Chevrolet has unveiled the convertible version of its all-new Corvette coupé, with the latter having been revealed less than three months ago.
In fact, the American brand says the latest eighth-generation Corvette “was engineered first and foremost as a convertible” (much like the very first Corvette from 1953, which was available only as a convertible).
Featuring a hardtop, the new convertible maintains the tunnel-dominant structure and use of die-cast parts found in the coupé. Chevy also claims the use of a hardtop provides a quieter cabin, increased security and a cleaner look compared to the previous softtop designs.
Like the coupé, the convertible’s design has been inspired by fighter jets. As such, the tonneau cover features aerodynamically shaped nacelles influenced by the housing used for jet engines. These reportedly help reduce air recirculation into the cabin. The tonneau also provides a rear power-adjustable window and a vent for mid-engine cooling.
The two-piece top can be activated at speeds up to 30 mph and retract in as few as 16 seconds. It is powered by six electric motors – a Corvette first – and uses encoders for more precise control. Switching to electric motors from hydraulic systems will help increase reliability, according to Chevy’s engineers.
Aerodynamically, the roof system design, when combined with the same rear spoiler used on the coupé’s Z51 Performance Package, results in identical drag between the coupe and convertible with the top up.
“Our goal from the beginning was to make sure customers didn’t have to sacrifice any functionality, performance or comfort when choosing the hardtop convertible,” says the Corvette’s program engineering manager, Josh Holder. “We managed to keep the same design theme as the coupe, as well as the exceptional storage capacity and track capability.”
In terms of power, the drop-top gets the same engine as the coupé, namely, a 6.2-litre V8 that produces 495 bhp and 470 lb-ft of torque when equipped with a performance exhaust.
The unit is mated to the brand’s first eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.