Chevrolet made headlines a few months ago with the reveal of its controversial new Corvette, ditching the front-engined layout that had defined it in favour of the ostensibly more exotic and European layout of placing the engine between its axles. But whilst one convention has been broken, Chevrolet has faithfully maintained another, promptly launching the C8 Stingray in convertible form.
Chevrolet says that the C8 was developed from scratch to be a convertible, which would make sense, as the convertible bodystyle has been a permanent fixture in the range throughout the Corvette’s 65-year lifespan. For the C8, Chevrolet has decided to fit the Corvette with a folding hard-top roof, something made easier with the new packaging constraints of the mid-engined layout.
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The roof itself is a two-piece unit which folds back under the rear tonneau via an electrical circuit, rather than the hydraulic system used in the previous Corvette. The rear glass is separated from the roof mechanism, and can be dropped or raised independently to the roof, either letting in more sound from the engine with the roof up, or acting as a wind deflector with the roof down.
Chevrolet has not announced any official weight figures for the new model, but as the convertible has not required any significant structural reinforcement, we suspect it will only see a modest rise on the coupe’s 1527kg dry weight. Engineers have developed a bespoke tune for the springs and dampers to compensate, but Chevrolet says the basic set-up has been developed to keep the convertible as close to the coupe as possible.
The convertible package is otherwise identical to the coupe’s, with an LT2 atmospheric small-block pushrod 6.2-litre V8 engine mounted under the vast rear deck connected to a new Tremec eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Peak power is rated at the same 495bhp at 6450rpm, while despite the lack of turbocharging, the sheer cubic capacity helps the LT2’s torque figure with a peak of 470lb ft at 5150rpm. The convertible’s performance figures will also take a small hit over the coupe’s sub 3.0sec time to 62mph, but with only a modest weight gain it’ll still be plenty quick.
Pricing in the US has been confirmed, with the convertible costing an extra $7500 (£6000) over the equivalent hard-top, which itself starts at $59,995 (£48,000). Like the coupe, you’ll agree that’s rather a lot of mid-engined sports car for not a lot of money. Unlike previous versions, the Corvette has also been confirmed in right-hand drive, meaning now more than ever, the Corvette Stingray’s tempting value equation could actually be of use.