Home » First Drive: The Hybrid Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray Delivers Brawn and Comfort, but at the Expense of Agility

First Drive: The Hybrid Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray Delivers Brawn and Comfort, but at the Expense of Agility

by multimill
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It was just a few years ago that the eighth iteration of the Chevrolet Corvette successfully brought the 70-year-old icon into a new generation, rebooted to add mid-engined power and poise. While that initial Stingray raised the venerable American sports car’s profile, it also created a platform for a new level of performance.

Last year, the 670 hp Corvette Z06 showed what that platform could do. With its exotic flat-plane crank and gratuitous use of carbon fiber, it established itself as a legitimate threat to high-end track toys like the Porsche 911 GT3. Now, Chevrolet is targeting another aspirational Porsche with another flavor of Corvette—the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray. The model variant adds hybrid power, all-wheel-drive, and a few top-notch touches to make the sports icon more of a four-season grand tourer. Its goal? Become a legitimate competitor to enviable everyday powerhouses like the Porsche 911 Turbo.

The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray.

The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray.

Tim Stevens

Yes, the Corvette is available as a hybrid for the first time, but don’t hold that against it. It’s thanks to that hybrid power that this is the first Corvette with all-wheel drive. An electric motor sits low between the front wheels, spinning those tires and adding 160 hp to the 6.2-liter LT2 V-8’s 495 hp, bringing total output to 655 hp. The front motor is paired with 1.9 kWh of batteries tucked within the central transmission tunnel, right at the car’s center of gravity. That pack is too small to warrant the E-Ray being a plug-in car. It’s instead recharged during regeneration, which is placed up front to take advantage of the physics of deceleration, converting momentum into battery charge.

You can drive the E-Ray emissions-free for a few miles at speeds lower than 45 mph, but this isn’t the point. The motor is there to add performance, and it starts with acceleration. A zero-to-60 mph time of just 2.5 seconds matches the bonkers Z06, but where the Z06 is edgy and nervous at any speed, the E-Ray is a package that’s much more tenable as a daily driver.

Driving the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray.

With its 160 hp electric motor and 495 hp LT2 V-8—paired with an eight-speed DCT—the E-Ray covers zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds.

Chevrolet

Chevrolet outfits the E-Ray with Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires by default, massive 275/30ZR20 ones up front and 345/25ZR21 at the back. That much tread imparts a fair bit of road noise into the cabin when cruising on the highway, but otherwise, this Corvette is remarkably comfortable at speed, thanks to its standard Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension. This is especially the case in Tour, its most sedate driving mode. The eight-speed DCT, meanwhile, flips through gears as smoothly as a Vegas blackjack dealer works a deck of cards.

A heads-up display is also standard, and while adaptive cruise control is sadly not available, you do at least get lane-keep assist and a bevy of active safety solutions, meaning you’re not lacking in modern niceties. The touchscreen is small—only an 8.0-inch display, to be exact—and the overall digital experience is sometimes sluggish. Still, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on tap, paired with a 14-speaker Bose sound system, you’re not lacking in tech, either.

The interior of the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray.

Although there’s plenty of tech in the cockpit, the overall digital experience feels a bit sluggish.

Chevrolet

And, of course, you’re not lacking in performance. Though that front motor only contributes about 25 percent of the overall system power, its torque is instantaneous. That means the E-Ray leaps to attention with every touch of the accelerator, even if the DCT needs to drop a few cogs before the 6.2-liter V-8 is up to full song. And a great song it sings, but only when you want it. When you’re idling along the highway, the LT2 is barely audible, a sewing machine–like ticking behind your head is the only sign of internal combustion. But get up into the power band, and you’re not only met with a delightful exhaust note but a wonderfully shrill accompaniment of induction sound, too.

The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray.

The E-Ray leaps to attention with every touch of the accelerator, even if that DCT needs to drop a few cogs before the 6.2-liter V-8 is up to full song.

Chevrolet

When pressed, the Corvette E-Ray’s power is prodigious, and the car has plenty of grip to deploy it. While the base Stingray has an unfortunate tendency towards understeer at the slightest provocation, the E-Ray’s front end is much more manageable. This is especially noticeable on the track. Yes, the E-Ray will likewise push its front tires by default, but just turn the wheel a little further and apply a little power, and that electric front motor works its magic, pulling the nose towards the apex and through the turn. Do it aggressively enough, and get ready to countersteer as the rear end steps out.

The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

The E-ray’s outright grip and power are noticeably improved over the base Stingray.

Tim Stevens

It’s a feeling not unlike that of the Acura NSX, the hybrid system not just adding power but balancing the handling, too. It does come at a penalty. The total hybrid system adds about 400 pounds to the Corvette. The bulk of that comes from the battery, which again sits low in the middle of the car.

So, yes, it’s heavier and less nimble than the base Stingray, but outright grip and power are noticeably improved. And the E-Ray is miles better for approachability and day-to-day usability than the Z06. With a tasteful and desirable set of standard features, the E-Ray really is a new class of Corvette. Its starting price of just under $105,000 also puts it in a class above.



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