2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray first drive: American Revolution

The standard Stingray is a serious machine before checking any option boxes. But ours was equipped with the Z51 package ($5,000), which ratchets up the Corvette’s capability with tech like MR dampers, an electronic limited-slip differential and larger brakes. But even with that hardcore hardware, I’m surprised at just how well the C8 behaves on real-world roads. In the tamest tour mode, the Stingray is smooth. We hit a nasty field of potholes outside Ann Arbor, Mich. and the C8 gently soaks them up without a quiver in the structure. Toe into the throttle, and the torque is plentiful enough to zip through traffic without raising the V8’s voice. The new dual-clutch transmission quietly goes about its work just like a traditional GM automatic. In the first 10 minutes, it’s clear: I could live with this as my only car.
There are six drive modes to choose from: weather, tour, sport and track, plus My Mode and Z Mode, which both allow some program customization. The metal knob that controls all this selection is weighty and covered in a beautiful leather wrist rest. It feels expensive. In fact, the Corvette’s whole interior is modern and swank.
Petrucci suggests we click over to sport mode. Instantly the suspension tightens and the steering becomes weighty. The whole car wakes up. From around 35 mph, I squeeze the throttle. The transmission drops a few gears and then clicks off rapid-fire shifts to build speed. The C8 is very quick. It’s only now, once I really dig into the powerband, that it feels like a Corvette. That 495-hp V8 behind my head is the crucial piece of DNA in the C8’s makeup. It reminds me and everyone else on the road around us — that this is a Corvette. The soundtrack is pure American glory.