You’re sitting at much closer quarters with the car’s front wheels than ever a Corvette has allowed before, needless to say – and what a difference that makes. The one thing that Corvettes have never done well, until now, is steer; long steering columns and plenty of weight out front have seen to that. The new one, by the starkest of contrasts, steers in precise, instinctively responsive fashion and with really intuitive weight and pace. It isn’t darty and direct like a Ferrari F8, and it isn’t as dreamily feelsome as the hydraulic rack on a modern McLaren or Lotus. But consistent, moderate steering gearing and the linear build-up of cornering forces make this car easy to guide at pace, and satisfying to interact with throughout the speed range.
What doesn’t fit the modern mid-engined dynamic mould so well are the C8’s size and its apparent heft. The car isn’t lithe-feeling or easy to thread through a gap. It really fills its lane and rides in quite a gentle, laid-back frequency, rolling and moving around just a little as it corners, and breathing with long-wave bumps in a way that marks it out loud and clear as a versatile, daily-drivable, slightly easy-going sports car rather than any kind of cut-price supercar. There’s something a bit lazy about the car’s body control and initial change of direction – but it certainly feels dynamically expressive to drive.
Although the engineers will tell you how much stiffer the new car’s spring rates are than were the C7’s, they’ll also tell you that they were aiming for a balanced, pragmatic dynamic compromise here, and a versatile rolling character. They’ve struck that particular balance very nicely, and it makes this car a pleasant and comfortable long-distance car, and supple-riding around town and on less-than-perfect country roads; but also one that’s fluently agile, composed, and both interactive and engaging through flowing bends.
So the C8 rides nicely and handles enticingly well; more moderately than the supercars it’s imitating, but still with balance, poise and natural verve. And yet guess what? It’s still that V8 engine that is the car’s main draw. After all those millions spent on engineering and developing a mid-engined chassis, some at Chevrolet might quietly despair at that news, but it’s actually just a sign of how multifaceted this car’s appeal now is, and how much charm and distinctiveness it retains.