There’s a lot more to the C8 Corvette than what meets the eye

The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette represents the most radical, yet required evolutional step for the Corvette name and maybe even Chevrolet and GM as a whole. In terms of tech, design, aerodynamics, and performance, the new C8 Corvette is a massive departure from the C7 and the models that came before it. With the C8, Chevy is rewriting the rule book for its performance division, and the new C8 will probably lead to a number of significant changes within GM as a whole over the next decade.

With the C8 being such a huge big step forward, there’s so much to discuss regarding it and what Chevy had to do to create such a powerful car worthy of the supercar name with a price point that starts below $60,000. It certainly wasn’t easy, and since we were there for the C8’s big debut, we thought it would only be fitting to discuss what the mainstream media and other automotive outlets just aren’t telling you about the new C8 Corvette. With that in mind, I invite you to join me on a journey that dives deeper into the C8 Corvette and exposes what nobody else is talking about.

The Chevy C8 Corvette’s Structure Has Few Weld Points and Lots of Bolts

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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Upon leaving the staging area for the new C8 Corvette, we were greeted with a whole bunch of goodies near the exit of the blimp hangar that served as the venue for its debut. There was a cutout version of the C8’s 6.2-liter V-8, a cutout of the new DCT transmission, and a whole bunch of optional equipment and accessories. The most important thing we spotted, however, was the display car that was, quite literally, cut in half to showcase the C8’s crazy engineering. Naturally, we had to check this out and, to our surprise, the chassis and structure have very few weld points – a lot less than we expected anyway. It almost looks as if 80-percent of the structure can be disassembled with air or hand tools.

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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Now, this is pretty common to some extent – the Bugatti Chiron, for example, is built in sections and then shipped somewhere else for final assembly.

However, it’s not something we expected from the C8 Corvette. To what extent the C8 can really be dismantled is a bit of a mystery, but we do know that the C8 is built in six different sections that Chevy is calling “The Bedrord Six,” which is a nod to the factory that builds each piece in Bedford, Indiana. Either way, there are clearly very few pieces in the main structure that are actually welded together, and the structure itself is quite impressive.

Fun fact: Most supercars, like the Lamborghini Aventador, for example, are designed to split in half in the event of a crash to protect passengers. Chevy didn’t elaborate on this at all during the debut, but we’re guessing the C8 is designed in the same manner.

The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Has Four Small Radiators

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It’s been a long time since Chevy came up with a car that didn’t have the engine up front, so I was really curious to see what solution the brand came up with to keep the C8’s 6.2-liter V-8 cool – after all, there’s not a lot of airflow behind the rear seats. The truth is that the C8 Corvette has four radiators and four cooling fans, all four of which are a little more than a square-foot in size.

Two are located in the front, with one on either corner behind those functional vents in the front fascia. The other two are located just in front of the rear tires and are obviously fed via the vents that begin at the doors.
Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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The coolant lines are, for the most part, run under the center of the car and are routed in a rather provocative manner through the front chassis. This is fine and all, but it does leave me wondering how Chevy can manage to cram a motor or motors up here in the event that the C8 really is offered with some form of electrification in the future.

The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette’s Rear Bumper Support is Incredibly Light

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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The 2020 C8 Corvette, despite its performance and price range, is actually a bit heavier and larger than most of the other mid-engined cars on the market. And, that comes after Chevy made huge leaps in terms of reducing weight as much as possible. One such case is the rear bumper support – the bar that runs horizontally and absorbs any impact from the rear. This thing, while outrageously strong, weighs what I have to estimate as a little less than three pounds and even possibly closer to two pounds, yet it’s one of the strongest parts of the C8’s structure. Its made of carbon fiber and is hailed as an industry first.

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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It wasn’t really put into perspective for us until we were able to hold that bumper support along with the rear bumper support for the C7 Corvette. The difference is absolutely crazy. T

he C7’s rear bumper support weighs at least 3 to 4 times that of the C8s and, due to its construction, there’s no way it’s as strong either.

The C8’s rear bumper support might not be that interesting or impressive at a glance but it did shave off some serious weight.

The Chevy C8 Corvette Has a Cast Magnesium Crossmember Behind the Dash

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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In yet another scheme to reduce weight, Chevy decided to go with a cast magnesium cross member to support the dashboard, HVAC components, and electronics up front. Whether or not this magnesium support actually assists with structural rigidity remains to be seen but we do know that magnesium is considered stronger than aluminum (the primary material used to make the C8’s structure), steel, and titanium in most applications.

