Mid-Engine Corvette, Why?

Photo: Chevrolet
Photo: Chevrolet /

Earlier this week, a series of photos popped up on the internet, reportedly showing a top secret mid-engine Corvette. Why would Chevrolet want to change this American icon?

When Autoblog posted their blurry pictures of what was thought be a mid-engine Corvette on a Chevrolet test track, the internet went crazy. For years, there have been rumors and rumblings about a possible mid-engine version of the quintessential American sports car.

The history of the Corvette is as american as apple pie. The front-engined, rear-wheel-drive monster has boasted some of the most powerful engines GM has had to offer. The 2016 Corvette Z06 comes with a ground ripping 650hp and mind blowing 650 ft/lbs torque. Its newest chassis, suspension, and brake upgrades have made this one of the fastest, most powerful production cars in the world. The reviews of the latest Corvettes have now compared it to the latest models from Ferrari in regards to performance and handling, at a fraction of the cost. 

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They have turned what used to be just a brutal, hard to drive sports car into the high performance supercar. Why make an evolutionary change to a mid-engine design? It would take all of the advances of the last several years that have improved the car and just throw them away. The latest design of the Corvette with its integrated transaxle and weight distribution make it handle on par with all the other production supercars in the world. The advantages of the mid engine design seem to not be as necessary today with the recent upgrades Chevrolet has made already.

The Corvette has gone through a renaissance.  Now, it’s a true supercar. Its front engine design is a signature feature of the car. Not unlike the Lamborghini and its mid-engine powerplants, part of driving the Corvette is sitting behind the fire breathing monster under the hood. Oh, and by the way, the latest Lamborghini Huracan only has 610hp and 590lb.ft. of torque with a sticker price of $495,000. You could buy 4 Corvette Z06’s for the price of one Huracan.  Nobody will say the Vette is equal to the Huracan, but the performance is not that far behind it. The 2015 Stingray version of the Corvette was featured on BBC’s Top gear and was only 2 seconds slower than the Huracan on their power laps. The Corvette Stingray they used only had 460hp and 465ft torque compared to the Z06 and its 650/650. I think the Z06 might match the Lambo lap time today.

If it is an experiment to see what can be done, I don’t blame Chevrolet for trying, but if its a change for the production model I don’t like it. You rip away part of what made the Corvette, a Corvette, and then it turns into a copy of something else. Where as the current incarnation of the Corvette pays tribute to its muscle car past and adds all the technology and creature comforts of today. We have seen all the American car manufacturers look to their history and use body lines and features of the past to reconnect with their customers of today. Chevrolet would take a huge risk if they they decided to turn away from their heritage at a time when the consumer seems to be relishing in it.