Big changes come for its eighth generation
We’ve had plenty of time to digest the mid-engine C8 Corvette’s new shape since its reveal this past summer, and plenty of time to form opinions about the way it looks. But we’re still taking in and contemplating the convertible, which was just announced on Wednesday. That variant brings with it perhaps even bigger changes than the C8 coupe did when it made its debut. Namely, the soft top is gone, in favor of a retractable hard top unit that goes up or down in 16 seconds. How does the new look stack up to the previous generation? We’re taking an in-depth look at the new sheetmetal to see if Chevy’s nailed the most recent iteration of its iconic sports car.
C8 vs. C7 Convertible Front View
Everything from the A-pillar forward has remained unchanged in the transition from coupe to convertible, but the C8 is still radically different to its predecessor upfront. The hard front view reveals a more aggressive front fascia, with heat exchangers pushed to the corners of the car—just ahead of the front wheels—whereas the C7’s radiator is in a more centralized position, in front of the engine. The C7’s front was sharp and heavily creased, and the C8 only takes that theme further, with more angular headlights and sharper cheek bones above the air intakes for the radiators—the hood vent is also absent from the front of the C8. From the front three-quarter angle, the C8’s roadster fairings peek out from behind the driver and passenger headrests, breaking the formerly clean line that extended from the C7’s door mirror all the way to the back of the car.
C8 vs. C7 Convertible Profile
From the side, much has changed in the transition from C7 to C8. The convertible now features the aforementioned roadster fairings—which are mostly there for rollover protection—that were notably absent on the C7. The cabin has also been moved forward by 16.5 inches, ridding the new car of the Corvette’s classic “cab-rearward” design, and it’s most noticeable from the hard side. The new C8 is also unmistakably mid-engine from the side, with the side air intake and extra mass behind the driver. Overall, the design of the C8 is much busier than the C7 from the side, but we’ll take that for the bump in performance the move to a mid-engine layout brings.
C8 vs. C7 Convertible Rear View
At the back, both the C8 and C7 appear rather flat, but the C8 is slightly more sculpted. The taillights are an evolution of the C7’s and are pushed all the way out to the edges of the rear. There’s also significantly more venting on the rear of the new car. This, of course, was because when Chevy moved the LT2 engine to the rear of the car they had significantly more heat to try and evacuate from a relatively small space. As a result, there are two large vents for cooling on either side of the license plate. There is also a more noticeable rear diffuser and split tailpipes when compared to the C7—two on either side as opposed to four in the middle.
C8 vs. C7 Convertible Interior
The C7’s interior was largely the same for the six years it was in production. We liked it back in 2014, but it was starting to feel a little long in the tooth. The instrument cluster in the C8 is now fully digital—it was only partially so in the C7—and the driver is more isolated from their passenger than ever before by a row of 20 climate control buttons that slopes up from the center console into the dashboard. The center console also wraps around the right side of the driver to give them that “cockpit” feel. Six interior color schemes are available on the coupe and the convertible, and there are also three seat options—GT1, GT2, and Competition.
We think it looks good, but only time will tell if the first mid-engine ’Vette becomes a classic piece of automotive design. What do you think of the new Corvette convertible? Let us know in our Twitter poll! Also, check out the rest of our exclusive C8 Corvette coverage here.