Yesterday a report from Motor Trend surfaced indicating the eighth-generation of the Chevrolet Corvette would adopt a mid-engine layout with the motor sitting behind the driver and in front of the rear axle. The news of a mid-engine Corvette is certainly exciting, but some might think it is a move done in blatant disregard to Corvette tradition. That’s why instead of offering only one Corvette when the car moves to the C8 generation, an entire family of ‘Vettes will be on offer.
Motor Trend says Corvette is “obviously strong enough to stand as its own brand,” and we’d have to agree. We even think the Corvette could be sold at separate dealers away from other GM dealerships to help further differentiate it from other Chevrolets, but that’s a topic for another day. GM’s strategy for implementing a “family” of Corvettes will be similar to what Land Rover does with the Range Rover. They offer the standard Range Rover, the smaller and sportier Range Rover Sport and the even smaller and more stylish Range Rover Evoque.
For the Corvette family, there will be a front-engined car (maybe called Stingray again?) which would serve as the entry-level model and would be based off of the existing C7 Corvette. This car would appease Corvette traditionalists and ensure the car stays affordable, which is a large part of what has made the Corvette so successful.
The C8 ZR1 or “Zora” would be the second model in the Corvette model range. This will be the mid-engine car, which will ride on an all-new platform separate from that of the C7 Corvette. Motor Trend points out it is possible to do a front and mid-engine car on the same platform, but it would be difficult and “freakishly expensive.” The Zora Corvette will get the most powerful engines on offer, possibly with an output north of 750 horsepower. All-wheel drive is a possibility, but that brings us back to the topic of staying true to Corvette tradition. A hybrid drivetrain may also be on offer, an idea which seems very likely to happen given the recent trend towards hybrid super sports cars.
What Chevrolet is allegedly planning to do with the Corvette family can be compared to what Porsche has done. They still offer the 911 in multiple variants to please those that appreciate the long-standing tradition of the rear-engine sports car, but also offer cars like the 918 which allows them to go head-to-head with Ferrari and McLaren while not completely desecrating the 911 name. Granted the difference in price between the C8 Corvette and the C8 Zora Corvette will not be as steep as that of the 911 and 918.
All this talk about mid-engine, hybrid and all-wheel drive stuff sure sounds expensive, doesn’t it? Well, it probably will be. If GM does go through with the plans, expect the mid-engine Zora Corvette to cost around or more than $150,000. The front-engine car should retain a $60k starting price to stay in line with conventional Corvette practices. We were just graced with the C7 Corvette last year, so the C8 is a long way out, but thanks to these rumors we already can’t wait for its arrival.