The new mid-engine Corvette C8 is a highly impressive machine, offering head-snapping good looks, big V8 power, and a very competitive price tag. We’re still pouring over all the specs and info that dropped at the debut in Tustin, California, but there’s one critical bit of info that’s still up in the air: the 2020 Corvette top speed.
Of course, we find it a little odd Chevrolet has yet to find out what its latest world-challenging mid-engine sports car will do flat out. Chances are that a top speed figure does exist internally, but it has yet to be finalized. Though to be completely transparent, we doubt the top speed figure is all that relevant for most buyers, and is instead something to brag about.
Boiling it all down, there are five basic factors that will determine the 2020 Corvette top speed, the first of which is horsepower. The new C8 Stingray rocks the naturally aspirated 6.2L LT2 V8 mounted just behind the cabin. The eight-banger doles out as much as 495 horsepower at 6,450 rpm and 470 pound-feet of torque at 5,150 rpm with the optional high-performance exhaust.
The next most important thing is gearing. Sending those roughly 500 ponies to the rear wheels is the M1L automated dual-clutch eight-speed transmission. Although Chevy didn’t announce specific gearing numbers, it did say that the seventh and eighth gears were tall to “make for easy long-distance cruising with low mechanical stress and excellent fuel economy.”
Vehicle weight is another critical factor in the 2020 Corvette top speed. Luckily, we already have that in hand: 3,366 pounds for the dry weight spec.
Aerodynamic drag also plays a major role in determining top speed. Specs on this front are spotty at best, but we do know that the C8 offers a front splitter and two-piece rear spoiler that push the Vette into the pavement with as much as 400 pounds of downforce. While great for cornering, more downforce also means more drag, which lowers the average top speed.
The final piece of the puzzle is the tires. The standard Stingray is equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport ALS rubber, while the optional Z51 Performance package adds in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. We were unable to locate specs on the Pilot Sport ALS compound, but we do know that the Pilot Sport 4S comes with a (Y) speed rating (186+ mph).
Put it all together, and there are still quite a few unknowns left to uncover. And even with a complete spec sheet, numbers on a page mean nothing until someone actually tests the 2020 Corvette top speed in the real world.
Until then, let the speculation continue. And to provide a little baseline, here are the Corvette C7’s various top speed figures, per model:
- Base-model Stingray: 187 mph
- Stingray with Z51 Performance Package: 186 mph
- Grand Sport: 181 mph
- Z06: 205 mph
- ZR1: 212 mph