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Holden confirms mid-engined Corvette for Australia

Chevrolet Corvette to soon enter Holden showrooms with 369kW/637Nm 6.2-litre V8

Chevrolet logo19 Jul 2019

GM HOLDEN has answered the call of enthusiasts that salivate over rear-wheel-drive, V8 muscle cars, confirming that the mid-engined C8 Chevrolet Corvette will soon become the flagship model in its showrooms thanks to the availability of factory right-hand drive for the eighth-generation model.
 
In what is a massive win for the Lion brand that has nearly gone two years without a bent eight in its line-up – following the discontinuation of the VFII Commodore – Corvette’s RHD production is a first in its storied history that traces all the way back to the C1 series that started it all in 1953.
 
“Like anyone with a hint of petrol in their veins, we were glued to our screens watching the reveal of the new Corvette,” said GM Holden chairman and managing director Dave Buttner.
 
“The news that Corvette will now be built in right-hand drive for the first time ever – and will be exported to Australia – is hugely exciting for our team at Holden and any Australian who loves high-performance cars.
 
“With our long history in motor racing, performance vehicles are an indelible part of the Holden brand. Our team is totally revved up to build on Holden’s performance legacy with the most technologically advanced Corvette ever built.
 
“We look forward to taking on the European and Japanese performance vehicles with some highly sophisticated American muscle.”
 
GM Holden has not released any further details on local sales yet – including timing, pricing and full specification – but said it will do so “at a later date”.
 
Given that C8 Corvette production does not start at GM’s Bowling Green plant in Kentucky until late 2019, the earliest it could arrive Down Under is next year.
 
The US model will be priced from less than $US60,000 ($A84,900) but expect the Australian version to comfortably exceed the $100,000 barrier once local taxes are applied.
 
In another monumental milestone, the C8 is the first Corvette to be mid-engined, with the entry-level Stingray – the only variant to be revealed so far – motivated by a 6.2-litre naturally aspirated LT2 V8 that produces 369kW of power at 6450rpm and 637Nm of torque at 5150rpm (with the optional performance exhaust system equipped).
 
With drive exclusively sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Stingray can shift its 1530kg dry weight from standstill to 97km/h (60mph) in “under three seconds” with launch control engaged, according to Chevrolet.
 
However, to achieve that level of straight-line performance, the Z51 Performance Package needs to be optioned, with it ushering in the aforementioned performance exhaust system, enhanced cooling, performance suspension with magnetic dampers, a specific axle ratio and larger brake discs (front: 345x30mm, rear: 350x27mm) with ‘Z51’-branded four-piston Brembo monobloc callipers and front cooling inlets.
 
Double-wishbone suspension is used at the front and rear of the Stringray, with the former capable of being lifted by 40mm in 2.8s at speeds up to 40km/h, with the increased ground clearance helping to minimise obstacle damage. Meanwhile, its power steering is electric.
 
Handling is optimised via a rear electronic limited-slip differential, while the Stringray’s aerodynamic package is highlighted by a front splitter and a two-piece rear spoiler that together provide up to 181kg of downforce.
 
The Stringray rolls on a mixed set of alloy wheels, measuring 19 and 20 inches at the front and rear respectively. Michelin Pilot Sport tyres are standard (front: 245/35, rear: 305/30), with the Z51 Performance Package upgrading them from ALS rubber to 4S hoops.
 
The Corvette’s move to a mid-engined layout allowed GM designers to reimagine the classic nameplate while keeping its essence. The result was an exterior design that will look at home when it competes with other supercars, such as the Ferrari F8 Tributo, Lamborghini Huracan Evo and Audi R8 V10 Performance.
 
For example, those wanting a little extra sun while they tear through city streets or country roads can turn to the Stringray’s removable roof panel, which is a Corvette signature.
 
Measuring in at 4630mm long, 1934mm wide and 1234 tall with a 2722mm wheelbase, the Stingray provides 356L of cargo capacity, although it is split between two ‘trunks’. Either way, Chevrolet claims there is enough room for two sets of golf clubs.
 
Inside, the Corvette’s aeronautical influences are prominent, with the cockpit wrapping around the driver, highlighted by the centre console that provides separation from the passenger with its vertically stacked climate controls.
 
The driver is also treated to an angled touchscreen infotainment system, a customisable 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster and a squared-off steering wheel with heating, paddle-shifters, a two-spoke design and a 12 o’clock marker. Three seats options (GT1, GT2 and Competition Sport) are available.
 
Audiophiles can enjoy the optional 14-speaker Bose Performance Series sound system if the V8 soundtrack is not to their tastes. A 10-speaker set-up is standard.
 
“Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary-pushing at GM. The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout,” said GM president Mark Reuss.
 
“In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history. Customers are going to be thrilled with our focus on details and performance across the board.”

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