• What Would the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray Look Like if it Was a Front-Engined Car?

This is what a front-engined Corvette C8 Stingray could have looked like

Chevrolet really got people talking with the location of the engine in the new C8 Corvette Stingray. The fact that the car is mid-engined made headlines, as did the slew of advantages this new configuration brings. There are plenty of upsides to a mid-mounted engine, but in spite of all that, some people aren’t thrilled by the new Corvette and they say they would have preferred if Chevrolet had kept it front-engined, in-keeping with tradition.

It seems that the people who share this view all agree that the Corvette nameplate is synonymous with the FR layout. Some go on to argue that the C7 was already mid-engined (well, front-mid-engined, anyway) and that there was no need to radically change the formula, just find ways to improve upon what was there.

Chevy, on the other hand, says it had just about reached the upper limit of what it could do with the front-engined Corvette, on top of the fact that there had been talks about shifting the Corvette to a mid-engined layout for decades. The automaker is adamant it made the right decision and that the mid-engined C8 is a better car than a front-engined C8 could ever have been.

And, it still looks distinctly Corvette-esque, even though its proportions might seem off due to the new layout. This essentially means that the C8 will probably still appeal to most existing Corvette fans, but at the same time, attract new buyers that may have been looking to buy something similar but far more exclusive and expensive. Is this the Corvette that will put a dent in Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren’s sales? Probably not, but it will definitely affect the AMG GT, Porsche Cayman, 911, BMW Motorsport, and Audi RS and R8 sales, though, as well as the second-hand supercar market too.

Only time will tell just how big its impact will be, but while we wait, we can still imagine what a front-engined C8 Corvette Stingray may have looked like.

Why did Chevy put the 2020 C8 Stingray’s engine in the middle?

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray gallery
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Chevrolet is proud that it finally put the Corvette’s engine where it says it knew it belonged for decades - the idea was always on the table whenever company big wigs began discussing new Corvette generations, but they always found reasons to abandon the idea before going forward. So what are all the claimed benefits brought about by the mid-engined layout, and could they have been obtained with a front-engined platform similar to the outgoing C7 Stingray’s?

We’ll analyze them one by one - the first on the list is weight distribution.

The new C8 Corvette’s weight distribution is closer to 40/60 (more over the rear axle), versus the C7’s almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

The C8 has a typical spread of mass over the two axles, similar to pretty much all other cars that share the configuration, all of which are usually rear-biased in this respect.

The big advantage this has is that it pushes the rear tires down more and allows the car to get its power down better. This is one of the reasons why the C8 is able to sprint to 60 mph in under 3 seconds with under 500 horsepower - a combination of more grip on the rear and sticky sport tires.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray gallery High Resolution
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Chevy also says it has improved turn-in on the C8 versus the C7 and that the car not only feels sharper and more responsive to drive, but it is also more willing to rotate and easier to drive quickly.

The thing is that the C7 could already have been described as sharp, responsive, and fairly easy to drive quickly, so we’ll have to see just how big the improvement is when we get a chance to get behind the wheel of the C8.

The manufacturer argues that having the driver closer to the front axle of the car improves the sense of control that the driver has - there is less car between the driver and the axle, so the car will feel more responsive, according to Chevrolet. Another plus point that Chevy mentions is the improved view out the front - this obviously has all sorts of positive implications, but it is especially useful when driving quickly on a track because it allows the driver to better judge where the car is, and nail apex after apex with more ease.

What if the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette was Front Engined?

What Would the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray Look Like if it Was a Front-Engined Car?
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How many of the points mentioned above could have been achieved without having to resort to moving the engine? Well, moving more weight onto the rear axle could have been achieved even without having to move the engine itself by reshuffling some components from the front to the back. Realistically, though, going from 50/50 to 40/60 without moving the engine itself would have been tricky, and it would most likely have resulted in wayward handling given that it could have upset the balance the car already had.

The view out of the windscreen would have been worse too, because of the sheer length of the Corvette’s hood (and the entire front clip).

Sure, it looks cool to see a car with a long hood and the greenhouse located way back, but it does pose some problems when trying to accurately place the car on the road, especially since the Corvette C7’s fenders are not only long but also quite high and rounded at the same time. In order to maximize on-track driving precision, you really need to know where the car ends, and that’s something the C8 does so much better than the C7.

What Would the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray Look Like if it Was a Front-Engined Car?
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The C8 will undeniably feel quite different to drive compared to the C7, and I’m sure both feel balanced in their own way. They will also require different driving techniques, especially when being driven quickly and/or close to the limit. Since the C8 has more weight on the back tires, they will not lose grip as easily as they do in the C7, but at the same time, it’s been known for mid-engined cars to be more difficult to control once rear tire grip has been lost. Both cars will have to be driven back to back to spot what the differences are and how big they are.

The thing is, though, that if Chevrolet would have committed to keeping the C8 front-engined, engineers would have found ways to improve its performance even with having to work around the front engine.

The FR layout is a formula that works, it results in a simpler car that is easier to control at the limit and also more practical. So, basically, if the C8 had been kept front-engined, it would not have been as capable when driven flat out on a track, yet it would have retained the classic Corvette look as well as a slightly more long-legged character.

