Like its fixed-roof counterpart, the Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible climbs upmarket in terms of style and speed, all without a major price hike. Utilizing trick engineering to retain the coupe's promised performance, it's the first roofless Corvette to utilize a power-folding hardtop, making it a true domestic interpretation of the form set by mid-engine exotics like the Ferrari F8 Spyder. Take into consideration a starting price of $67,495 and you have a recipe for theoretical success.
Chevrolet claims the new MR Corvette platform was originally designed to work as a convertible, saving the headache of transforming the car after the fact. This means the power hardtop, actuated by six electric motors, stows neatly into the trunk while preserving enough room for two full golf club bags, praise be. The storage compartment at the front also has room for an airline-spec carry-on and a laptop bag.
The convertible Corvette should retain the same handling as the coupe thanks to special chassis and suspension tuning; engineers tweaked the dampers and springs to account for the increased weight and lack of a fixed roof, though Chevrolet hasn't confirmed a final curb weight. The design of said retractable roof was crafted so that the convertible model has an identical drag coefficient to the Corvette coupe with the top up.
Powering out of the turn is the same 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated V8 that produces 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque with the optional performance exhaust. This engine, named the LT2, sends all the power to the rear wheels through a specially developed eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission—the Corvette's lone gearbox option. There are no performance figures out yet, but figure it to line up pretty close to the coupe's 3.0-second 0-60 mph time and 194 mph top speed.
From the A-pillar forward, the convertible is identical to its roofed twin. It's out back where some necessary design changes take place. The flattened rear deck lid no longer gives a view of the engine as it does in the coupe; instead, it meets a vertical rear window behind the cabin as two large buttresses arc up on either side to create the roofline. Lightweight composites are used alongside purposeful heat vents that keep the V8 breathing at peak temps, while the tonneau cover can lift and store the car's roof in just 16 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph.
“We put the world on notice when we introduced the first mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette a few months ago, and now we’re raising the bar with the first-ever hardtop Corvette convertible,” said Brian Sweeney, Chevrolet U.S. vice president, in the company's release. “And the convertible will be priced only $7,500 more than entry 1LT Stingray coupe.”
Production is slated to start later in the first quarter of 2020, just after the fixed-roof, at GM's Bowling Green, Kentucky facility. Get ready to feel the wind in your hair.