2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray: The Right Drivetrain, Right Where It Should Be

  • The focal point of the 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray is the “jewel in the center.” 
  • An LT2 Small Block V8 makes the 2020 Stingray the fastest entry-level Vette ever. 
  • Chevy used GM’s digital vehicle platform to design and develop the new Stingray.

The 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray is a quantum leap ahead for Corvettes. By putting the complete drivetrain right in the middle, many, many performance benefits follow. And they all flow from the engine itself, what GM calls “The jewel in the center.” Sitting right there in the middle of everything, just like it should, is Chevy’s next-generation, naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter Small Block V8, dubbed the LT2. It cranks out 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft. of torque, the most horsepower and torque for any entry-level Corvette.

2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray: The Jewel In The Center

From a powertrain engineering standpoint, perhaps the greatest improvement is found in the lubrication and ventilation system of all places. For the first time ever, the base Stingray gets an engine-mounted dry sump oil system, and three scavenge pumps. Scavenge pumps are usually located at the engine’s lowest point, and GM says the pumps will keep oil volume high in the interest of performance. This is GM’s everso nice way of saying the engine won’t starve itself for oil under high G loads and blow up like a grenade. If you don’t have to worry about the engine slopping all its oil over to one side, that means you can maximize the car’s foundation in order to improve overall performance.

In essence, by mounting the mill down low, the center of gravity drops, but handling capabilities increase.

It’s The Little Things

Naturally, Chevy shows off the engine through a 3.2mm glass panel on the rear hatch. In addition to being a nice bit of flash, the panel features a cantilevered trailing edge which extracts heat from the engine compartment. The exhaust system’s wires and manifold, routing fasteners, coolant hoses, all the tubes, and even the bolts were built with appearance in mind. The engine’s components were given as careful consideration as the exterior, and even the heat shields are textured just so. There’s a brand-new block and vent system and the centerline of the crankshaft sits an inch lower to the ground, where it mates with the transaxle for better handling.

Oh, and the valve covers are red.

Oil cooler capacity increases by 25 percent on the 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray versus the prior generation. Photo: Chevrolet.

2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray: Transmission Tech

The new mid-engine layout dictates a full-blown transaxle setup, mounted directly to the engine itself. This would be Chevy’s first eight speed dual-clutch transmission, one they say provides lightning-fast shifts and excellent power transfer. This transmission, unique to the new Stingray, was designed in-house with TREMEC. There’s a trick, double-paddle de-clutch feature that allows you to disconnect the clutch by holding both paddles for more manual control. At the moment, I’m not sure why I’d want to do that, but give me some time with the car and I’ll come up with a reason. And sorry folks, no manual transmission!

The new small block V8 has a torque curve optimized for the DCT’s capabilities. The DCT is set up with a very low first gear for better launch, and the close-ratio of gears two through six keep the engine near the power peak. The top two cogs, seventh and eighth, are tall for the sake of fuel economy. I wonder which can go the farthest on a tank of gas, the new Vette, a Ferrari 488 or a Porsche 911?

Drive Modes

Controlling all of the goings on within the engine and transaxle are six driver-selectable modes (up from four in the C7). Each allow you to tweak the feel of your Corvette to your personal liking. Just like before, Weather, Tour, Sport, and Track modes are still there, along with two new modes. MyMode, a configurable setting for your preferred style, and Z Mode. Z Mode (named after the Z06, ZR1, and Z51 packages) activates through the “Z” button on the steering wheel (no, really). Z Mode takes the MyMode configurations one step further, allowing you to adjust the engine and transmission as well. GM didn’t really elaborate beyond that.

The 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray’s transmission does not have a mechanical interface between the shift lever and the transmission. The Corvette’s electric shifter incorporates two pull toggles for Reverse and Drive and push buttons for Park, Neutral, and Low/Manual. Photo: Chevrolet.

Digital Platforms & Premium Stereos

The 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray benefits from GM’s new digital vehicle platform. The electronic architecture minimizes wiring and allows for faster signal transmission between the Vette’s on-board systems and touchscreens. The platform also offers over-the-air updates and enhanced cybersecurity measures. Ugh! Now we have to worry about cybersecurity in our Vettes, Ugh! Still, the electric architecture supports things like the Corvette’s infotainment system with Bluetooth, Near Field Communication, wireless charging, and voice recognition among other features.

The Performance Data Recorder, a Corvette favorite, now has a higher-resolution camera. In case you are not familiar with it, the Performance Data Recorder captures both circuit and point-to-point road course data. It can be set to auto-record, like a dash cam, that starts every time the Vette is running. The feature is a lot of fun if you are taking your Vette to the track.

On the inside, there are driver and passenger memory settings for the seats; the steering wheel is heated and a tire fill alert warns you when the tires reach maximum pressure. You have a choice of two new Bose audio systems: a standard 10-speaker system and an available, 14-speaker Performance Series system. We recommend the latter.

The 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray is loaded with features, but none seem extraneous or there for their own sake. We are definitely coming to the party for that engine, but the tech and connectivity updates don’t hurt either.

2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray interior layout. Photo: Chevrolet.

Corvette Visualizer

Production of the 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray begins at Bowling Green Assembly later this year. Additional pricing and packaging information will be available closer to launch. When it hits the market, the new Stingray will come in 12 exterior colors; offer six interior color themes and seat belt colors, with two optional stitching packages. If you simply cannot wait, a new digital tool, the Corvette Visualizer, lets you design your dream mid-engine Vette in vivid detail.

Nationwide Tour

The 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray will embark on a cross-country dealership tour leading up to its on-sale date. Corvette specialists, along with the vehicle and numerous other displays, will stop at over 125 dealerships nationwide, as well as major consumer events.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle formatFollow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray Gallery

Photos & Source: Chevrolet.

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