This Likely Hybrid C8 Corvette Mule is Freakishly Quiet | Autance

A big step forward in the Corvette nameplate could be coming soon.

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This Likely Hybrid C8 Corvette Mule is Freakishly Quiet | Autance © This Likely Hybrid C8 Corvette Mule is Freakishly Quiet | Autance

Recently, a certain C8 Corvette draped in development camouflage was spotted in Germany amongst a few other C8s. What was particularly noteworthy about this one, was its lack of V8 noise at low speeds. Could this be a new mild-hybrid variant of the legendary badge?

Welcome to Headlight! This is a new Car Autance daily news feature that lights up one current event in the car world and breaks it down by three simple subheadings: What Happened, Why It Matters, and What To Look For Next. We’ll be refining this over the coming weeks, but look for it at around 9:30 a.m. ET every workday.

What Happened

As reported by MOTOR Magazine Australia, a silent-drive C8 Chevrolet Corvette was recently spotted in pre-production, development-spec camouflage around GM’s test facility near the Nürburgring in Germany. As MOTOR discusses and we’re hedging, this C8 is most likely a new hybrid with at least one electric motor.

The mostly-silent ‘Vette appears in a fever of stingrays, all rocking Michigan tags, with the lead car obviously being the new Z06 due to its particularly tenor, flat-plane-V8 chortle. The alleged hybrid ‘ray doesn’t signal when turning right at one point, too -this test driver must be from Southern California.

Why It Matters

While it’s hard to speculate whether this will be a plug-in hybrid or the kind that only pulls its juice from re-gen, it’s cool to see that the Corvette will join the likes of the Acura NSX, Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, etc. and offer hybrid assistance to not only boost its power but also reduce its carbon footprint. Not that the C8 needed electric power to fill in any acceleration gaps, anyway.

Since the C5 generation, the Corvette has made a name for itself for being fairly thrifty on fuel thanks to cylinder deactivation, goofy manual transmission gear lockout, and longer, highway-friendly gearing. [Update: The C4 also had a skip-shift gear lockout situation to save fuel. Thanks to reader John R. for mentioning that.] This is a great next step that proves you can have your cake and eat it when it comes to thrilling performance and maintaining a good rapport with Mother Nature.

What To Look For Next

According to GM Authority quite a while back, there’s a good chance this new variant will be called the E-Ray, feature the 490-horsepower, 6.2-liter LT2 V8, have a wider footprint than other ‘Vettes, possess a 1.94 kWh battery in the middle of the car, and motor (or motors) in the front of the chassis. Though, nothing’s been 100 percent confirmed.

Firm details might be officially revealed soon, possibly as early as the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show in late-November. 

We’ll also be keeping an eye on pricing -if Chevy can pull off a true hybrid supercar fighter that stickers for less than even a base Acura NSX, then what a next chapter for Bowling Green’s working class hero it’ll be.

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