Spy shots

2021 Chevrolet Corvette C8 hybrid spied ahead of launch

The C8 Corvette is set to receive hybrid power, and our photographers have spied a mule testing

Though it’s still yet to hit UK soil, first customer deliveries of the all-new, mid-engined C8 Corvette have begun in the US, with the model competing with Porsche’s 992 911 Carrera. Following previous rumours of an electrified variant, photographers have already spotted a hybrid testing on the road.

Powered by a 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8, the current base-level C8 Corvette sends a healthy 495bhp and 470lb ft of torque to the rear wheels, through a dual-clutch eight-speed gearbox. Performance is surprisingly brisk given that power’s sent only to the rear.

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> New Chevrolet Corvette C8 review – America's sports car has turned supercar

As we saw with the C7 generation, Chevrolet doesn’t settle with the entry-level machine, releasing a string of variants with increasing performance over the lifetime of the car. First seen last year, a supposed leaked specs table suggested that the C8 would receive the same treatment, intriguingly, with what appears to be the range-topper coming with hybrid assistance.

Though a more standard hybrisied variant with similar power to the current pure-combustion car was listed, an iteration complete with an electrified 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged V8 powertrain is said to produce 838bhp and a staggering 922lb ft of torque – these numbers lead us to believe that this would be the range-topping, track-oriented ZR1.

The spy images don’t give an awful lot away, with bodywork, wheels and brakes all appearing to be the kind found on the standard car. An emissions test device at the rear does point towards the development of a new model, however, with an orange electrical cable (often used for high-voltage components) and front and rear kill switches suggesting the adoption of a hybrid powertrain.

Though we expect the technology to aid performance as opposed to economy, exact figures are hard to determine. The standard C8 Corvette accelerates from 0 to 62mph in a brisk 3.2sec and on to 194mph, with the previous-generation, range-topping ZR1 sprinting from standing to 62mph in only 2.85sec.

With development already under way, expect a reveal in late-2020.

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