Denver, Colorado—The Chevrolet Corvette turned 70 this year, which is something very few sports cars can brag about. Even the Camaro will be retired after the 2024 model year.
The Corvette is safe—and better than ever. In fact, since the introduction of the mid-engined C8, the American legend has been enjoying a renaissance and attracting younger customers. The gamble has clearly paid off for Chevrolet. The Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly plant is operating at maximum capacity. But now is not the time to stand still.
- Also: 2024 Chevrolet Corvette Will Cost You a Lot More
- Also: Chevy Corvette Z06 Sets New Lap Record at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Electrification is starting to take over exotic cars. We saw it a few years ago with the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1, then with more affordable supercars such as the Acura NSX. The Corvette? We had to wait until January of this year when the company took the wraps off the 2024 Corvette E-Ray. A number of auto journalists including yours truly were invited to Denver, Colorado last month to put the car to the test on the road and on the track, and now we can finally share our impressions.
One Like None
The new Corvette E-Ray is a car unlike any other—or “One Like None” as Chevy’s official tagline says. It starts with unique exterior features like custom Stingray badges and large, Z06-derived side air intakes in body-coloured trim instead of black for a softer appearance.
The aero kit (front lip spoiler, side skirts and rear wing) and carbon-ceramic brakes come standard, confirming the E-Ray’s superior performance. On the sides, a model-specific badge ensures nobody will confuse it with a Z06. The 20-inch front and 21-inch rear alloy wheels are unique to the gas-electric Corvette, too. Of course, customers can select carbon fibre wheels, which save 19 kg but cost as much as a small car.
The wide array of options is a reflection of the E-Ray’s exclusive status. You can order the car with a manually removable hard top or as a convertible. Up to 14 body colours are available including four at no extra cost. One of them is the new Sea Wolf Grey Tricoat, which you can see on these pictures. There’s also a nice selection of racing stripes specifically for the electrified Corvette.
Now, the most unique thing about this car is obviously the tiny electric motor sitting atop the front axle. It not only creates an all-wheel drive setup, but also results in the fastest-accelerating Corvette ever. Chevrolet claims 0-60 mph sprints (97 km/h) are done in 2.5 seconds, one tenth faster than the Corvette Z06.
The E-Ray combines the 160-horsepower motor with the Stingray’s 495-horsepower V8 engine and a 1.9kWh battery located under the centre console. Total system output is 655 horsepower and 595 lb-ft. of torque.
On the Road
We first drove the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray on the beautifully twisty roads around Denver. By the way, Colorado is where the company tested its AWD supercar, making sure it could tackle winter conditions with ease. Warm weather meant we could leave the top nicely stowed away for this portion of the media drive.
The Corvette E-Ray rides on Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires, which is a curious choice given its incredible potential. For more grip, high-performance tires from the Z06 are available.
Because this is a Corvette you can drive all year long, it was developed primarily as a GT, emphasizing comfort whereas the Z06 is more about sharp handling. A winter package is coming at some point, Chevrolet told us, although the aforementioned Michelins were specially optimized for cold-weather driving. How good are they exactly in such conditions? We don’t know yet. Our advice for most Canadian owners would be to get a proper set of winter tires.
Mother Nature turned up the heat enough to keep the pavement nice and warm on that day, allowing the E-Ray to show what it can do when pushed to the limit (or close to it). The two extra drive wheels add confidence in tight corners despite the all-season tires. Just like the late Acura NSX, the newest Corvette literally feels like it rides on rails. More than the Stingray and Z06, it clearly is the model you need to take for longer trips.
On the Track
Day 2 was supposed to start with straight-line acceleration runs at the Pikes Peak International Raceway, but a few technical problems got in the way so we didn’t get the opportunity to test the car’s launch control system. Bummer.
The lapping sessions on the track were pretty cool and informative, though. Despite carrying extra weight, especially up front, the hybrid Corvette and its high-performance rubber gave us no reason to worry about handling. The tires did squeal a bit when pushed more aggressively in low-speed corners, and while understeer reared its ugly head on a few occasions, the AWD system effectively took care of correcting the line.
It seemed as though the event’s organizers didn’t really want us to drive too hard in the high-speed sections of the track. And that’s probably because braking distances were quite long. The carbon-ceramic brakes had plenty of bite the entire morning, which made it all the more puzzling.
Chevy’s engineers allowed us to use Charge+ mode, which prioritized energy recuperation over performance. When activated on the track, it sure felt like the car lacked a bit of power, but drivers can rest easy knowing the battery charges very quickly. In fact, we were told it’s designed to never run empty so as to keep the motor primed and working at all times.
Drifting With the Vette
The final exercise with the Corvette E-Ray took place on a small autocross course with a giant skidpad in the middle. As we soon found out, the car is not that hard to throw sideways when all the electronic nannies are turned off. Where the E-Ray stands out from other supercars is in the way it manages to keep drifting in controlled fashion.
Usually, you have to constantly adjust pressure on the throttle, but with this Corvette, all you need to do is to maintain the pedal to the metal—or at least past the halfway point of its travel. After a few tries, the car proved super easy to drift.
The Weight and Price of Electrification
Engineers worked hard to save weight in every way possible, but the fact is that the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray feels heavy due to all that technology it leverages. Performance is not seriously affected, mind you, which is the most important thing.
Thrill-seeking drivers now have two Corvettes to choose from. While the Z06 is aimed at purists, the new E-Ray will satisfy those who prefer to carve some nice, long roads in the backcountry. It’s not exactly out of place on a track, but there’s a better toy to play with if you want to spend a full day lapping.