Know anyone who is fundamentally opposed to mid-engined performance cars?
We don’t either. But we do know owners of mid-engined sports cars who are loath to ever again consider another layout. You know what they say: Once you go mid-engined you never go back, or front, or something like that…
For most people though, mid-engined is synonymous with “exotic.” "Mid-engined" conjures up Italian car imagery, and all of the associated informational baggage. The costs, performance capabilities, and numbers associated with supercars can be so distracting that the mid-engined layout in and of itself is often overlooked.
Take the braking characteristics, for example. Limit braking on track in an Audi R8 was quite simply the most memorable braking experience we’ve ever had. The sensation from the driver’s seat was that we were dropping big, container ship style anchors at all four corners. The R8 chassis squatted in sync front-rear-left-right, and dug in. Unlike in a front-engined car, nose dive was imperceptible. It was supremely balanced and seemingly uninfluenced by immense longitudinal forces. It was… magnificent.
And in terms of handling – the feeling of centeredness and rotation through the corner provided by a mid-engined car is unrivaled by any front-engined car we’ve experienced.
That’s not to say front-engined performance cars are obsolete, or that they too don’t offer advantages. And if any sports car in history has proven the merit of the front-engined layout, it’s Corvette.
Corvette has been at the forefront of sports car innovation and performance for about 60 years, and it would be impossible to argue that its front-engined layout has limited its capabilities and advancement. (The C7 Z06 pulled 1.16 average lateral g around Motor Trend’s figure eight, for pete’s sake.)
But now word on the street is that after more than half a century Corvette might abandon ship on the front-engined layout for the C8 generation, and go mid.
Mid-engined Vette will be awesome. AWESOME. And it makes sense on many levels –
Corvettes don’t have rear seats, so a mid-engined design doesn’t disrupt any practicality.
Corvette has always been about delivering immense performance for the money. The mid-engined layout would no doubt protect and advance that ethos, and also introduce an element of exoticness that is currently limited to supercars, nearly extinct 1st gen Honda NSX’s (thanks Ayrton), and Lotus’s that are snow leopard rare outside of the track.
For now the mid-engined Vette remains a rumor, but looking more and more likely to become a reality with spy photos like this.