UNCASVILLE, Conn. — The long-awaited, mid-engine Corvette hasn’t even been strictly suggested – a red-letter day is July 18, during an airfield hanger in Orange County – yet it can feel like a universe has already changed on from a stream Stingray. So, how about a small adore for a seventh-generation car? Or some appreciation for how superbly it modernized a multiply and carried a flame for Corvette fans? If any sports car deserves a small encore, it’s this one, imprinting a finish of a front-engine Corvette epoch that began 66 years ago with 1953’s exclusively Polo White, Blue Flame inline-six-powered model.
The folks during Chevrolet were apparently meditative a same thing. And maybe since they can’t unequivocally speak about a C8 until Jul 18, they put together a C7 farewell debate in Connecticut. For me, it was a acquire possibility to expostulate critically lauded models like a mega-value Corvette Grand Sport and a supercar-baiting ZR1 for a final time. You know, front-engined cars with adult to 755 horsepower that could fume supercars around a track. Clearly, a front-engined Corvette isn’t competitive, and Chevy had to mangle a mold wholly …
If that doesn’t tip off where we stand, concede me to spell it out: I’m as fervent as anyone to lay in and exam expostulate a C8. But I’m not wholly shopping a account that a stream Corvette was so damaged that it indispensable so radical a repair as a mid-engined layout, or to somehow stir Porsche or Ferrari forms — who’d never be held passed in a Corvette, regardless of where a engine sat. That said, I’m gripping an open mind, since meaningful Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter and his crew, a C8 Corvette is going to rock.
Underlining a tough act a C8 has to follow, for a initial leg of a tour, keys to a mightiest C7 of them all were indifferent for Autoblog: a ZR1 targa coupe, with a supercharged V8, 212-mph tip speed, and sub-3.0-second scurry to 60 mph. Yes, we can also get this thing in automobile form, that we assume is like Rogaine in reverse.
Coincidentally, we had driven adult from Brooklyn in a McLaren 600LT Spider. Versus a be-winged, testosterone-drip ZR1, a McLaren’s higher styling, carbon-fiber structure and considerably reduce weight were countered by a “mere” 592-hp, twin-turbo V8 and an as-tested cost of roughly $300,000. Since you’re asking, that compares to about $140,000 for a scarcely installed ZR1. Is a outlandish McLaren a better, more-engaging sports automobile than a ZR1? Of course. Is it twice as good as a ZR1? Of march not.
Like a Detroit outlaw incited lax on a gullible adults of farming Connecticut, a ZR1 patches anything in sight: The roads, a gummy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, any self-restraint. Dialing a Corvette’s shining electronic back differential to a Track setting, and a integrated Performance Traction Management to free-birding Sport 2 level, we spin into That Guy: Squeezing or stomping a stifle in several gears – first, second, third – only to see how quick a Corvette can go and still get those tire squealing.
Fresh from a few days in a McLaren, a ZR1’s steering feels common in comparison: Light and unsociable in a mellow pushing models, neutral and still unsociable in racier modes. But a eight-speed, torque-converter involuntary delivery is a ZR1’s (or any Corvette’s) genuine diseased link, a one square of hardware that Chevy can reinstate with 0 complaints from me. Gear changes are delayed and indecisive, and a Corvette’s molded cosmetic paddle shifters don’t demeanour or feel estimable of this superhero car. The C8’s expected (but not confirmed) dual-clutch involuntary has us anticipating for delivery opening in a operation of Ferrari’s or Porsche’s industry-leading units.
Those flaws aside, don’t consider for a notation that a ZR1 is only some Eaton-blown, muscle-bound oaf. First, notwithstanding that stonking, 6.2-liter LT5 engine hung over a front axle, a ZR1 doesn’t onslaught most to lay energy down, as prolonged as you’re prudent with a stifle in initial gear. This is a automobile that can run a 10.9-second quarter-mile with no need of electronic launch control. Sure, a McLaren will do a help in 10.4, though again, that occasional blip of pleasure will cost we an additional $170,000 or so.
Tire hold (at scarcely 1.2 g’s), downforce and braking are equally sensational. Learn to adore and trust that parallel and decelerative grip, and a ZR1 represents public-road profusion as most as any big-money supercar. And even a ZR1, with a captivating float cessation and ample cabin, feels smoother and quieter than a McLaren, either in a city or on highways.