2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

And let’s not forget that this is the “slow” one!

It’s not often a vehicle maintains its namesake, but changes just about everything else. The Chevrolet Corvette has been an American icon for more than half a decade, but this eighth-generation (called the “C8”) goes in a completely different direction. The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ditches its front engine setup in favour of a mid-engine layout, and sticks with its naturally aspirated V8 for serious supercar goodness.

Now, many would argue that the Corvette, in any iteration, isn’t exactly a supercar. But short of an exotic nameplate, there’s nothing about this car that makes it anything less. It has the low-slung proportions of a six-figure exotic, absolutely gorgeous lines, and every bit of power expected from what’s effectively a dream car for enthusiasts of all ages. Our bright yellow test unit garnered looks of awe in a variety of environments, a rarity with how polarizing most modern cars look.

While every Corvette to date has looked like a more modern evolution of the model it replaced, the C8 is something different. The relocation of the engine has required a fresh start from the ground up. As a result, it looks like a McLaren from some angles, and a Ferrari from others. The reality is, no one knows what it is until they’re up close and see the “Corvette” text on the back, or the Stingray badges. It’s truly special, and that’s an impression that isn’t going away anytime soon.

Full disclosure – there are plenty of Corvette enthusiasts among the DoubleClutch.ca Magazine crew. We actually collectively own more than five of them, and while I’m not an owner, I have come to appreciate the sheer performance for your dollar value aspect. The Corvette Stingray Z51 is powered by a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8, which in this application pops out 495 horsepower at 6,450RPM and 470 lb-ft. of torque at 5,150RPM. For a 3,600-pound sports car, it’s legitimately fast, boasting a 3-second 0-100km/h sprint.

Many will argue that there’s no replacement for displacement, and in this case it holds true. The C8 Corvette is simply marvelous, with instantaneous throttle response and a wide powerband that keeps it eager enough to always be eager to hustle. The one caveat is that there is no more manual transmission – the seven-speed gearbox that was on the previous-generation Corvette is now gone. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic is the only available gearbox, and while not a manual, it really is quite good.

The reality is that the new Stingray is so fast that most buyers won’t complain about the lack of a stick. It moves with both ferocious grunt as expected from anything bearing the Corvette badge, and the grace that today’s buyers in the six-figure bracket have come to want. It’s just as sensational of a grand tourer as it is a track monster. Handling is responsive with the perfect amount of balance, and excellent steering response despite the electrically assisted power steering rack.

Obviously there are paddle shifters should you choose to change gears on your own, and they are actually quite quick to respond. We highly recommend driving the car in its sportiest setting, with the transmission set to manual mode. Ride quality with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control is also on point – when blasting along the highway, the Corvette is as comfortable as it gets. A nose-lift option is on board to ensure the front end is protected from curbs and driveways, and the navigation system can store preferred locations in memory to save you the effort of, you know, actually remembering to lift the front end when getting home.

Adding onto the new Corvette’s strong points is fuel economy – despite being a large displacement V8, it’s capable of keeping engine revs extremely low on the highway and implementing technology to conserve fuel anywhere possible. We observed 9.8L/100km on a longer highway run across the city, and a combined 13.6L/100km over the course of our test. Naturally, premium grade fuel is required.

Pricing is where things get interesting. Though it looks like a six-figure car, and can easily get there, the Stingray starts at $69,398. Don’t get too excited – short of a special order that at this rate might take years, you aren’t finding one for anywhere near that base price. Our Convertible model starts at $78,398, and was heavily optioned to the tune of six figures.

The top-trim 3LT begins at $93,898, and things like the must-have Z51 Performance Package will set buyers back $6,995. Performance junkies will need this as it adds an electronic limited-slip diff, Brembo brakes, performance suspension, Michelin Pilot 4S tires, and more aggressive body skirting. It’s very easy to get the Stingray over the $100,000 mark, but if you can pass on the convertible, the coupé can be had nicely equipped well under that mark.

Inside the Corvette, the differences are just as stark, but still remains a very driver-focused cabin. The steering wheel is squared off, which can take some getting used to, and the push-button gear selector is something new to this car. The advantage to this wheel is a clearer view of the instrument cluster, which is easy to read and crystal clear even in direct sunlight. The linear panel to the right of the infotainment screen contains real buttons for all major controls, including climate control, seat heat and ventilation.

Infotainment is a huge plus point here as well, just like in every other General Motors application currently offered for sale. The touchscreen-based system is very easy to use and houses both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All of the vehicle’s diagnostics are also on board, and things like a track recorder will be beneficial to those who hit the racetrack often. Two trunks are on board, both in front and one behind the engine in the rear. Combined capacity is 357-liters, and two golf bags will fit in the rear trunk.

Where the Corvette continues to impress is in its sheer dynamic range. The transformation from comfortable cruiser to thoroughbred American track monster is something we have never really seen before, at any price point. Even high-dollar cars like the BMW M8 Competition don’t offer the same level of ferocity in aggressive driving, a trait unique to the American muscle car.

And that’s not all – let’s not forget that this is the “slow” one! If the Corvette’s history is to be trusted, we can rely on Chevrolet to introduce faster and faster versions in the coming years. The customer base has also spoken to confirm that demand is better than ever; this car is sold out with a waiting list longer than one year. The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is not only the best Corvette ever, it’s simply one of the best cars on sale today.

See Also:

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

2021 BMW M2 CS

2021 BMW M3 Manual

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