and side scoops scream race car. They are a visual tease to the 6.2L naturally aspirated V8 lying under the long hood, just behind the front axel. The pushrod engine pumps out 460 horsepower and 465 pounds-of-torque, which can be paired with either an 8-speed automatic or 7-speed manual transmission. This will be your last chance to get a new Corvette with a manual transmission, so get it while you still can. Dual clutch transmissions, like on the 2020 C8 Corvette produce better lap times due to quicker shifts and reduced power loss, but they lack the emotion connection of manually sliding through the gears one by one. My test vehicle was the Grand Sport edition, which gives you wider tires and an electronic limited slip differential standard. You also get a best-in-class traction control system with 12 different drive mode variations. Eco, Weather, Touring, Sport, and Track are standard programs – but if you hold the traction control button, you get increased options for track driving. Everything combined allows the C7 Corvette Grand Sport to reach 60 mph in 3.6 seconds from a standstill. That is nearly half a second faster than the current generation Porsche 911. Plus the Corvette starts at a price tag of $30,000 less than the Porsche.
In terms of options that will make the Corvette Grand Sport creep above the $65,000 tag: I highly recommend getting the optional magnetic ride control, which uses magnetic fluid to soft the suspension in order to improve ride quality or stiffen the suspension to improve handling characteristics. It is a must for performance enthusiasts. Going for the 7-speed manual gearbox with rev matching or the 8-speed traditional automatic gearbox is a toss up… the manual gearbox should be more collectible and it is more engaging, but the automatic is faster off the line. Another highly recommend option is the convertible. I am partial to convertibles to begin with, but as of now, you won’t be able to get the C8 Corvette as a convertible. So buying a convertible C7 will mean that your vehicle is the best Corvette Convertible ever made for a longer period of time.
The interior of the C7 Corvette is leaps and bounds better than any of the previous generation Corvettes. Gone are the cheap plastics from yesteryear. It has been replaced with leather on the dash (on premium models), high quality plastics, and aluminum or carbon fiber trim prices. My test vehicle was dressed with a beautiful full leather interior, complete with aluminum trim pieces and thick gray stitching. In arms reach there is a 8″ touch screen display for controlling the infotainment system. Standard is a BOSE audio system that really rocks. There is also a large customizable display on the instrument cluster to compliment traditional the traditional gauges. Based upon your settings, this display can show a whole slew of performance metrics or previews of the infotainment settings.
Like I said before, my test vehicle is of the convertible variety. The top open and closes in mere seconds when driving under ~30 miles per hour. With the top down you get a cool breeze through your hair when cruising, and only a small whirlwind when on the highway. With the top down you get a seemingly quiet ride. I compared the coupe and convertible version side by side, the coupe is only slightly more quiet on the highway. It is important to note the the coupe C7 Corvette comes with a removable targa top (like on the 2020 c8). However, nothing compares with a true open air experience of a full convertible on a warm day.
So the $60,000 question is, should you buy a C7 Corvette or wait for the C8 Corvette next year?
- If you are a collector, yes.
- If you are a Corvette traditionalist, yes.
- If you want a manual transmission Corvette, yes.
- If you want a convertible Corvette, yes.
- If you want the best performance possible from an American icon, no.
I would personally wait for the 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray if I were to spend my money. Its vastly improved design and new engine is propelling the C8 2020 Corvette from sports car to super car. On the flip side, I heard that local dealers are offering thousands of dollars off of the C7 Corvette Stingray, Corvette Grand Sport, Corvette Z06, and Corvette ZR1.