Times they are a changing at Bowling Green, Kentucky. Not content with introducing the first mid-engined Corvette earlier this year, Chevrolet has now made the first Corvette convertible with a metal roof. And, of course, it's the first mid-engined one, too.
Interestingly, Chevrolet says the new Stingray was made "first and foremost as a convertible", meaning that "nearly" the same dynamic performance is promised, and the ability to carry two sets of golf clubs is retained. That's called balancing priorities, or something.
Fundamentally, then, the architecture is identical - "the tunnel-dominant structure and use of high-integrity die-cast parts" - with the two-piece top replacing the coupe roof. Powered by half a dozen electric motors (where previously hydraulic systems were used), it can be lowered or raised in 16 seconds at up to 30mph. Chevy says roof up drag co-efficient is identical to the coupe, and that attention has been focussed on keeping that big 6.2 cool when the roof is lowered - this means composite stowage compartment panels, heat shields and a vent in the tonneau.
The powertrain is carried over unchanged from convertible to coupe, the C8 drop-top making 495hp and 470lb ft, paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch. There isn't yet weight or performance figures released for the convertible, though Chevrolet maintains that springs and damper tweaks provide "nearly the same performance as the coupe." Certainly the metal roof will carry more of a weight penalty than a fabric alternative; the advantages in refinement, security and style deemed worth the additional pounds.
Buyers will have the choice of a body-coloured retractable hardtop, or the 'Carbon Flash' optional item as seen here. There isn't yet a price for that, but Chevy has confirmed that the convertible C8 will retail for only $7,500 more than the coupe - meaning a starting price in the US of $67,495. The car will go into production early next year, with a right-hand drive version of the convertible coming "in select international markets at a later date." Could be a rather interesting alternative to the norm, couldn't it?
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