Open-air motoring is a thrill like no other thanks to every decibel of engine noise reaching your ears, and fresh winds tossing your hair. It’s a bit like motorcycling with four wheels, minus the helmet. Thanks to Chevrolet’s engineering advancements, the recently launched C8 hardtop convertible can grant drivers the full drop-top experience without the usual drawbacks.
Chief among the drawbacks befalling most convertibles is chassis flex, which forces engineers to water down suspension setups, results in awkward shuddering over bumps, and ultimately compromises handling. We want none of that, and in the new C8 convertible, we need not suffer it.
Chevrolet revealed that the new C8 was “engineered first and foremost as a convertible” when it launched its topless flagship early October in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Chevrolet’s tunnel-dominant chassis design mitigates the need for overhead structural elements to stiffen the overal structure, instead relying on a central boxed-in spine to provide the strength and structural rigidity required of a world-class sports car.
As for the relevance of a convertible Corvette, the Detroit-based automaker was keen to remind us that when the ’Vette launched way back in 1953 it launched as a convertible, and was only available as such until a hartop varient was later developed.
Through clever implimentation of the convertible mechanism the storage capacity of the Corvette remains the same, regardless of whether the hartop is up or stowed. Even with the top down the new ’Vette can still carry two golf bags in the rear trunk.
The convertible hardtop design also affords the Corvette a quieter, more refined driving experience with the top up than the soft-top C7 it replaces.
The top can be retracted or deployed at speeds up to 48 km/h (30 mph), and thanks to six electric motors, it can fully retract in a scant 16 seconds.
The coupe and convertible varients of the C8 Corvette offer identical aerodynamic drag ratings with the top up.
The only down side? The C8 hardtop convertible weighs up to 80 pounds more than its hardtop sibling which, for trackday drivers, may pose some concern. That said, the C8 is poised to be such a quick
sports car super car that an 80 pound penalty is unlikely to find you losing track positions to your friends. And for those who are truly focused on rapid lap times, a forthcoming Z06 Corvette (and Z06 convertible!) is sure to do battle at the front of the pack.
Chevrolet expects about half of new Corvettes to be sold as hartop convertibles when the Stingray hits showrooms next year. The open-air option adds $7,500 to the price tag.
For a more in-depth analysis of the new C8, check out our deep dive by clicking here.
You’ll notice the new C8 race car found its way onto the stage in the below photo gallery – stay tuned for a forthcoming deep dive into the new race machine.
[Photo credit: Chevrolet]