the last two months we have endured a constant barrage of information
concerning the Generals "latest and greatest" Corvette. The C8 is a
testament to both American Engineering ability and market adaptability.
The C8 has and will continue to turn the traditional concept of
Americas only sports car upside down.
Extreme changes in buyer
demographics forced GM to take a new approach to the Corvette. Up until
now GM's traditional Corvette buyer demographic could be summed up in
two words "Old Guy's". The Baby Boomer set now makes up the bull of the
Corvette buying market. In order for the Corvette name to survive GM
had to take a different approach and target upscale X and Milleneal's.
The question of the day is will GM's gambit to attract a younger sports
car set succeed.
Corvettes "old guy's" car image will be very difficult to shake. GM has
spared no expense in elevating the C8's ability to compete with every
super car currently on the market. The question is will the reformatted
Corvette be able to compete with the Euro crowd? The fit, finish
and performance of the new C8 is as good or better than most of what
Europe has to offer. Throw in a very affordable entry price and in
theory the C8 should be a world beater.
Can GM lure a Porsche or
Ferrari aficionado into a dreaded Chevy showroom? Can you imagine
these upscale pseudo liberal snobs rubbing elbows and sharing couch
space with Equinox customers. Will Chevy showrooms now be equipped with
frappuccino machines and executive lounges?
attract and keep a new upscale customer mindset Corvette may have to
branch off as its own division. There has been some serious discussion
on this very subject. The unconfirmed rumors of an upcoming Corvette
SUV fit nicely in this plan.
Enough said about speculation and "what if's". How about some hard facts about what's new in the C8.
first noteworthy innovation in the C8 is its ability to leap tall
buildings at a single bound. Anyone who has ever driven a C5,C6 or C7
knows that steep driveways and inclines pose a serious threat to the
cars front end. With only four to six inches of front end street to
front end clearance Corvette owners have had to choose their routes
very carefully. My own experience with navigating low front end
clearance's include passing on a home purchase because the driveway had
an approach angle that interfered with my C7's front end.
to the rescue. The new C8 has a gizmo that allows the driver to lift
the front end of the car two inches with the touch of a button. The
front end lifting mechanism is even tied into the nav's gps system and
identifies locations that the driver previously marked as front end
hazardous. You have to upgrade to a 2LT or 3LT package to get this
handy feature. The lift feature will automatically re-lower the front
end when the car exceeds twenty four mph.
concept for the Corvette is a quieter interior. This is GM's new
awareness of what the younger buyer is expecting. The new buying
demographic expects a car that is a blend of both ultra luxury and
performance. Noise never bothered those of us that grew up to the sweet
music of glass pack mufflers and headers.
new rear end multi-use rear spoiler incorporates a wing at the ends and
a less aggressive center section design. Unlike the C7's Stage 3
spoiler that presses the rear with tons of down force kills top end The
new C8 design maximizes down force and minimizes drag and power loss at
high speeds. New front end ground effects also serve to eliminate most
of the road rash caused by shielding the car from flying rocks.
feature that has been a long time coming is blind spot alert. Its
amazing that GM never bothered to equip its flagship vehicle with any
driver assist technology. Even
Toyota Corollas are equipped with all sorts of driver assist safety
systems. With the exception of the rear and optional front camera the
C7 driver is
on his own when it comes to safety.
The C8 when equipped with
a 2LT or 3LT package comes with not only blind spot alert but a built
in high res rear view camera. This feature will definitely help out
with the now "hold your breath" while backing up a Corvette technique
that C7 owners never want to speak about.
The new top and bottom
squared off steering wheel is also designed with driver safety in
mind. The squared off top allows the driver an unobstructed view
of the cars multitude of electronic indicators while at the same time
permitting a better overall grip on the wheel.
Ferrari like engine view from the rear hatch is a definite attention
getter. The engine, like its exotic European rivals, is now fully
viewable from the rear hatch. The engine is fully adorned with carbon
fiber and stainless steel. This may be the first factory designed car
that is ready for the show circuit the moment you drive it away from
the dealer. Our friends at American Car Craft may have a few comments
The bottom line is that the new C8 is a remarkable
achievement. This new platform will launch the Corvette into the
future Americas only true sports car. Like all new generations of
Corvette there will be the naysayers who will comment on how ugly and
non traditional the new design is. These same people will eventually
own a C8 and proclaim what an outstanding machine it really is.