It’s been a long wait to drive the brand new Chevrolet Corvette C8 in New Zealand. We all know that Corvettes are made to offer high performance at an affordable price, however, most of them go well in a straight line, but do they stand up to the global performance icons.
Being a previous owner of a V8 Audi R8 that I used as my daily driver, I was keen to see what changes Corvette had made to this new vehicle and how it would stack up against the other sports car brands that have a tried and tested history.
What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8
What we like
- Driving ability
- Hardtop and Convertible in one
- Cabin interior
What we don’t like
- Engine/exhaust noise at low speeds
- Dash controls running down the console
- Digital rear view mirror
What’s In The 2022 GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8 Range?
Currently, there is only one model available in New Zealand, the GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8. It does however come in two body options: coupe and convertible.
Firstly let’s clear up the difference between the coupe and convertible. This should be obvious, however, you can take the roof off the coupe too. The coupe comes with a clear engine cover panel and a separate roof panel that can be removed and placed into the boot. The convertible comes with an automatic convertible roof, which sits above the engine in the rear. The trade-off for this is that you lose the clear engine cover lid in the convertible models for a body-coloured panel. Both roofs are hard top, so it’s really down to which body style you’re looking for.
There are two spec options available for the Corvette C8: the 2LT and the 3LT. The difference between these two spec levels is that 2LT has the standard features that come with the vehicle, and the 3LT adds;
- Custom leather-wrapped interior package – leather-wrapped upper instrument panel, door trim panels and console
- Seats – GT2 bucket seats with 8-way power adjusters, power bolster and power lumbar
- Sueded microfiber-wrapped interior package – headliner, visor, trim above windshield and rear window, and a-pillar trim in colour-keyed suede microfiber
The optional Z51 performance package adds a range of performance enhancements that include: performance brakes with larger brake rotors and performance brake pads, performance suspension, performance exhaust, performance final drive ratio, electronic limited-slip differential, rear spoiler and front splitter, and a heavy-duty cooling system.
Our review vehicle is the Corvette C8 3LT Coupe with the optional Z51 performance package.
2022 GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8 Standard Equipment Highlights
- 6.2L LT2 V8 with Variable Valve Timing and Active Fuel Management
- 8-speed dual-clutch with manual and automatic modes and paddle shifters
- Speed-Sensitive Magnetic Power Steering with Variable Ratio
- Traction Control with Active Handling & Launch Control
- Electronic Limited-Slip (eLSD)
- Performance Exhaust
- 4-wheel independent Magnetic Selective Ride Control Performance Suspension
- Front Lift Suspension System
- Keyless Access with Push-Button Start
- Dual Power Remote Heated & Power Folding Sport Mirrors
- Advanced Theft Deterrent System
- Soft Close Engine Hatch Cover
- Rearview auto-dimming with full camera display
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- HD Rear Vision Camera and Rear Park Assist
- Side Blind Zone Alert
- 8-Way Power Driver & Passenger Seats with Memory Package, Heated & Ventilated with Mulan Leather, Power Lumbar & Wing Seat Adjustment
- Leather Door Panels
- Chevrolet Infotainment System with 8-inch diagonal HD colour touch-screen
- Performance Data Recorder
- Wireless Phone Charging
- Bose 14-Speaker Performance Series Audio System
- Full-colour head-up display
- 12-in configurable colour cluster display
- Satellite Navigation
- One-Touch Bluetooth Pairing Through Near Field
- Front Curb Camera View
- Driver Mode (Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, MyMode & Z-Mode)
- Dual-Zone Electronic Climate Control
- Cruise Control
Including the optional equipment our review car’s retail price is $169,900.
For a full list of specs and options available for the 2022 GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray jump on over to the GM Specialty Vehicles New Zealand website.
How Does The 2022 GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8 Compare To Its Competition?
The C8 Corvette sits in an odd place when comparing it to other vehicles. Our general guideline for this is price, as that is the main factor when people are purchasing – everyone has a budget. We also only compare our review cars to what cars can be purchased new from the dealers, ignoring the second-hand market as that’s a different kettle of fish altogether.
So what you get for that price can show that it’s either overpriced or extremely good value for money. In the case of the C8 Corvette, its price is comparable to vehicles that do not perform as well but its specs are comparable to vehicles that are much more expensive. This leaves the C8 in a very good place if you’re after a two-seater V8 sports car.
