When it comes to performance cars costing north of $50,000, buyers are spoiled for choice. This is truly a golden age for lusty personal transport, and the available reaches of power, desirability, and exclusivity are only limited by the depths of one’s pockets. Yet for the third year running, the experts at AutoTrader have voted for the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray as the Best Performance Car Over $50K. And with a starting price of $68,398, this mid-engine ‘Vette is an absolute performance bargain.
Yet the Stingray wins this award on more than price alone. The C8 Stingray debuted for 2020, finally turning years of mid-engine Corvette rumours into reality. Corvette engineers had taken the front-engine layout as far as they could, and as such, the mid-engine C8 has been blessed with dynamic abilities the previous generation models couldn’t match.
Sure, the classic proportions of long hood and short tail have been replaced with the cab forward mid-engine wedge template, but behind the seats still breathes a 6.2L pushrod naturally-aspirated small-block V8 kicking out an available 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The C8 only comes with a quick-witted eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, and this combination launches the two-seat sports car to highway speeds in about 3.0 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 310 km/h.
Not only does this new mid-engine layout give the C8 better launch capabilities, it transforms its dynamics as well, delivering a driving experience that is balanced, intuitive, and confidence inspiring. With expertly tuned magnetic shock absorbers and a comprehensive stability control system, the C8 Stingray is a true track star. Oh, yes, and it’s blazingly fast.
But it takes more than a one-trick pony to beat out every other performance car available for Canadians to buy in this segment as well as such finalists as the Porsche 911, Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman, Toyota GR Supra, and Mercedes-AMG GT for this award. The 2022 Corvette Stingray also happily plays the role of a comfortable long-distance cruiser, thanks to its surprisingly supple ride and well-crafted interior that can be optioned up to luxury levels.
For those who like sun with their fun, the convertible version gets a two-piece folding hardtop that stashes away in 16 seconds and operates at speeds up to 50 km/h. Six electric motors operate the top, and the vertical rear window works independently of the roof, acting as a windblocker or, when the roof is up, allowing for more aural enjoyment of the LT2 V8. Louvers in the tonneau extract heat from the engine, and like the Coupe, there is a deep luggage compartment behind the engine that will accommodate two golf bags.
Seeing a new Corvette approaching on the road, one can easily be reminded of Lamborghini, Ferrari, or McLaren, such are its striking proportions. Yes, some traditional Corvette folks have their noses out of joint, but in essence, the C8 Corvette has democratized the mid-engine exotic sports car, bringing this level of performance to a new, less affluent audience. And for that, our experts here at AutoTrader have voted it Best Performance Car Over $50K for the third year running.