(Image source: General Motors Co.)

During most of the Corvette’s 67-year history, the nameplate has been a technology leader, even if its image in that regard has dimmed in recent decades as upgrades have become distinctly incremental.

The Corvette was heralded as a pioneer of technologies like composite bodywork, fuel injection, independent rear suspension, uni-directional tires, magnetically adjustable shock absorbers, twin-vortex supercharging, and aluminum frame design.

But when other super sports cars shifted to mid-engine design, starting with the Lamborghini Miura in 1966, Chevrolet’s plans to move the Corvette away from its original front engine layout have been repeatedly postponed until now. With the introduction of the eighth-generation “C8” Corvette Stingray, Chevrolet has finally fulfilled a move originally sought by the Corvette’s first chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov.

This pits the Corvette, with its base price of $58,900 and a fully loaded as-tested price of $85,710, against pedigreed European rivals that cost a quarter-million dollars or more. Other competitors, such as the Acura NSX and Audi R8 only cost two or three times as much as the Corvette.

(Image source: General Motors Co.)

The motivation for relocating the engine behind the passenger compartment from under the hood was outlined by vehicle dynamics engineer Mike Hurley during our preview drive of a pre-production prototype on the roads outside Phoenix. 

The challenge for any vehicle driving forward through its rear wheels is providing the rear tires enough traction to both accelerate and turn effectively. When the engine’s mass is at the front of the car, it makes that job more difficult. And when that engine makes Corvette-grade power, well then, the car gets the challenging-to-drive-fast reputation that was tagged to the outgoing 2019 C7 Corvette.