What would a front-engined 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray look like?

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Looking back at the C7 Corvette, it’s not hard to imagine what this new C8 would have been like had the engine been kept in the front. Firstly, the greenhouse would have remained towards the rear of the car, behind the elongated hood.

However, the hood of a front-engined C8 could have been lower compared to the C7’s because the LT2 V-8 engine that powers the C8 is actually dry-sumped.

This, in turn, means that the entire front part can be lower, and there is less of a need for the power bulge, although it would still probably be needed on any of the supercharged Corvette models that will follow the Stingray.

The shape of the greenhouse wouldn’t have been that much more different, and in creating these three renderings to illustrate what a front-engined C8 could have looked like, I didn’t really reshape it - I just moved it back to where it probably would have been with the engine up front and just tweaked its shape ever so slightly. I based the distance by which it had to be moved on the proportions of the C7, and I think the result is quite credible.

What Would the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray Look Like if it Was a Front-Engined Car?
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For the front area, I also raised the headlights by an inch, maybe two, and I did the same for the surrounding bodywork. I’m sure that if the engine had been kept up front, even with the dry sump setup for the V-8, it would still have required a higher hood to accommodate everything.

One other change I made has to do with the exhausts.

The C8 still has quad exhausts, a tradition started by the C5 Corvette and maintained until the C7, but unlike its predecessors, the C8 no longer has its four exhausts grouped in the center.

It has them like pretty much all other cars with quad exhausts, poking through the bumper close to its outer corners. I much preferred the look of the central exhausts, so I decided that was something that needed to be changed for this series of renderings.

What Would the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray Look Like if it Was a Front-Engined Car?
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The vents that fed air to the engine, located towards the back of the doors, also had to be reimagined, because they would not be needed on a front-engined car. So I just flipped them around and placed them roughly where the C7 Corvette had its side vents. This way they are basically the same shape and they also serve a functional purpose. Oh, and I also added the Stingray logo on the front fenders.

Did Chevrolet go down the right path by making the 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray mid-engined?

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray gallery Exterior High Resolution
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Well, if you read the press release, then the answer is an emphatic: “Yes!”.

Especially since the car is more capable, faster, and more sophisticated, and it will essentially cost about the same as the one it is set to replace.

And, let’s not forget the mid-engined layout is the layout usually associated with more capable, more exclusive, and expensive exotics whose price tag is several times higher. So, in terms of making the most capable car it could, Chevrolet probably proceeded correctly when it abandoned the front engine for the Corvette.

Another emphatic “Yes!” would be the answer once you discover that while the 2020 C8 Corvette hasn’t fully sold out for the current model year, it’s really close to selling out already. We don’t exactly know how many units Chevy wants to build per annum, but a recent Autoblog report says it’s almost sold out for the 2020 MY. This does prove the fact that the mid-engined C8 will be a strong seller, and that people do generally like it, even if not everybody loves every part of it; overall, it looks like it’s shaping up to a be a success story.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray drivetrain specifications
Type: LT2 6.2L V8 VVT with direct injection and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation)
Bore & stroke (in / mm): 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Block Material: A319-T7 cast aluminum with cast-in iron cylinder liners and nodular main bearing caps
Oiling System: Dry sump-type (7.5-qt. capacity); includes oil-spray piston cooling
Oil Type: Dexos 2 0W40 synthetic
Cylinder Head Material: 319-T7 cast aluminum
Combustion Chamber volume: 59cc
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Valvetrain: Overhead valve, two valves per cylinder; dual-equal variable valve timing.
Valve Size (in / mm): 2.13 / 54 hollow (intake) & 1.59 / 40.4 sodium filled (exhaust)
Fuel Delivery: Direct injection with Active Fuel Management: Max pressure: 2,175 psi (15 Mpa / 150 bar)
Firing Order: 1-8-7-2-6-5-4-3 (all cylinders); 1-7-6-4 (with deactivation)
Throttle body: 87mm single bore (electronic)
ECU: GM E99 (32-bit processing)
Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm): SAE-certified to 495 / 369 @ 6450 rpm (with performance exhaust)
Torque (lb.-ft./ Nm @ rpm): SAE-certified to 470 / 637 @ 5150 rpm (with performance exhaust)

Further reading

The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Comes With a Powerful Engine and Performance Package Out of the Gate - Has Chevy Covered All Bases, Though?
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We’ve Seen Nose-Lift Tech on Super Cars Before, but the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Takes it to a Whole New Level

When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline
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When Can You Buy the C8 Corvette Convertible, Z06, Grand Sport, ZR1: A Timeline

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray gallery Exterior
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Wait, the All-New 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 is Priced How Much?!

The 9 Mid-Engine Corvette Concepts That Didn't Make it To Production
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Read all about the mid-engined Corvette concepts that never made it to production!

2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette ZR1 Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our speculative review of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Exterior
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Read our full review of the 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1

The 9 Mid-Engine Corvette Concepts That Didn't Make it To Production
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The 9 concepts that led to the mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette C8

Andrei Nedelea
Andrei Nedelea
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