As the car industry responds to an ever-changing global market, it is curious to examine classic cars and see how they measure up by modern standards. So much of the industry has been defined and shaped by important designs and cars that changed the way we think about engineering, style, and performance. One great example of this is the 2021 Chevy Corvette.
This American icon is one of the most famous high-speed performance cars in the world and competes with the greatest European-made models that traditionally dominate the class. The 2021 Chevy Corvette is the newest model and adds a few new features to the 2020 model, which debuted the eighth generation or C8 Corvette. Featuring a radically different mid-engine layout, the C8 took the sports car world by storm, and 2021 is Chevy’s second chance to let their newest sports car shine.
The question remains, is it worth it? In an era of new innovations, is the high price tag that comes with such an intense piece of engineering really worth it? We will take a look at where the Corvette has been and what the new C8 model offers to help you determine if this beast lives up to the legacy that began nearly 70 years ago.
The Chevy Corvette is an American icon with decades of history and one of the fiercest groups of die-hard fans any model can claim to have. There are nearly 70 years of production history and eight design generations of the Corvette. It all began In the 1950s when Chevy was experiencing a slump. The brand manager, Thomas Keating, sought an opportunity to revitalize their brand and pursued a new design – a powerful and sleek sports car to compete with famous European vehicles from brands such as Porsche and Ferrari. That decision led to Project Opel.
Project Opel was the working name for the car that would become a legend: the Corvette. Premiering at the 1953 GM Motorama in New York City, the Chevy Corvette was met with a warm welcome and, in the years following, went on to become the definitive American sports car across the world. Drivers in the early years of the car’s release noticed a distinct change in the way people viewed sports cars. It has always been true that a nice car draws a crowd, but the Corvette drew gawkers from anywhere within eyesight. The contours, curves, and racer-like qualities immediately made it a favorite not just in the states but everywhere.
Since those years, the Corvette has gone through eight generations, with the latest C8 premiering in 2020. Over the better part of a century, it has remained at the top of the totem pole with countless awards from every automotive publication of note. Few other vehicles have such a rock-solid place in the hearts and history of America as the Corvette, so how does the 2021 model fit in, what does it change, and what can we look forward to staying the same.
The Corvette redefined the way Americans looked at cars, and the 2021 Corvette carries on that legacy with a killer body design that is easily identifiable as a classic Corvette with plenty of modern attitude and design innovations. The biggest change with the C8 Corvette was moving the engine from in front of the driver to behind the driver. This change is more in line with the best of the competition, such as Ferrari, McLaren, and Lamborghini. It provides a more athletic and aggressive look while distributing the weight more evenly across the body.
As has come to be expected, this performance car also sports tons of sleek air intake vents, contour lines, and sculpted elements that leave no doubt the purpose of such a car. It punches far above its price point with impeccable looks matched by an even more impressive engine that operates as the beating heart of this legendary sports car.
When it comes to sports cars, one of the first questions you will get is what kind of engine you have. The 2021 Chevy Corvette carries some of the most advanced and powerful engine technology available to the class. Just like previous generations, it is powered by a high-displacement naturally-aspirated V8 engine. This 6.2L beast generates up to 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque and can propel the car from zero to sixty in under three seconds as well as reach a top speed of 194 mph. This thing is no joke.
The V8 engine goes with the Corvette like peanut butter goes with jelly. After so long, you generally think of one when you mention the other. There are certain innovations that the C8 engine maintains, such as the traditional use of pushrods over double-overhead cams. While we are still waiting for the high-performance versions of the C8 to replace the likes of the C7 Z06 and Grand Sport, Chevy has worked hard to make even the base trim a one-stop-shop for speed, performance, and acceleration.
Everything about the new C8 Corvette is beautifully integrated to provide a smooth and responsive driving experience. All of the power is channeled through the remarkable 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. As you may suspect, if you know supercars, the transmission only sends power to the rear wheels. There is also a sophisticated electronic limited-slip rear differential that will optimally distribute power across the rear wheels for some truly incredible performance.
The biggest concern for many new buyers is the cost. Of all the things the Corvette is so famous for, its attainability is one of the most important. As the Corvette eases into its eighth generation, offering the looks and performance of a six-figure European supercar, that remains true. While not a responsible purchase for all buyers, the 2021 Corvette is remarkably affordable in absolute as well as relative terms.
The MSRP of the 2021 Chevy Corvette remains unchanged from last year at just $58,900. While a fully-loaded 3LT Convertible can run you well over $90,000, the entry-level price for a new Corvette isn’t far off that of a new Chevy Suburban SUV. Considering what the Corvette is capable of as a mid-engine, high-performance sports car, that is a pretty spectacular deal.
For instance, take the Porsche 718 Cayman, an affordable European mid-engine car. It starts at $59,900 and turns in performance numbers noticeably worse than the 2021 Corvette, with a zero to sixty speed of nearly five seconds and a top speed of only 170 mph. To get the Corvette’s 2.9 second zero to sixty time from Porsche, you will have to opt for the 911 Turbo at $170,800. Considering this vast difference in prices between the Corvette and some of its key competition, Chevy’s supercar is incredibly affordable.
The Year of the Corvette
2020 was not a spectacular year to debut the newest generation of the Corvette. However, in 2021, the C8 has the opportunity to prove itself as the greatest addition to the long and proud legacy of the world’s most iconic sports car. The newest generation of the Corvette introduced innovations in performance and design inspiration which modernized the classic sports car while not distancing it too far from its origins. Even better, the Corvette remains available at a price point that is within reach of many drivers. It seems there is no better time to buy your first supercar than today.