It’s also a viable solution to reduce weight as it’s 33-percent lighter than the aluminum it’s bolted to, 60-percent lighter than titanium, and 75-percent lighter than steel.

Needless to say, Chevy took every opportunity possible to reduce structural weight, and that’s a good thing given the C8’s size.

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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Despite Having a Mid-Rear Engine and Rear-Wheel Drive, the C8 Corvette Does Have a Central Tunnel

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette is only offered with rear-wheel drive at this time and with the engine and transmission situated in the rear, there really isn’t a need for a central tunnel – or so you think. Believe it or not, the C8’s structure has a rather large central tunnel.

The most noticeable bits running through the center tunnel are the coolant hoses that run to and from the front radiators, but it’s most likely home to a large wiring bunch and a few other things as well.

Should the C8 be offered with AWD in the future, this area still won’t serve as a home to a driveshaft, as that will be handled via electrification, but the fact that the tunnel is there, and so large at that, is an interesting tidbit of information nonetheless.

The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Was Built With Electrification in Mind, but AWD May Not Happen

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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Rumor has it that the C8 Corvette will be offered as a hybrid, and that immediately opens the door for AWD because a large electric motor between the front wheels (or two smaller ones) could easily drive the front wheels.

The frunk (front storage area) would even provide ample room for a decent battery pack. However, it might not be as easy as one might think because the front chassis doesn’t appear to have the room for anything substantial in terms of electric motors – not one central motor or one closer to each wheel. As you can see from the image above, the electric power steering motor takes up a lot of space where a central motor might go and the coolant hoses would definitely need to be rerouted. Furthermore, due to the design of the front chassis, there isn’t a lot of room for an electric motor closer to each wheel either. So, even if the C8 goes hybrid, chances of it going AWD are very slim. More than likely a hybrid unit will somehow fit between the engine and transmission and help power the rear wheels for better economy and maybe a mild performance boost.

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Has Some Pretty Intense Brake Cooling

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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The corner vents on the C8’s front fascia actually serve a dual purpose. They are there to allow airflow through the front radiators I told you about before, but they also feed air into large plastic channels that send air directly to the front brakes. You can see the channels in both of the images above, however, due to the C8’s structural configuration, it was difficult to get a good shot.

Either way, the C8 Corvette was designed to handle heavy braking without the burden of brake fade from excessive heat generated during repetitive braking on the track.

The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Has Plastic Floor Pans…Kind of

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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I have to admit that I was surprised to see what appeared to be plastic anywhere in the C8’s structure, let alone in a place where the floorboards are supposed to be. Sure, there is a steel panel below where the seats are located, but below that, the plastic panel you see in the footwell carries back toward the rear. Needless to say, I had to ask what was going on – I understand the concept of weight savings and all, but damn, this is going to extremes, right? Well, maybe not as much as you might think.

According to the representative I talked to, these black panels – as well as the plastic trim on the doors that hide the door handles and a few other black trim pieces – are actually some kind of carbon-reinforced plastic that’s light and relatively strong as well.

It seems a little odd but when you have to keep weight in check, you go to extremes. Either way, rest assured, that’s not your run-of-the-mill plastic.

The 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette has Very Supportive and Comfortable Seats

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A lot of people have criticized Chevy for offering three different seats in the C8, with the most supportive seat setting you back some $2,000 or so.

But, I’m here to tell you that those Competition Sport seats, as Chevy calls them, are just that – they are designed from competition, track driving, and spirited driving.

If you’re simply going to daily drive your new C8 or just cruise on the weekend, you don’t need even the GT2 seats, let alone the Competition Sport seats. The standard GT1 seats felt pretty damn comfortable to me and I’m a big guy. The bolsters on the seat back and seat cushion should provide ample support even for mildly spirited driving. So, unless you want to spend money just to spend it, don’t worry about those GT2 or Competition Sport seats – they simply aren’t needed in C8s that won’t see track or competition. However, I wouldn’t exactly snub my nose at you if you opted for the GT2 seats – they at least have the contrast stitching and they do look cooler - I really can’t argue with that.

