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Drag Race: Tesla Model Y Performance vs. Chevrolet Corvette

Drag Race: Tesla Model Y Performance vs. Chevrolet Corvette

The Corvette wins, right?

  • A face-off between two very quick and similarly priced American cars
  • The race is closer than you might think
  • Official Edmunds Model Y horsepower rating: satisfactory

Tesla vs. Corvette? This lineup doesn't make sense. How could we possibly justify this pair? After all, the Corvette is the beacon of all that's right in the world of sports cars. And in the eyes of passionate EV enthusiasts, it's the sign of all that's wrong.

On the other hand, both the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette and 2020 Tesla Model Y are incredibly quick and American-made vehicles. Both are priced similarly. And both happen to be owned by Edmunds — we're running each in our long-term road test program.

We wanted to find out which one was quicker in a real-world heads-up drag race. Watch and read on to see the results.

Surely, You Must Be Joking

First, we have no Shirleys on staff. But when it comes to Tesla vs. Corvette, consider the pricing. The 2020 Corvette has a starting price of $59,995 (destination included), but our well-optioned example totaled $80,660. Its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 still uses pushrods, and its baritone exhaust ensures proper playback of the 495 horsepower.

The only way the Model Y could be more different is if it were a minivan. This Tesla is an all-wheel-drive and all-electric small SUV. Yet it's the Performance version, with the no-cost Performance upgrade, making it the Model Y Performance Performance (this option is now included in the trim level). The base price for ours was $61,125 — or $1,130 more than the base C8. After a few options, ours totaled $68,700.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette.

Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Day to Quit Launch Control

Getting the Corvette off the line quickly requires the use of launch control. In most Corvettes, that's a simple matter of mashing pedals. Our C8 has the optional Performance Traction Management feature, which is among the best in the industry as far as go-fast stability control systems go. But you have to tap a few more buttons to get it engaged. Once activated, it's as simple as holding the brake pedal with your left foot and slapping the gas with your right.

The Model Y? You hit the go pedal. That's it. That's the entire launch control process.

As far as the ease of launch goes in Tesla vs. Corvette, the EV has the advantage. The Model Y 0-60 mph performance is more accessible than the Corvette 0-60, even if the C8 is quicker. With the Tesla, passing power is always ready, just underneath that accelerator pedal — sans theatrics. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your impulse control.

And the Gap Is Growing Larrrrrrger!

During the drag race, the both cars leave the line at about the same pace. The differences remain slim until about an indicated 70 or 80 mph, when the Corvette begins to pull away. This gap remained consistent during repeated runs, whether we started from a stop or from 30 mph in a roll-on race.

This real-world drag race closely matched what we saw during performance testing at the Edmunds test track. There, the Corvette 0-60 mph result was 3.4 seconds (3.2 seconds with a 1-foot rollout), while the quarter-mile time was 11.5 seconds at 119.7 mph. But the Tesla Model Y wasn't far behind. The Model Y 0-60 mph run took 3.7 seconds (3.4 seconds with rollout), and it passed the quarter-mile in 11.9 seconds at 115.3 mph.

Tesla Model Y vs. Chevrolet Corvette.

Tesla Model Y vs. Chevrolet Corvette.

Edmunds Says

The Corvette won the drag race, but the results could easily change if its driver screws up the launch control. That's not too shabby of a showing from our Model Y Performance Performance, especially after you factor in the price. But in this ultimate battle of Tesla vs. Corvette, we consider everyone a winner.

Tesla Model Y vs. Chevrolet Corvette.

Tesla Model Y vs. Chevrolet Corvette.