In what Chevrolet called their “Moon Shot”, Thursday night the Bow Tie Gang unveiled to the press and fans the long awaited C8, the first mid-engine Corvette to make production. The event took place in the historic Tustin Blimp Hangar #2 near Santa Ana, California. True to rumors, the initial Stingray will be powered by an updated 6.2-liter V8 with a rating of 495-horsepower and 470 lb.ft. of torque. While there is no manual transmission, there is a standard 8-speed Tremec dual-clutch gearbox that is said to provide lightning fast shifts.

While no detailed pricing was given, the crowd cheered when they heard that the base car will sticker for just under $60,000. A true bargain among global mid-engine designs. As to worldwide distribution, the C8 will also be the first Corvette available from the factory in left or right hand drive. Performance also ranks high against much more pricey competition. When equipped with the Z51 performance package, GM claims the C8 will do 0-60 MPH in under 3 seconds. With highly centralized weight and a chassis that is 50% stiffer than the C7, handling should be another home run.

Up close the C8 looks smaller and sleeker than the disguised prototypes seen before the event, and far more conservatively styled overall than suggested by recently leaked shots of its rear end treatment. The interior, dominated by a flat top and bottom steering wheel, continues the Corvette’s iconic driver oriented layout, but with a large touch screen dominating the center space, and a thin row of climate control switches on a floating arm that separates the driver and passenger spaces. While production will begin slowly late this fall, dealers will not see cars in volume until early 2020. MotorWeek will be counting the days until we can tell you if the C8 drives as good as it looks on stage.