Chevrolet has dropped the cover on the drop-top C8 Corvette. The first-ever convertible hardtop Corvette goes into production in the first quarter of 2020 with a starting sticker price of $78,998 for the 1LT trim level, a $9,000 bump in price over the base-model coupe.
The two-piece hardtop is powered by six electric motors -- more reliable than previous hydraulic systems, Chevy said on Wednesday. It goes up or down in just 16 seconds, and you can do it while driving at up to 50 km/h.
A divider glass raises or lowers to fine-tune air circulation in the cockpit. The sheet-molded composite top stows under a cover. Lead exterior designer Vlad Kapitonov insists there’s no Ferrari in his design.
“I had an aesthetic of a Corvette in my mind and then many things inspired me: airplanes, fighter jets, anything fast and emotional,” he said.
The convertible shares the same 6.2-litre small block V8 LT2 engine with the coupe, as you’d expect, making 495 horsepower and 470 pound feet of torque (when equipped with performance exhaust). That engine will be mated to Chevy’s first-ever eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that the General Motors brand promises will provide “lightning-fast shifts and excellent power transfer.”
Even though the exterior has a distinct shape, the aerodynamic drag is identical to the coupe. The top itself stows in a compartment right behind the driver’s and passenger’s heads, on top of the engine. Chevy says there are heat shields back there to protect it from engine heat. The rear trunk looks big enough to hold a set of golf clubs.
The chassis itself had to be modified with unique springs and dampers to account for the droptop’s extra 70 to 80 pounds or 30 to 36 kilograms (no specific weight was announced at the California reveal).
The interior is the same as the coupe, with the long line of buttons to the right of the shifter.
“We were trying to keep the dash as low as possible,” said interior designer Tristan Murphy. “The whole name of the game is keeping everything low.”
Both driver’s and passengers seats are comfortably low.
“We’re particularly proud of the way it looks both with the top up and down,” said Kapitonov.