With a lineage that stretches back, the Chevrolet Corvette is a mainstay of performance-car culture, and the current C8 model takes that tradition to a new place with a 490-hp V-8 engine mounted behind the passenger compartment and a still-affordable price tag. Performance in the supercar range and surgically precise handling make the Corvette a track day darling when equipped with the Z51 package—but its ride over rough stretches is unexpectedly smooth and its cabin is comfortable enough for daily use. Both a coupe and a convertible are offered, and the coupe has a lift-off roof panel for open-air motoring. Storage areas behind the engine and in front of the cabin offer enough cargo space for a weekend away, but don’t expect hatchback practicality like the previous generation Vette offered.
What’s New for 2022?
To celebrate the C8.R race car’s inaugural season, Chevrolet is offering a limited-edition appearance package on the Corvette which was inspired by the IMSA GTLM championship-winning competition version. Only 1000 will be built, and the package adds $6595 to the base price of the 3LT trim. The package combines Accelerate Yellow or Hypersonic Gray exterior paint with Carbon Flash colored mirror caps and rear spoiler. The Corvette racing logo appears throughout the design and the cabin is done up in a yellow and gray scheme to match. Other changes for 2022 include a new optional low-profile rear spoiler, three new colors, and a few changes to the Corvette’s mechanicals including a new fuel pump and fuel injectors.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Although the engine is in a new location—now behind the passenger compartment instead of in front of it—it remains a 6.2-liter V-8 , albeit one making 490 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. With the dual-mode performance exhaust that is part of the Z51 package, it makes 495 horsepower. The Z51 option also adds an electronic limited-slip rear differential, more aggressive brakes, and summer tires. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic (a Corvette first) is the sole transmission. It is controlled either by a push-button gear selector on the center console or by using two large steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. A manual transmission is not available. In our testing, we recorded a zero-to-60-mph time of 2.8 seconds and the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph in a car equipped with the Z51 performance package and the optional FE4 magnetorheological dampers. We managed a braking distance of 149 feet from 70 mph and recorded 1.03 g’s on the skidpad. Even in base form, however, the new Corvette is capable of heroic handling and delivers big thrills on both road and track.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Corvette remains a pure two-seater, and the futuristic interior is lined in materials such as leather, real metal trim, and imitation suede; it even has a fancy stitched headliner. Speaking of the roof, it’s removable on the coupe, just like those of previous Corvettes, and it fits inside the trunk that’s just aft of the engine compartment. The rear trunk also can accommodate two golf bags, and a front trunk offers space for luggage or cargo while the roof is stowed. The driver sits behind a squared-off steering wheel and a 12.0-inch reconfigurable gauge display; a large infotainment touchscreen is angled toward the driver for ease of use. The interior design takes the driver-focused concept to the max, bisecting the cockpit with a tall bank of switches for the car’s climate-control system. Overall, the new Vette’s cabin is quite good. Upgrading to the 3LT package gets you upgraded materials such as sewn leather on most of its interior surfaces, plus carbon-fiber trim.