After decades without a factory right-hand drive Corvette, Chevrolet is now rolling out every new variant of its sports car with a right-hook option.
The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray – detailed here – is the latest member of the iconic sports car family to be revealed, and it’s coming here.
“It is with great excitement that we can confirm that the next-gen Corvette, the E-Ray, will make its way Down Under. Stay tuned for more details,” said a spokesperson for GM Specialty Vehicles (GMSV).
The company’s local arm hasn’t confirmed when we should expect to see the E-Ray, the first Corvette with all-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain.
It has also yet to confirm launch timing for the Z06, which was revealed in October 2021.
Launched 70 years after the original Corvette made its debut at Motorama in New York City, the new E-Ray has a LT2 6.2-litre V8 behind the passenger cell rated at 369kW at 6450rpm and 637Nm at 5150rpm. It drives the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
This is augmented by an electric motor producing 120kW and 165Nm. It is powered by a small 1.9kWh lithium-ion battery, and drives the front wheels.
Boasting a total of 488kW, the E-Ray has a claimed 0-60mph (0-97km/h) time of 2.5 seconds, making it the fastest production Corvette of all time. Chevrolet is anticipating the car can complete the quarter mile (400m) in 10.5 seconds.
For context, the base Corvette Stingray uses a slightly less powerful 364kW/630Nm version of the same 6.2-litre V8, and is capable of completing the 0-60mph dash in around 3.0 seconds.
The zestier Z06 uses a 5.5-litre V8 with a flat-plane crank rated at 500kW and 624Nm.
The car uses the front electric motor during “spirited driving”, in low traction situations, and to enhance vehicle stability. The driver can tweak the amount of electric assistance used via one of six modes: Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, My Mode and Z-Mode.
There are also two driver-selectable drivetrain settings: Stealth, which permits electric-only driving at speeds up to 72km/h (45mph), or until more performance is required or the battery is depleted; and Charge+ that prioritises recharging the battery pack, presumably for later use on-track.
As we’ve seen in spy photos and configurator leaks, the E-Ray utilises the wider body configuration of the Z06. The aero package is largely carried over from the Z06 too, although some parts are colour-coded rather than black.
The E-Ray rides on a new set of five-spoke alloy wheels that are 20-inch up front and 21-inch at the rear, and are paired with Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tyres measuring 275/30 up front and 345/25 at the rear. The optional Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tyres are required for the E-Ray to hit the car’s claimed performance numbers.
Stopping ability comes courtesy of Brembo carbon-ceramic disc brakes with six-pot calipers at the front, and four-pot units at the rear. Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 suspension with three selectable settings is standard, as is black badging and a full-length electric blue body stripe.
The E-Ray Performance App on the infotainment system can display output gauges for the V8 and electric motors, a dyno graph, or data from electrical system.
Available options include carbon-fibre wheels, exhaust tips, chromed badges, exposed carbon-fibre elements, and multiple interior colour schemes.
While the E-Ray will be faster than its siblings, it is also considerably heavier, so it will be interesting to see if it as satisfying to drive. The E-Ray coupe has a dry weight of 1712kg, while the convertible with its extra structural bracing tips the scales at 1749kg.
That’s up to 185kg more than the Stingray coupe (1530kg), Stingray convertible (1576kg), and Z06 coupe (1560kg).
Despite the addition of an electric motor and battery pack, the E-Ray still has a storage space available underneath the bonnet.
US sales of the Corvette E-Ray begin later this year, with a starting price of US$104,295 ($149,300) for the 1LZ coupe, and US$111,295 ($159,400) for the 1LZ convertible.
Stateside the slightly more powerful Z06 is US$1005 ($1400) more.
Chevrolet typically rolls out a succession of Corvette variants with the introduction of each new generation, and we don’t expect the cavalcade of C8s to end with the E-Ray.
A report back in 2020, which correctly predicted the launch of the flat-plane Z06 and hybrid E-Ray, also said we should expect the return of the Grand Sport and ZR1 nameplates, plus a new flagship Zora.
The Grand Sport will reportedly feature a slightly more powerful version of the base Stingray’s engine, along with bigger wheels and brakes and retuned suspension, while the ZR1 will reportedly take the Z06’s 5.5-litre V8 and add a pair of turbochargers.
The Zora – named after Zora Arkus-Duntov, regarded as the “father” of the Corvette – will reportedly combine all the new elements of the C8 in one ultra high-performance package, with a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre flat-plane V8, a hybrid system and all-wheel drive.
It will reportedly produce a stratospheric 1000 horsepower and 1000 pound-feet of torque, or 745kW and 1355Nm.
Subsequent to this report, Chevrolet has confirmed it will introduce a pure electric version of the Corvette.
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