By switching from a front- to a mid-mounted engine, the Chevrolet Corvette underwent the most drastic transformation in its 66-year history. The change represented a sizable challenge for chassis engineers, but Bose explained that it also had to completely rethink the car’s sound system to make sure the stereo sounds as good as the V8 at full song.
Bose has worked jointly with Chevrolet on every Corvette since the fourth-generation car made its debut in 1984. And while the model’s design has evolved significantly, its basic layout has always remained the same, so Bose knew ahead of time what it had to work with whenever Chevrolet began developing a new Corvette. The midengined configuration (which puts the engine directly behind the two passengers rather than in front) required starting with a blank slate.
“From the beginning, we knew we had to have an audio system that carefully balanced the need to isolate the occupants from the engine compartment in the rear, while providing live performance-like audio clarity,” explained Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter.
Bose managed to cram 14 speakers in the 2020 Corvette, the most it has ever stuffed inside a two-seater car. The system includes wide-range speakers, tweeters, and woofers neatly integrated into the door panels. The woofers are covered by a smooth, padded surface because Chevrolet engineers feared traditional speaker grilles would scratch the occupants’ legs during hard cornering.
That’s not the only area in which the Corvette’s performance influenced the sound system’s design. Noise compensation technology called AudioPilot relies on tiny microphones to monitor the noise level inside the cabin and adjust the stereo’s volume as needed so it always sounds the same. This technology ensures noise from the wind, the tires, or the engine doesn’t invite itself into the chorus of your favorite song by The Offspring. It’s found in many new and late-model cars, but the Corvette accelerates so quickly that Bose had to pack more processing power into the system.
Chevrolet engineers took care of the rest. When it arrives in showrooms during the 2020 model year, the eighth-generation Corvette will pack a direct-injected, normally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 engine rated at 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. It spins the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it allows the ‘Vette to reach 60 mph from a stop in less than 3 seconds.
The best part? Pricing starts at under $60,000. Don’t expect base models to come with the 14-speaker sound system, though. The entry-level Corvette comes standard with a 10-speaker surround-sound system also designed by Bose.
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