You’ve probably heard this already, but the eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette is a pretty big deal. It’s the brand’s first (and long-awaited) mid-engined vehicle, with exceptional performance and high-end luxury at a relatively affordable price. But one thing we thought was missing from the coupe when we first got behind the wheel back in February was a bit more open air. That's where the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible comes in.
Yes, we know, even the standard Corvette is technically a convertible. The removable Targa-style panel opens the cabin up to the sky, but not without a bit of manual labor. And by having to store the roof panel in the trunk, it takes away what little storage space you already have. The Corvette Convertible solves both of those problems.
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A single switch on the driver's side door takes away the legwork of having to manually remove the roof, and the top tucks neatly above the engine bay so as not to intrude on trunk space – so you can go topless and still fit golf clubs or groceries back there. What's better, the Corvette Convertible doesn't feel all that different from the driver's seat. The coupe’s 6.2-liter V8, highly adaptive suspension, and blistering straight-line speed all carry over. Plus it still looks absolutely bonkers.
Less Roof, Same Appeal
It's impossible to drive the Corvette anywhere without someone wanting to sit in, touch, or take pictures of it. Even a quick trip to the grocery store ends in some dude peppering us with questions in the parking lot for half an hour. We've driven a lot of cars that catch attention – the McLaren 720S, the Rolls-Royce Ghost, etc. – but no other vehicle draws a crowd quite like this one.
Although maybe our tester's particular spec has something to do with it. This car wears an eye-searing $500 Rapid Blue paint job, accented by $995 black wheels and a $5,995 Z51 Performance package, which adds a big ol' rear wing and new front splitters. It's certainly one way to spec a Corvette, though probably not how we'd do it if we were buying.
It's impossible to drive the Corvette anywhere without someone wanting to sit in, touch, or take pictures of it.
Beyond the Smurf paint, the C8 Corvette is an eye-catching thing. The sharp hood lines, downturned headlights, and angrily pointed nose give it an aggressive attitude head-on. The car's angular profile yields supercar-like proportions with hard creases and hook-shaped vents that funnel air into the mid-mounted engine. Better yet, the electric folding roof transforms the Corvette from a cutting coupe into a slinky high-end convertible in just 16 seconds and at up to 30 miles per hour.
Removing the roof exposes the Corvette's posh interior. Our 3LT tester ($11,450 pricier than the base 1LT model) wears Nappa leather and carbon fiber atop the standard GT2 bucket seats, a custom leather treatment adorns the dash and door panels, and a super-soft suede upper covers everything from the A-pillar to the roof lining. Much like the eye-searing paint job, though, our car's Tension and Twilight Blue interior color combo probably isn't for everyone.
Still, the Corvette's interior is hands-down the best you'll find in any Chevy product (or GM, for that matter). The leather is of the highest quality, the seats are luxurious and form-fitting, and the fit and finish is sublime. There's nothing within reach that looks cheap or feels pulled from the nearest parts bin – the Corvette has a proper high-end interior that every mid-engined car deserves.
But like the coupe, that oversized center stack divides the driver and passenger sides into two claustrophobic compartments. The ungainly button bar remains, which is hard to use while driving, and side and rear visibility are beyond poor – even with the roof stowed.
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Atop that chunky console sits an 8.0-inch touchscreen that's inoffensive to operate running the latest Chevy infotainment system, and offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. But it's the 12.0-inch configurable digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel that's the real draw. The all-digital cluster is easy to see and displays basic functions like speed and fuel economy, but changes to show things like a G force meter and temperatures for when you take it to the track.
Just behind the headrests sits the Corvette's sumptuous 6.2-liter V8, good for 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet. Punch it, and the coupe will hit 60 miles per hour in a manufacturer-quoted 2.9 seconds with the Z51 package. We'd guess the Convertible is a touch slower to 60, given the extra weight from the roof mechanism (it adds 102 pounds), but it's still damn quick.
The drop-top ‘Vette rips off the line hurriedly with gobs of low-end torque and a strong stream of linear power that builds to a generous 7,000 RPM redline. The eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox shifts decisively – and quicker than any manual could – and the note from the Z51 pack’s now-deeper exhaust produces an excellent noise with lots of pops and burbles. Naturally, it all sounds even better with the roof removed.
We'd guess the Convertible is a touch slower to 60, given the extra weight from the roof mechanism, but it's still damn quick.
Ham-fistedly hurling it into the tightest highway onramp we can find reveals the Corvette's near-perfect balance of performance and comfort. Even in convertible form, the Corvette doesn't feel like it sacrifices anything in the way of dynamics. The optional magnetic ride control ($1,895) offers awesome feedback and optimal response, and body movements are almost entirely flat. As we also noted in our first drive, the Corvette's forward seating position closer to the front axle gives it excellent rotation.
The steering in the most -aggressive mode, Track, is weighty but also very chatty – you know exactly what the tires are doing at all times. And unless you're on a super twisty course where you have to rotate your hands, the “squircular” steering wheel does feel appropriately sporty and allows for precise inputs, like something ripped from a race car. It's a little clumsier in day-to-day use, like navigating a tight parking lot.
The standard Tour driving mode heavily boosts the steering and softens up the adaptive suspension – but that's not necessarily a ding against the Corvette. This car is a supremely good cruiser, eating up highway miles comfortably. And when you're not hammering it, the V8 drops four cylinders and goes into “V4” mode, which offers better fuel economy and makes the Corvette feel more subdued when cruising.
With the roof fixed there's a lot of wind and road noise that penetrates the cabin at highway speed – but that's the point of the convertible, anyway. Drop the top and enjoy the wind in your hair as you comfortably cruise the highway. The Corvette is a great touring car as it is, and with a removable roof it's even better.
The Better Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette Convertible isn't much different from the coupe, and that's a good thing. This is still a phenomenal touring car with great handling and the best cabin we've seen in a Chevy product, possibly ever – only now it does all of those things sans roof. For those buyers that want the ease of a push-button droptop instead of the manual Targa-style panel, there's really no reason not to consider the convertible. Not even the price tag should dissuade you.
The Corvette Convertible asks $67,495 out of the box, a $7,500 premium over the coupe. And with options like the luxurious 3LT package ($11,450), the Z51 Performance package ($5,995), and a few others, our car costs $90,775 as tested. But consider what it takes to get in one of the C8's nearest competitors; the base Porsche 911 Cabrio asks $112,000, the Audi R8 with a removable roof will set you back $182,100, and a brand-new McLaren 570S Spider sits at an eye-watering $208,800. So not only is it more affordable, but the Chevrolet Corvette Convertible has the performance, prestige, and luxury to match – this really is the one to get.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 3LT Z51