Engine: 6.2-liter V8 Di HP
Transmission: 8-speed, dual-clutch automatic w/paddle shifters
Horsepower: 495 • Torque: 470 lb.-ft.
EPA rating: 15/city, 27/highway, 19/combined
Base price: $66,200 • As tested: $78,765
Overview: The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette C8 is a sophisticated mid engine supercar with a big V-8 powerplant that does the 0-60 drill in 2.9 seconds. It comes in coupe and removable hard-top versions. Our test driver was the LT2 6.2-liter V-8, with the Z51 Performance Package, and this review focuses on that vehicle only.
Walkaround: To the untrained eye, the Corvette could easily be mistaken for a Ferrari or Lamborghini. However, its dual twin exhaust pipes and dual twin taillights, plus the iconic checkered-flag logo on the hood, all scream Corvette. The prominent lower grille air intakes flow smoothly down the bodylines to the doors, where side intakes move air to the engine compartment. The rear is marked by a stylish spoiler that’s part of the engine access/trunklid. The hard-top convertible roof panels are easily removed and store in the minuscule rear trunk. A power rear window between the two headrests reduces wind buffeting with the top stowed.
Interior: The close-up view of the road over the short hood is the first thing you notice getting behind the leather-wrapped, rectangular steering wheel. A rising wall of single-file climate buttons runs from console to dash, separating the driver and passenger. The comfortable, form-fitting, eight-way power-adjusted, heated and cooled seats with power lumbar adjustments are leather, with contrast stitching. The 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is canted toward the driver and features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, satellite radio and a 14-speaker Bose sound system. A leather hand-rest conceals a drive-mode selector underneath, and there’s an excellent head-up display. There’s also a button to raise the front end so you don’t scrape it on curbs, and a rearview camera displays in the mirror. The front and rear trunks — in both the coupe and the convertible — combine for a total of 12.6 cubic feet of cargo space. The removable T-tops fit perfectly with no room to spare.
Behind the Wheel: The acceleration is simply mind-blowing. The 495-horse C8 is so amazingly fast and smooth that on one lonesome straightaway, we slowed to 20 mph and floored it. We pasted 100 in about three seconds. The eight-speed dual-clutch, paddle-shifted automatic is so good that a manual gearbox would simply be archaic. First gear is so low, it seemingly emulates a rocket launch. Paddle shifters give the driver control of shift timing, but improving on the electronically programmed gear changes seems impossible. Braking is swift and certain behind the 19-inch front wheels and rear 20-inchers, featuring huge rotors and four-piston Brembo calipers on both. Handling is excellent without requiring all-wheel drive for stability. The midmounted powerplant provides 40/60 weight distribution, coupled with a very low center of gravity — enabling grip and stable cornering, even on wet surfaces.
Bottom Line: Make no mistake, the 2021 Corvette is simply the highest-performing car you can buy for the money — period. That’s not to mention its cornering, braking and styling are as awe-inspiring as its acceleration. It’s luxurious without sacrificing function and is truly an engineering marvel.