I really think a handful of supercar makers had mouths agape when Mark Reuss dropped the base MSRP of $60,000
Scrolling through dozens of comments of both sides of the automotive spectrum from the grizzled automotive journalist to random commenters on obscure car Facebook groups, I really think Chevrolet threw a figurative monkey wrench into the greater supercar community.
The democratization of style, power, and a mid-engine layout.
The hallmark of a bonafide exotic was Italian styling paired with bonkers power and, more often than not, and mid-engine layout. But, as the rest of the automotive world caught up and consumer tastes became more sophisticated, partly dictated by safety standards but mostly because bland design just wasn’t selling, most car manufacturers have some real deal style in even their basest of cars (e.g. the rear tail l lights of an Elantra)
No longer is expressive Italian style limited just to the Italians and their exotics. Even the likes of Honda (via Acura,) Ford (GT), and historically non-supercar marquees like BMW (i8 to Vision M) and Aston Martin (Vulcan) have all jumped into the fray with halo cars of their own.
Power comes naturally with the progression of technology. Arguably, the LT2 is the result of decades of engine development of the greatest American powertrain in history, the small block Chevy. As such, this latest LT2 comes roaring in with a healthy 495 HP and 470 lb-ft, just enough in my books, to classify this Stingray as a genuine supercar.
The numbers, a sub-three sprint to 60, speak for themselves.
Then, there’s the layout. For the longest time, a comparison between such cars like a Huracan, or Ferrari 488 to the country bumpkin Corvette was arguably an apples to oranges debate, engine placement made any handling argument, at least on a stock level, almost null based on their different handling characteristics inherent to an FR compared to an MR layout.
Now, this new Corvette has all three hallmarks of a modern supercar.
Economies of scale
$60,000. A part of me believes that, right off the bat, Chevrolet will probably not be making any money from each new C8 coming off the line. But, at some point, the new Corvette, as purely a product, will become profitable, and only in a way afforded by a company as big as GM.
Consider for one that GM has a proven power plant that they know their demographic will know and love as sort of a handshake between the transition from C7 to C8, there are savings there.
Then, there’s the portfolio of GM products that, in my opinion, makes these affordable supercars even a possibility, to begin with. I’m talking about Silverado, Equinox, Traverse, Malibu, and Cruze, all those cars that form the bread and butter of GM’s income sheet.
Finally, there’s the wealth of knowledge GM has acquired over the years through its CERV research that culminates into the C8. Anyone can now confidently say, in hindsight, that the Corvette was always going to end up mid-engined.
Consider what their press release said,
The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout…
Corvette had nowhere to go but mid-engine.
Based just on value, no one does it better
That base MSRP. Most competitors of this new C8 have base prices in six figures. Financially, none of them can touch that price, it’s fiscally impossible.
I’ve come across at least one person who just put down a deposit on a new NSX, which now has a new low base price of around $140,000, that they’re seriously getting second thoughts.
Make no mistake, the new NSX is, in my opinion, on another level performance-wise compared to this new C8. Consider, for one, that the NSX has true torque vectoring to the front wheels thanks to a hybrid assist. NSX also has its own bespoke engine with forced induction which technically is more advanced than GM’s pushrod small-block.
But, at the price of an NSX, you can literally get two Stingrays.
I can only imagine the situation is the same for a large chunk of supercar buyers. Why would you spend heaps more on a car for another car you can get at the fraction of the price with just as much performance if not more.
And you know the newer variants are only going to get spicier (more powerful.)
This new Corvette, it’s messing with people’s perception of what supercar prices should be and giving some supercar buyers, buyers remorse.