First Drive Reviews for the C8 Corvette were released on a voracious public yesterday. They were generally quite enjoyable, but it is difficult to really know what any vehicle’s true strengths and shortcomings are until it is pitted up against a rival.
Enter industry stalwart, Motor Trend, who didn’t just do a review, they also brought along the all-new, 992 generation Porsche 911 Carrera S for the next chapter of the best rivalry in automotive history.
The knock-down, drag-out fight started with a size comparison. The ‘Vette makes weight but comes in larger than the 911 in most respects. The C8 measures 4 inches longer, 3 inches wider, 2 inches lower, and a not-insignificant 209 pounds heavier than the rear-engined German. The Corvette offsets its weight disadvantage with… more POWER! The new, Naturally Aspirated LT2 V8 brings 52 more ponies and 80 lb./ft. of torque to the table than Porsche’s 3.0-liter, Twin-Turbo Flat-6, giving the home team a superior power to weight ratio of 7.3 pounds per horsepower (the 911’s horses each have to carry around 7.7 lbs.).
Next, Motor Trend took the sports cars to throw down at the drag strip. Here, the Corvette and its new 39/61 weight distribution, came up victorious against the 911 for the first time since long before I was even born. Amazingly, the base eighth-generation Corvette is the quickest that MT has ever tested! It hit 60 MPH in a C7 ZR1 beating, 2.8 seconds! That still only beat the 911 by .1 second. The C8 retained its lead through the quarter-mile where it trapped 11.1 @ 123.2 MPH to 11.2 @ 124.3 MPH for the Porsche.
Grip is where the Carrera S starts to fight back. It registered 1.09g on the skidpad, .05g better than the ‘Vette. Intriguingly, both numbers trail the front-engine C7 Z51 which could achieve as high as 1.11g when tested by Motor Trend.
Continuing with handling tests, Motor Trend ran the C8 and Carrera S through their figure-eight where the Porsche beat the Chevrolet 22.7 seconds and .94 average lateral g’s to 23.3 seconds at an average of .90 g. This is where one of the C8’s glaring deficiencies, understeer, rears its ugly head but MT cautions that it is most likely an intentional ploy by the Corvette team to protect owners who will likely be piloting their first mid-engine vehicle when they hop behind the wheel of their new Stingray.
Unable to take the cars to a real racetrack, MT set up an impromptu 3.5 mile closed loop of road to attempt to see how these two did against each other and the clock. Once again, the cars are close but, in the end, their hot shoe (not Randy Pobst this time for some reason) was 1.1 seconds faster in the 911 while the writer turned in a .6 of a second quicker time in the 911.
The final piece of the rumble will be music to the ears of anyone who has been watching and reading these head to head matchups for years. After absolutely crucifying the C7 ZR1’s traditional 8-speed automatic transmission at last year’s Best Driver’s Car competition, they had these glowing words for the new Dual-Clutch gearbox, “Many sports car makers have tried to match Porsche’s class-defining PDK dual-clutch gearbox. Precious few have come close. But the Corvette does—on the first try, no less.” The sigh of relief you just audibly heard around the globe came directly from Corvette lead engineer, Tadge Juechter. Their shocking praises of the interior were easily summed up by this quote, “Corvette’s cabin is nicer than the 911’s, a sentence we feared we’d never get to write.”
The new seats (long bemoaned as the Corvette’s weakest link) and entire interior layout also drew compliments, “(the midgrade GT2 seats) strike a balance between comfort and lateral support that even some supercar builders don’t get right.” and “We also found the Corvette’s controls more intuitively laid out—even that long strip of Chiclet buttons down the center console… the Corvette’s infotainment system is less cluttered and layered, and it’s easier to read at a glance and operate while the car is in motion.”
Other fantastic parts of the car included the front-axle lift system which they called a “must-have option.”
The biggest takeaways from the first slew of reviews yesterday had to do with the ride quality in the newest version of America’s Sports Car. One publication even favorably compared it to a Rolls Royce! This test was no different with Motor Trend saying, “In its default Tour driving mode, the Corvette rides like a luxury sport sedan while still handling like a mid-engine sports car… The Porsche may be a little quicker around a track, but there’s no question which car you’d rather drive home on a cruddy aggregate or a freeway cursed with mile after mile of expansion joints.” Great news for customers who actually put some miles on their cars!
The test ends with the Corvette taking home the blue ribbon after they said this to sum up: “It’s always been easy to write off the Corvette as producing big numbers with all the grace of 12-pound sledge. No more. If you’re willing to give up a little bit of steering feel and learn to work around the brake pedal, you’ll find far more car to love in the Corvette. Performance per dollar used to be an excuse to brush away the Corvette’s shortcomings. Now, it’s a virtue. Exotic and attainable, it finally punches above its weight class in every category, not just one. When it’s this damn good, money matters. The Corvette isn’t good enough for the price. It’s unbeatable.”
Chevrolet pulled off something special with the C8, so much so that this comparison test felt like the world has been turned on its head since the days of C6 and C7 Corvettes. The best part this whole thing? Our car is attainable! Their well-optioned Z51 still came in more than $34,000 less than the Carrera S did with no interior options added in!
What are you waiting for? Get out there and try to find an available allocation!!!
Here’s Your List of Magazines and Websites with Reviews of the 2020 Corvette Stingray
[VIDEO] Matt Farah’s ‘One Take’ Track Test of the 2020 Corvette Stingray Z51 Coupe
Motor Trend: 2020 Corvette Stingray Z51 Runs 0-60 in 2.8 Seconds; Quarter Mile in 11.1 @ 123.2 MPH