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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People Hate the C8 Corvette’s Row of HVAC Control Buttons, But They Make Sense

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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I’ve heard a lot of complaints about that controversial row of buttons along the passenger side of the center console, but I have to tell you, it really isn’t as bad as people lead you to believe. When you actually sit down inside the C8 Corvette, the first thing you notice is that everything that’s vital, including the infotainment system, is angled directly at you, the driver.

Due to the general design of the car, having all of the analog buttons somewhere on the center stack would just clutter everything and make things much more difficult to operate.

Every button on the center console to control various HVAC controls are very easy to reach from the driver’s seat and, because of their orientation, you don’t really have to take your eyes off the road to see what you’re pressing. It’s honestly an innovative design that’s basically required for the little space available here. I tip my hat to the engineers on this one – it’s a little strange and unconventional, but then again, so is a mid-engined Corvette, right?

We May Never See a Forced-Induction Version of the LT2 V-8 in the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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I know this sounds like a bummer, but the LT2 and the C8’s chassis don’t seem to be too friendly when it comes to forced induction.

To this point, we believe that higher-performance models like the ZR1, Zora, or C8.R will feature an LT7 V-8 which could, in its own right, be more powerful, but unless it’s smaller, it probably won’t be able to support forced induction inside the C8 either.

To explain, you need to check out the image of the engine bay above and the cutaway image below. A thin supercharger might fit on top of the block as there is a little bit of room between the top of the engine and the rear hatch, but there isn’t much. An integrated supercharger that serves as upper and lower intake manifolds might work if it can be situated within the V, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. My next thought would be the potential of turbocharging. With dual exhaust, a twin-turbo setup would be relatively easy. But, if you notice the proximity of the exhaust to the DCT transmission in the image below, this is pretty much a no-go as well. The turbos would get way to hot for the transmission and it would cause some serious issue without lots of heat shielding. Again, I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Here's What Nobody Is Telling You About the 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette Stingray
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If GM has somehow managed to prepare a forced-induction setup and sticks with the LT2 for higher-performance versions of the C8, I’m guessing it will be very innovative. Then again, the question arises about just how much power the LT2 can manage to pump out and maintain reliability. Something tells me that Chevy wants to stick with natural aspiration for the LT2 and has designed the mythical LT7 that we’ll here about later on with forced induction and\or electrification in mind. The way the LT2 is set up in the C8 Stingray, however, has me questioning whether or not forced induction is even possible.

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)

Final Thoughts

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray gallery
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In the end, I think Chevy is rewriting the book on affordable sports cars. Scratch that – affordable supercars. The car is meticulously engineered and is impressively put together. The weight savings alone goes to show just how hard engineers worked to keep the car as lightweight and performance-oriented as possible. How well the C8 Corvette will hold up down the road remains to be seen, but the Corvette has always been a halo car for Chevy, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the proper money was spent to do everything right from R&D down to the torque of every last bolt.

There is still one thing that hangs over its head, though, and that’s the overwhelmingly large amount of senior ownership. A large percentage of Corvette owners are at or near the retirement stages of their lives – it’s really not a young cat’s car. And, I heard a lot of negative comments about it during the debut from the “more seasoned and aged” drivers. In short, a lot of the older crowd didn’t like it and some even left the event early. That said, I think this new, radical design will most likely draw in crowds of younger buyers, especially when you can get exotic looks and performance at a reasonable cost, and there won’t be some sort of limited production or cherry-picking like Ford did with the new GT.

So, I believe that the new C8 Corvette will open a lot of doors for Chevy if it’s put together right and really performs as we expect. For $60,000, Chevy just made a lot of high-performance sports and supercars rather obsolete unless you’re looking to boast a badge or spend more money than your wife probably thinks you should. I’m curious to see how this all plays out for Chevy, but I think things will work out just fine.

Further reading

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray gallery
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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 Corvette Zora 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

1953 - 1962 Chevrolet Corvette C1 High Resolution Exterior
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Read up on the 1953-1962 Chevy C1 Corvette

1963 - 1968 Chevrolet Corvette C2 High Resolution Exterior
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Check out our review of the 1963-1968 Chevy C2 Corvette

1969 Chevrolet Corvette 427/430 L88 Exterior
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Read our in-depth review of the 1969 Chevy Corvette 427 C3

2001 - 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C5)
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Read up on our review of the 1997-2004 Chevy C5 Corvette

2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport High Resolution Exterior
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Read up on the 2005-2013 Chevy C6 Corvette

2014 - 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Check out our full review of the 2014-2019 Chevy C7 Corvette

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

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