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PREVIEW: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 ‘an evolutionary leap in performance’

The new mid-engined Stingray C8 will go from 0-100 km/h in about three seconds flat. - GM
The new mid-engined Stingray C8 will go from 0-100 km/h in about three seconds flat. - GM - Contributed

If you’re a fan of performance cars, you’ve probably heard about the incoming next-generation Chevrolet Corvette — dubbed the C8 — which will be hitting the market soon.

By the way, the nomenclature works thusly: The “C” means Corvette, and the number represents the generation.

The C8 is therefore the newest (eighth-generation) Corvette. The outgoing Corvette, which is still on sale now, is called the C7. And so on.

For the latest C8 Corvette, there’s been an evolutionary leap in performance and pricing. From about $73,000 Canadian dollars, the new C8 will offer up nearly 500 standard horsepower, world-class handling capabilities, the latest go-fast tech, and performance figures on par with many an exotic car costing (literally) hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

Look no further than the engine for an idea of how serious an evolution this latest Corvette is. Like all Corvettes before it, the new C8 is powered by a naturally-aspirated V8, but engineers re-located it, for the first time in a Corvette, to the centre of the car.

Thus, the new Corvette features a mid-mounted engine layout, just like many an exotic Ferrari, Lamborghini, and any number of the world’s fastest cars.

So, at an asking price that barely opens the door on a (slower) BMW M3 or Porsche Cayman S, the new Corvette C8 will deliver supercar performance — including 0-100 km/h in about three seconds flat.

Until now, that sort of acceleration usually required an investment of no less than about $150,000.

Simply, there’s just never been a car that offered up this level of performance at this price point.

If what GM tells us about the new Corvette is true, product planners at many automakers who deal in high-performance cars are likely tossing and turning in their sleep, because this new Corvette C8, for a wide range of shoppers, might make the six-figure supercar obsolete.

For those after maximum performance specifications for their dollar, there’s virtually nothing else on the market that makes more sense.

This is all good news for the shopper, including those after a good deal on a second-hand high-performance car.

If you’ve been eyeing up the idea of investing in a used, earlier-generation Corvette as a future summertime plaything, than now is a great time to start paying attention to availability in the used market, as well as pricing.

At the very moment, second-hand C7 Corvette models command prices that tend to centre around the official MSRP for the upcoming new C8.

This varies widely by model grade, equipped options, and condition, of course. Some C7 generation Corvette’s are considerably cheaper, and some variants, including the higher-performing Z06 Corvette, are even more expensive.

Simply, there’s just never been a car that offered up this level of performance, at this price point.

 The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C8 is powered by a naturally-aspirated V8. - GM
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C8 is powered by a naturally-aspirated V8. - GM

Thing is, when the C8 launches, it’ll put a faster, more capable machine into the same pricing ballpark.

A brand-new model, with the latest tech. The latest Corvette, with the latest performance capabilities.

Initial reports suggest that the new C8 can easily be equipped to exceed the performance figures of even the fastest currently-available C7 Corvette models, but at a considerable cost advantage. And that’s from a brand-new car, with a warranty, and possibly, with a much lower asking price.

By this writer’s estimation, the asking prices of used Corvette models from the last C7 generation might be about to fall off a cliff, thanks to the launch of its replacement.

Here’s why...

First, unsold C7-generation Corvettes at dealer lots will likely need to be cleared out before the C8 arrives, which could mean considerable pricing discounts. After all, when the C8 takes centre stage in Chevrolet showrooms it will become a whole lot harder to sell un-sold C7s — given the massively-improved performance of the C8 and its highly appealing price point.

Imagine you’re at a restaurant. One steak dinner costs $50 and includes a side salad. The other steak dinner costs $55 and includes all the fixings and a much bigger steak. Same idea.

Note, as well, that the launch of a new-generation Corvette is likely to trigger trade-ins of earlier-generation cars by loyal owners upgrading to the latest model. This increases dealer inventory of used Corvettes, and also makes them more abundant in the used market.

Second-hand C7 Corvette supply is about to go up. And with the giant performance and bang-for-the-buck leap represented by the new C8, it’s not a stretch to think that C7 demand may wind up dropping as a result.

Why buy a gently-used C7 with some options for $70,000, when you can get the brand-new, much-faster, C8, with full warranty (and built to your specifications) for just a few bucks more, after all?

When supply rises and demand falls, prices also tend to fall.

Translation? Shoppers considering a newer second-hand Corvette, or an unsold brand-new C7, are likely to see better deals in the very near future.

Finally, this whole thing could also trickle down to the market at large, reducing the cost of performance and horsepower in general.

Why buy a second-hand, high-end exotic, (possibly for tens of thousands more), when the C8 offers equal or better performance (and a factory warranty), for much less?

Many of those saving $70,000 to $80,000 for a used performance car will, very soon, have a highly-compelling option in something brand new. This could result in higher inventory of used $70,000 to $80,000 performance cars and, eventually, in a price-drop.

Of course, other factors may be at play. Perhaps the C7 Corvette retains higher resale values as a collectible car of sorts; it’s the last of the front-engine Corvettes and may well be the last generation Corvette offered with a manual transmission (which is, at this writing, not available in the new C8).

Time will tell.

But the launch of the new C8 will be a very good thing for performance car shoppers in general.


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