The C8 Corvette has been one of the hottest cars on the market since it finally arrived last year. For those that have been under a rock for the past couple years, the C8 is the first Corvette to have its engine in the middle rather than up front as it has been for the past seven decades.
The C8’s engine is a 490 horsepower LT V8 that delivers power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed transmission. Of course, as with any big change there have been naysayers, but journalists and reviewers haven’t been among them as the C8 has won several awards including Motor Trend’s car of the year for 2020.
The current price increase that has new examples selling at over $100,000 and used models selling at or even still above sticker price is a result of hype and demand surrounding the new generation.
Of course, with that kind of praise and a following like the Corvette has gained, prices have skyrocketed on the C8s that come to market. Naturally I had to find out if all the hype was deserved, and if the Corvette is really worth the money its currently commanding.
Corvette C8 Styling
In terms of styling, the Corvette certainly looks the part. Being mid-engined, the C8 now features a general shape that previously has been associated with Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and other exotic sports cars.
Despite this major design change, the angular front end and girthy rear end still maintain a distinctively Corvette look. Some people have criticized the design language, but to my eye the only real flaw is in the length of the rear decklid. It isn’t bad, but it just seems a bit too long – though there is a good reason for it.
Even the standard coupe models of the C8 feature a removable hard top, but in order to store the roof in the car a rear trunk behind the engine had to be fitted. When the roof is on, that does mean that the C8 has a surprising amount of storage for a mid-engined car, but it does lead to that longer rear end.
But can the trim cut it?
On the interior, the Corvette is a bit of a mixed bag. It certainly features the best interior on a Corvette yet, and for the first time since the early C3s it doesn’t feel like a hodgepodge of GM parts threw together to cut costs.
The leather and switchgear aren’t as nice as European rivals, however if we’re discussing price competitors, the Corvette offers far better performance and if we’re discussing performance competitors, the Corvette offers a much better value, so its hardly fair to hold a lower quality of leather and plastic against it.
The digital gauge cluster does seem quite nice, if a bit lacking in configurability and it looked like the infotainment system would be good, but in the particular example I was driving the infotainment system never worked properly.
I did a bit of digging online and I couldn’t find any discussion of a similar issue – the system seemed to be power cycling constantly – so it could have been just an issue with the example I drove, but it was an issue that I was surprised to see in a car that had just been in for a service. As I said previously – the C8 interior is a bit of a mixed bag.
The C8 Corvette Finally Learns How to Corner
What isn’t a mixed bag, though, is the performance. In short, the C8 is incredible. Previously the Corvette has always been a bit more muscle car than sports car and was always a bit behind the European competition – not anymore.
I took the C8 for a couple passes up and down my favorite twisty road and by the time I’d taken my first pass I’d realized I had a knew king of the hill on my hands. The steering doesn’t feel as connected as older sports cars, but it was extremely responsive.
The suspension is a bit rougher on normal roads than I’d like, but in the corners, I didn’t feel any body roll. On my last pass down the road I tried to slow down a bit and cool the car and myself off a bit, but the entire time the car was begging me to put my foot back down and push it harder.
What's it Worth To You?
Finally, that brings us back to the question of value – is the Corvette really worth the premiums its commanding? The answer to that is both yes and no. The case for saying yes, it is, is quite simple – the C8 us incredibly fast both in a straight line and through the corners.
I ask the same question here on the BMW i8 and whether it's finally worth the money.
It outperforms price rivals by a long shot and even with the current premiums still costs much less than performance rivals. However, the case for saying its not worth the premium is a bit more compelling.
The current price increase that has new examples selling at over $100,000 and used models selling at or even still above sticker price is a result of hype and demand surrounding the new generation. Of course, the shutdowns due to COVID-19 haven’t helped either as production has been seriously delayed.
High demand and low supply, as any economist will tell you, leads to higher prices. This of course happens all the time with special edition Ferraris and Porsches, and even the new Ford GT, with examples trading hundreds of thousands of dollars over sticker. However, those cars are limited production – there will only ever be so many made. Their prices will come back down and level off once the buzz has died down around the car, but the limited number of examples made will help keep prices up.
The C8 is only limited by the production capacity of the factory, which means as the pandemic restrictions ease and production returns to maximum capacity new Corvettes will become increasingly more available, meaning that they will not sell over sticker and by extension pre-owned prices will drop back down.
There will also be a flood of pre-owned examples hitting the market when the Z06 and ZR1 models arrive as the individuals that rushed out to be the first people with the standard model will want to upgrade to the higher performance models and trade in their “old” cars. This will in turn push second-hand values further down. So, if someone bought a car over sticker new, they will not only lose the standard depreciation that comes with owning a car, they will also lose every dollar they paid over sticker for the car.
Is the Corvette a Worthy Supercar?
In summary, the C8 is a phenomenal car. It’s incredible to drive, looks good, and keeps up with cars that cost double or triple what it does.
While it certainly still provides a good value at the inflated prices high demand and restricted supply have led to, the reality is that the market will level off when production goes back to normal and all the markups one would pay to snag one today will be permanently lost. My advice, then, would be a bit of patience. Sometimes the search for your perfect car can take some time. It is a fantastic car, but certainly worth waiting for both as a car and as an investment.