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MotorTrend September 2019

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MotorTrend is the world's automotive authority. Every issue of MotorTrend informs and entertains with features on the testing of both domestic and import cars, car care, motor sports coverage, sneak peeks at future vehicles, and auto-industry news.

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United States
12 Issues

in this issue

4 min.

What do you call a myth that finally comes true? Well, you can call it the cover story of this special 70th anniversary issue. After decades of our theorizing and Chevrolet’s teasing, the Corvette quits banging on the limiters of a grand touring platform and upshifts into the realm of mid-engine supercar. Seventy years of MotorTrend means, at minimum, 840 covers, not counting special editions or different versions of issues for newsstands and subscribers. We have a feature this month on the staff’s favorite covers over the years, and this exercise led me to count up the number of times we’ve prominently featured a Corvette on our most prized page, with either an image, headline, or other callout. The love we’ve given the Chevrolet Corvette is astonishing and frankly a bit embarrassing;…

5 min.
the mid-engine corvette is here … and we’re in it first ride

“We’re none too pleased to have you here.” Soul-crushing words from Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter. Chevy’s PR department, relenting to MotorTrend’s barrage of begging for early C8 Corvette access, has twisted Juechter’s arm into letting me ride shotgun for three rotations of a development drive in the latest C8 prototypes. His team is loath to expose the press to anything less than a fully baked, buffed, and polished, production-ready, no-excuses Corvette—and this drive is a crucial step in that process. Upon solemnly swearing not to report on any quality lapses I may detect, I strap into the right seat of a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 with FE4 suspension. “Cars are complicated,” Juechter deadpans, noting that writing, developing, and perfecting the software that controls the myriad microchips, solenoids, motors, features, and functions…

3 min.
three challenges the mid-engine presented

Everything about building a mid-engine car was new to the C8 development engineers. There’s virtually nobody left from the earlier mid-engine Corvette programs (or even the Pontiac Fiero team) to consult with, so the C8 team pretty much had to benchmark state-of-the-art competitors. And because most competitors have been developing mid-engine sports cars for several generations, the pressure on the Corvette squad has been high to nail the benchmarks right from the start. Plenty of computer-aided engineering and rough mule prototype vehicles were involved. Below are a few of the diciest challenges the team faced. Engine Note Tuning: Some of the nastiest (in a bad way) sounds an engine makes are now 12 inches from the driver’s ear: the accessory drive. Hence the firewall is well insulated, and the bulkhead window…

3 min.
four tech triumphs: industry-trumping firsts and fun features

Flagships always get the coolest tech first, and the Corvette C8 is most definitely Chevrolet’s flagship and a standard-bearer for the entire General Motors Corporation. Here are four technologies that piqued the interest of your humble MotorTrend technical director. Cylinder Deactivation + Twin-Clutch: Neither is a new technology, but GM is the first to combine them in this market and this segment. This is a big deal because the vibration that comes with shutting off half the cylinders is harder to absorb or mask without a torque converter in the driveline. Torque converters are basically fluid couplings, and fluid is great at absorbing vibes. And even when they’re locked for fuel savings, their housings can incorporate nifty pendulum mass dampers tuned to absorb torsional wiggles. All a multiplate clutch pack can do in…

3 min.
fast 4-1-1: mid-engine ’vette basics

Prepare to be bombarded with facts, trivia, and minutiae covering every aspect of the long-awaited mid-engine Corvette in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date. For now, here’s a concise distillation of the most basic information you need to get the conversation going at your local cars ’n’ caffeine gathering. Engine: The base Stingray’s 6.2-liter V-8 engine is the least interesting part of the new C8, yet it has been significantly revised in morphing from LT1 to LT2 nomenclature. Myriad little refinements contribute to the roughly 45-hp jump in output to what is still an estimated 500. A big one is the camshaft. Another biggie: All variants now get dry-sump lubrication, featuring three suction pumps and a more compact remote reservoir. The system is said to be capable of providing full-pressure…

3 min.
confronting our past: we choose the ultimate car of the year

How could you? Better yet, how dare you? Our Ultimate Car of the Year test (page 32) will likely dredge up memories of some rather, ahem, controversial choices that this magazine has made in annually naming the best sled on four wheels. The letters that MT editors have received over the years regarding our Car of the Year decisions contain enough paper to repopulate a small forest. Most boil down to some version of the following: “Choosing the Pontiac 6000 SUX over the Nissonda Camcord clearly means your editors spent too many fireside nights imbibing brown liquids rather than actually, you know, driving the cars.” So imagine the challenge to go back through our 70 years of existence, pick a representative vehicle from each decade, and line them up to pick the Ultimate…