All prices below exclude the refund or additional cost of the New Zealand Clean Car Programme (*CCP).
|Price (excl CCP)|
|Porsche 911 Carrera S||3.0L Flat 6 Turbo||331 /||3.7||9.5||132||$260,400|
|Lexus LC 500||5.0L V8||351 / 540||4.7||12.9||172||$220,500|
|Jaguar F-Type P575 R||5.0L V8 Supercharged||423 / 700||3.7||11||200||$214,900|
|Jaguar F-Type P380||3.0L V6 Supercharged||280 / 460||4.9||8.6||200||$164,900|
|Corvette C8||6.2-L V8||369 / 637||3.8||12.4||356||$154,990|
|Porsche Boxster S||3.4L flat 6||257 / 420||4.6||8.1||150||$153,000|
|Porsche 718 Cayman S||3.4L flat 6||257 / 420||4.6||7.4||150||$151,700|
|BMW Z4 M40i||3.0L straight 6 turbo||250 / 500||4.5||7.4||281||$144,800|
|Jaguar F-Type P300||2.0L i4 Turbo||221 / 400||5.7||8.1||200||$139,900|
First Impressions Of The 2022 GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8
The first C8 I saw was a white imported left-hand drive model a few months before the test drive, and I had to double-take as it drove past. As it looked modern and unAmerican, a mix between a Ferrari 458 and Honda NSX – both of which are not bad cars to be compared with.
Our review car had the same good looks, but it brought some of that American feeling back as it was bright yellow with two black racing stripes running down the middle. It is loud and it is proud to be American. Now that I have time to take in the styling, it really is a stunning vehicle. The change of design from the C7 to the C8 is phenomenal; they basically wiped the slate clean and started over. There are some styling cues from the C7, however, if you debadged them and put them side by side, you would be hard-pressed to say they are different generations of the same model.
The C8 coupe has all those cool things that mid-engined vehicles have: just two seats, a low cockpit-style driving position, a glass engine cover to show off the goodies and a detachable roof that goes in the boot for that open-top driving experience. I couldn’t wait any more, it was time to get behind the wheel and see what the new Corvette C8 was all about.
What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8?
Inside the C8 is a big change from any previous Corvettes. It’s lost that cheap plastic basic styling look and it has grown up. It’s very clear to see that the focus is on the driver as the entire dashboard almost wraps around the driver’s seat, from the bottom of the A-pillar to the middle of the centre console. First impressions are great, as its styling goes well with the exterior, very modern and fresh.
From the driver’s seat, there is a huge digital dash behind the steering wheel; this dash has a wide range of features and information that is displayed. It also changes style with the different driving modes. To the left of this you have a 10-inch digital screen which has a Chevrolet infotainment system. Audio, phone, navigation, vehicle settings and climate control are all accessed here. It also has wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto.
Below the screens, on the central console, there are two main areas, One on top of the swooping curved dash which has a long line of buttons that go all the way back to the middle of the centre console. These buttons control heated and ventilated seats, auto climate control and temperature, demisting and the other typical dash buttons. I found this swoop a bit annoying as you had to put your arm way back to find the buttons you need. Maybe this is due to my height, but I did not feel this string of buttons was as organic as it could have been.
On the flat of the centre console there are two more controls; the gear selector for Drive, Neutral, Reverse and Park, and the other control knob was for the drive modes. This was also a bit fiddly, as there was a bit of a delay in the change which meant you changed two or more times when you just wanted one to change to your drive modes. I found using the button on the steering wheel easier.
One thing that has bugged me about cars like this and it’s a point I have made time and time again: make the engine start button a feature, like a big red button like it’s a carnival ride. The engine start button is a silver one tucked in behind the steering wheel below the dash, that took me a few seconds to find. It would have been really great to see some crazy button on the centre console that has a safety cover switch like a Lamborghini, just to add to the overall exciting experience.
The two front seats are supportive and both have 8-way power-adjustable settings with memory functions. Both are heated and ventilated and have power lumbar adjustment. They look a bit tight but once you are down and in, which for a tall man is a fair distance to go, they are very good seats. I am 200cm tall and found no problems getting the seat in a great driving position for my height. I loved the yellow seat belts that matched the exterior body colour, however, I do wonder if these will get dirty quickly over the years.
The view out the rear is what you would expect from most mid-engined vehicles, as you can’t see a lot. However, the C8 Corvette has a digital rear-view mirror which shows you what is behind. I have used these on other cars, and have found they can be a bit trippy, as your eyes have to focus on the screen, not a mirror. But it’s better than not being able to see anything out the rear.
Space inside the cabin is acceptable, it’s not cramped but you do not have a lot of extra unused space either. Storage space is also limited to the glove box, centre console cubby and a large storage module behind and between the two seats.
