The Corvette gets its first-ever power hardtop
Chevrolet broke the internet in July with the reveal of the eighth-generation (C8) 2020 Corvette coupe, and just like ‘Vettes that came before it, the C8 coupe offers an open-air mode with a removable roof panel that owners can store in the cargo area. It’s a nice touch, but the panel is large and unwieldy for one person to handle, plus it occupies most of the rear cargo volume when stored. For those seeking a more convenient top-down motoring experience, Chevrolet just debuted the new 2020 Corvette C8 convertible. And for the first time in the Corvette’s history, the convertible will be a hardtop model.
When the C8 Corvette was revealed in July, the big news was that Chevy moved the 6.2-liter pushrod V-8 from under the hood up front to the middle of the car, just behind the driver and passenger. That fundamental change not only improves acceleration and handling, but it’s a move that’s been rumored for nearly as long as the Corvette has been around.
Now a legitimate mid-engine sports car, the C8 Corvette is poised to turn the supercar world on its head. But as much as we love targa-roof coupes, having an easy top-down option in the lineup would help the new ‘Vette compete with the big dogs. Enter the new 2020 C8 Corvette convertible, with its two-piece sheet-molded composite top that folds back at the touch of a button.
The hard top stores itself in a heat-shielded compartment directly above the C8 Stingray’s newly mid-mounted V-8. The folding mechanism will operate in as little as 16 seconds at up to 30 mph (48 km/h) and the folded roof won’t encroach on the C8 Corvette’s impressive rear cargo area. That’s right—even with the top down, the convertible can still fit two golf bags in the back. The downside? No more engine under glass. But in exchange you get a pair of killer-looking speedster fairings on the tonneau cover just behind the headrests, a design feature Chevy says was inspired by fighter jets.
Because the C8 Corvette owes most of its structural rigidity to its central tunnel rather than its roof, the engineering team at Chevy didn’t have to add lots of heavy bracing to keep the drop-top properly stiff. We’re told the C8 convertible weighs no more than 80 pounds (36 kg) heavier than an equivalent coupe. The C7 convertible was only 64 pounds (29 kg) heavier than its coupe counterpart, but it had a fabric folding roof unlike the hardtop convertible C8.
Chevy tells us the new Stingray convertible will carry a $7,500 USD premium over an equivalent coupe, which puts the starting price for the C8 convertible at $67,495 USD in base 1LT trim. That’s quite a bit richer than the $4,500 USD difference between the C7 Corvette coupe and convertible. Whether the extra change is worth a power-folding hardtop is up to you.