I was getting out of the car at my hair stylists’ place when she walked out and screamed, “You have got to be kidding me!” She thought I was driving a Ferrari. I said, “What? It’s the new Corvette!” She took a long walk around, looked at me and said, “Yeah, I can see that.” And, that’s the beauty of the 2020 Corvette Convertible.
Reimagined Corvette Style
Its exotic looks derive from the engine’s change of latitude from the nose to behind the seats – a move to enhance handling and acceleration, but also freed designers to change the car’s proportions. The pointy nose, flared fenders, and angled LED headlamps give the car a Corvette face while black accents imbue a sinister aura. From the side, the optional black roof over Torch Red paint hints at the Ferrari LaFerrari, but the rear haunches, quad taillamps, and flying buttress rear roof bring us back to Chevrolet. Fenders are filled with 19/20-inch wheels front/rear. Convertibles trade the Coupe’s fastback with engine window for a flat deck.
That’s to enable a feature no Corvette has ever flaunted: A folding hardtop. Press a button on the door to watch windows retract, decklid open, and the roof bend itself into a space above the engine. It’s quite a maneuver that gives the car a cool look with the sail panels still in place. I’d prefer the removable targa panel of the coupe, but the hardtop gives Corvette enthusiasts a new option with considerable convenience.
Top up or down, the cabin welcomes passengers to a high-tech command center with a reconfigurable flatscreen instrument cluster, squircle steering wheel, and intuitive infotainment touchscreen. Climate controls are housed atop a thin panel running from dash to console. Tech includes a 10-speaker Bose audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. Seeing out was bound to be more difficult with an engine in the way, but a rearview camera mirror, rear parking sensors, crosspath detection, and blind zone alert alieve any concerns.
Performance Is Spectacular
Mid-engine cars tend to have cramped interiors and minimal luggage space, but the Corvette has wide footwells and nearly as much cargo volume -- split front/rear -- as the previous generation. A golf bag fits in the trunk while roller bags occupy the frunk. I wish our car had a higher trim package with head-up display and heated seats, but the entry-level Bose audio system still sounded fantastic.
Performance is spectacular. The 6.2-liter V8 delivers 495 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque – all sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. There’s no manual option, so flip the paddles if you wish to control shifts. Fully kicked, the car runs 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds and reaches near 200 mph on a track. Fuel economy rates an efficient 15/27-MPG city/highway.
Everybody thinks they need the Z51 package with performance brakes and suspension, but that’s utter nonsense. The base set-up is beyond the capability of mortal drivers. There’s no magnetic ride control, but selectable drive modes adjust the throttle response, shift points, and steering feel through Tour, Sport, and Track settings. For me, the suspension provides the right blend of handling and compliant on-road comfort.
Chevrolet out-did itself with the new Corvette Convertible. It’s a car enthusiasts will recognize, but also one that younger drivers and those with eyes towards Europe will desire. It accelerates faster, handles better, and adds technology no Corvette ever enjoyed. It’s also surprisingly affordable. A base coupe starts at $58,900, but rises to $70,380 for our open-top fantasy. Competitors include the Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-AMG GT, Jaguar F-Type, and Ferrari 488.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette
- Two-passenger, RWD Convrt
- Powertrain: 6.2-liter V8, 8-spd trans
- Output: 495hp/470 lb.-ft. torque
- Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
- Wheels f/r: 19”/20” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Style, Performance
- 0-60 mph: 2.9s
- Top speed: 194 mph
- Fuel economy: 15/27 mpg city/hwy
- Assembly: Bowling Green, KY
- Base/As-tested price: $58,900/$70,380