The boot space is not bad either, in the coupe is 356 litres, which is a lot bigger than most coupes of this type. The downside is that if you use up the boot space, there is nowhere for the roof to go if you want to take it off and with you. The roof goes in at an angle, so you can get some stuff under it and maybe over it, if the roof is protected. But in doing this you will lose a lot of valuable boot storage space. Something else to note is that there is no spare wheel, just the gel pump for those unexpected puncture situations.
What’s The 2022 GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8 Like To Drive?
This is the most important section for a car like this in my opinion: would it tick all of the important boxes when it comes to the driving experience? The styling and spec have been ticked, so could this be a home run?
The start-up of the C8 is a nice experience, pressing the engine start button the displays blink on and the engine fires up with an initial engine rev. Hearing the sound from the 6.2-litre LT@ V8, knowing that you have 369Kw and 637Nm of torque at your fingertips, is one of those happy moments that lets you know you’re in a special car.
The C8 has 6 different drive modes: Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, MyMode & Z-Mode. I tried them all, and I found it hard to see the difference between some of them. Of course, Weather is only poor weather conditions, which we did not have. Tour and Sport seemed similar to me, or at least there was not enough noticeable difference between the two, compared to what I expected. Track mode was indeed a different setup firm and brutal for true track conditions. I found myself using Tour or Z Mode, most of the time, as Z-Mode supplied the best sporty / vehicle setup for everyday driving. This was also the easiest to select, via the big Z button on the steering wheel. It’s not uncommon for cars like this to have far too many settings when it really should boil down to the basics, I think we could bin the Sport mode and just replace it with Z-Mode.
In Tour mode, it is very easy to just cruise around the city, unlike some high-performance cars which can be more challenging to drive at a slower speed, like my V8 Audi R8 was. The Corvette C8 was so easy to drive like this; if it wasn’t for the bright yellow colour and the low seating position, you might think you were in an everyday runabout. And it could easily be an everyday driver too, if that’s what you’re after.
As I joined the motorway, I changed from Tour to Z-Mode, which changed the car in several ways, tightening it up ready for some more exciting driving. The sound also got a bit louder too, and when you’re on the throttle it is great. Really great with the roof on, and with the roof off, it was glorious. This is what sports cars are about, the combined feeling of speed, connection with the vehicle and sound.
Where I found some of my disappointment was when you lift off the throttle, the engine and exhaust went quiet. I was looking forward to a really nice overrun gurgle, but I couldn’t hear anything. Even in the downshifts, the engine rev-matching was lacking its American muscle car heritage gurgle. I am not sure if you can hear these things when outside the car as bystanders, but as the driver, I was hoping for a bit more.
The C8’s handling is impressive, I found it very similar to my V8 Audi R8. Steering was sharp and light with good feedback. The car handled every road rather well too, not sending every pothole and pebble back to the driver in full force. This was great as I thought the low-profile tyres might leave me with an uncomfortable ride.
Out on the country back roads, the C8 came into its own, which is surprising for an American car. This car loves the twisty stuff, and with the roof off and the sound of that engine on full throttle as you power out of each corner, it is impossible not to smile from behind the steering wheel.
The other nice thing that I like about how the C8 was set up, is that there is not a huge long list of driver aids that are intrusive to the driver. There are plenty there to help you when certain situations happen, but you feel as if you are the driver, unlike some other sports cars that have steering assists which can never be turned off. This leaves you feeling like you are always in control, as the aid is there for the situations where you need them to be.
During my review of the C8 the fuel consumption was inevitably going to be high – how else do you test a high-performance car? With spirited driving tests and a range of normal driving, it delivered a combined fuel consumption of 16.5 L/100km. To be honest I would have expected this to be higher, considering the advertised combined is 12.4 L/100km and my review’s driving style.
Did the Chevrolet Corvette C8 deliver a homerun? Almost. Its handling is great, feedback to the driver is good, and performance is impressive, but it’s lacking in some areas with the sound, which is a big tick box for me personally.
The big question is, how did it compare to my V8 Audi R8. To be honest, really well, very similar cars with the only noticeable difference being that the Audi had Quattro all-wheel drive and a better engine/exhaust note at low speeds and on downshifts. Apart from that, it’s hard to say one is superior to the other.
2022 GMSV Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray Specifications
|Price as Tested||$169,900|
|Engine||6.2-Litre LT2 V8|
|369 / 637|
|Transmission||8-Speed dual-clutch with manual and auto modes|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||1537|
|Length x Width x Height|
|4630 x 1934 x 1234|
(seats up/seats down)
|Fuel tank capacity,|
|Advertised Spec – Combined – 12.4|
Real-World Test – Combined – 16.5
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
|Warranty||3-years or 100,000km new car warranty|
3-years roadside ultra assistance
|Safety information||ANCAP Rating – Not Tested – Link|
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – NRU74
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