Modern sports cars approach driving dynamics in a wide variety of ways. Some utilize lightweight materials or technology to achieve stability, balance and performance, while others rely more on large displacement powerplants. Some have the engine up front, others in the middle or rear.
Offering a vast spectrum of pricing, refinement, and capability, no two vehicles among our shortlist of finalists were remotely similar. Each exhibiting a unique approach and personality, the unifying element was the pursuit of driving enjoyment.
Consisting of a highly experienced and diverse group of more than 20 automotive experts from across the country, our jury considered every single sports cars over $50,000 available for sale in Canada before narrowing down the shortlist to the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 718 (Boxster/Cayman), Jaguar F-Type, Mercedes-AMG GT and the Toyota GR Supra.
Evaluating each model based on a comprehensive list of parameters specifically based upon the segment, our team graded this group on criteria such as acceleration, braking, handling dynamics, interior ergonomics and exterior styling. Also recognizing that recommending a vehicle out of the reach of most Canadians would not be helpful to consumers, pricing and value for the money was also taken into consideration.
While each model makes a strong case, one stood out among the rest for its unique, aggressive styling, sharp handling, robust acceleration, and cost of entry – the Chevrolet Corvette C8, which has been voted as autoTRADER.ca’s Best Sports Car Over $50,000 for 2020. You read that correctly. No longer just an attractive proposition for the money, Chevrolet has made great strides over the years to improve the Corvette on every level, making it a legitimate contender.
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Among the most legendary and longest running nameplates in automotive history, there are few sports cars that have remained immediately recognizable and as relevant over the years. The Corvette has reinvented itself again and again since its introduction in 1953. The first to wear the Stingray name since 1968, the seventh-generation (C7) was the last to feature a front-mounted engine and a manual transmission, as the completely redesigned C8 is now mid-engined for greater balance and weight distribution. The new model gets an eight-speed dual clutch transmission controlled either by the push-button gear selector or the steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Moving the engine rearward, its proportions and performance capabilities push it closer to supercar territory, but its price is still relatively achievable for the masses. Styling is highly subjective, but the C8 Corvette makes a bold departure from previous generations; its exterior is edgy, aggressive and unmistakable, making it impossible to fly under the radar. Criticized for years about poor build quality and use of cheap plastic inside, the interior makes use of much higher quality materials than previous models. The cockpit now makes the driver a priority, offering a commanding driving position and providing all of the information and controls intuitively and comfortably within reach. Materials like carbon fibre, brushed aluminum, leather and micro suede feel durable and robust with a keen attention to details like contrast stitching and subtle logo embossing.
Only the Stingray model has been unveiled thus far, in both coupe and convertible form. The new convertible features a slick new power hardtop that disappears into the engine compartment. The all-new 6.2L LT2 V8 is good for 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Each trim level promises more convenience features, higher levels of refinement and added performance. The entry-level 1LT trim comes well equipped with a 460-hp 6.2L V8 making 465 lb-ft of torque, Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP performance tires and Brembo brakes, drive mode selector, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen and Apple CarPlay as standard equipment.
Customers can add the Z51 performance package to 1LT, 2LT or 3LT which includes even more performance and agility through its performance suspension Brembo brake rotors, performance suspension and exhaust, revised axle ratio, electronic limited slip differential (eLSD), Z51-specific front splitter and rear spoiler, as well as Michelin Pilot Sport 4S high performance tires and a heavy-duty cooling system. The Performance Data Recorder also allows the driver to record audio, visual and performance data.
Today’s modern sports cars are sophisticated, technologically advanced, and more refined than ever before, requiring fewer concessions and compromises to achieve pure driving enjoyment. The Corvette has improved in leaps and bounds across all criteria in which we evaluate the segment. It offers an impressive list of standard equipment and many innovative options that are intuitive and user-friendly. It is as enjoyable to drive on the street as it is on the racetrack, offering a high level of civility for a sports car. How much performance you get depends on how much you’re willing to spend, but regardless of which trim level you choose, the Corvette is a distinctive and iconic sports car that will put a smile on your face. It’s a car we are confident in recommending.