When we last saw the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette in July, it shocked the world by finally bringing the mid-engine format to a production Chevrolet Corvette after a 50 year wait. But amid all the pomp and circumstance, the absence of the equally long awaited convertible was noticed by many attendees. While there wasn’t as much flash and pomp this time around, the unique magic that the 2020 Corvette convertible brings to the table cannot be ignored.
The exterior styling at its basic core elements remains mostly unchanged from the coupe that preceded it, but the droptop variant does bring some minor tweaks of its own into the ring. For starters, it’s the first American sports car to be ever offered with a folding retracting hardtop. This particular feature has long been a staple in import offerings, but until now, it has remained elusive in American sports cars, which have always embraced folding soft tops even into the 2000s. The two piece top on display here lifts up, and actually folds back over the engine, where it is stored under a protective tonneau cover, as well as a specially designed composite compartment that protects the top from the heat generated by the engine. The top can be activated at speeds up to 30 mph, and takes 16 seconds to fold up or down. Six electric motors handle the transition, versus older models that used hydraulic setups to accomplish the same task. Chevrolet claims that this helps improve reliability of the system as a whole, though we really suspect that it helps reduce weight since hydraulic components tend to be heavier than newer electric systems.
Like the rest of the Corvette, the top is not made out of metal, but is made out of a lightweight composite piece that can either be painted to match the body color, or an optional Carbon Flash metallic hue for those that prefer to have a darker contrast look. When the top is up, the roof maintains alot of the C8’s design mojo. But when it is down, the car takes on a very different appearance, with the rear window being able to be operated independently of the top to help improve airflow. Lastly in a nod to versatility, the top does not block cargo capacity at all when it is folded down. There will be likely some questions from serious enthusiasts about how the folding top affects weight, rigidity, and even power. While GM chose to keep this information to itself, the company did reveal the C8 was designed from the very beginning to be a convertible, with the center tunnel structure providing plenty of strength. Chevy also confirmed that the spicier Z51 package can also be equipped to the convertible, and that should help alleviate some of the initial worries that buyers may have about its track capability.
When it comes to bang for the buck, the convertible doesn’t skimp on value either, with Chevrolet reps revealing that it is only $7,500 more than the base 1LT coupe which has a price tag of just under $60,000 before taxes and fees are blended into the mix. Our best guess is that the final base price will start somewhere around $67,000 which is still a very good bargain for this type of car. Production is expected to formally kickoff later this year, but that timeline can very well change if the ongoing UAW worker strike causes delays for key parts and components for both the coupe and the convertible Vette.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.