Corvette C8 vs. Shelby GT500 vs. Porsche 911: 0-60 Times, Price, Driving Impressions & More

Corvette C8 vs. Shelby GT500 vs. Porsche 911: 0-60 Times, Price, Driving Impressions & More

You can almost pity the person who has around $100,000 to spend on a new sports car. The options have never been as good or as diverse. Consider these three: the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera. That's right, we're tackling the C8 vs. GT500 and Corvette vs. 911 in one go.

This trio represents every form of engine placement (front, mid, rear) and means of getting air into the engine (turbocharged, supercharged and au naturel). Each nameplate carries with it roughly 60 years of automotive history. We've tested and evaluated these three to see to report on how their differences manifest in the driving experience.

Jump to compare: 0-60 & Top Speed | Price | Horsepower & MPG | Driving | Interior | Edmunds Says

0-60 Times and Top Speed: Corvette vs. GT500 vs. 911

With 760 horsepower, the GT500 would seem the favorite in a straight line. Ultimately it is. In testing at our private test track we recorded a 11.3-second quarter-mile pass at 129.9 mph. That edges out the Corvette (11.5 seconds) and the 911 Carrera (11.8 seconds). But the race doesn't start that way.

In a C8 vs. GT500 drag race, the Corvette is actually quickest to 60 mph, reaching it in 3.4 seconds (3.2 seconds with a 1-foot rollout). The GT500 is right behind, running to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds (3.4 seconds with a 1-foot rollout). The 911 follows the Corvette, reaching 60 mph in 3.6 seconds (3.4 seconds with a 1-foot rollout).

How does the 379-hp 911 outmatch the GT500 to 60 mph? For starters, our test 911 was 777 pounds lighter than our GT500. Also, the 911's engine and transmission essentially sit on top of the rear wheels. With the mass of the drivetrain pressing directly on the tires, the 911 has more traction available, which its launch control system is happy to use. The mid-engine Corvette reaps a similar benefit.

The longer the race goes, the more the Shelby is able to deploy its awesome power. This is evident by the 10 mph greater trap speed (how fast it's going at the quarter-mile) versus the Corvette and 911. In a GT500 vs. C8 Corvette drag race, the Shelby wins — eventually.

As far as top speeds go, the Corvette has the biggest bragging rights with a 194 mph manufacturer claim. The 911 is second, with Porsche touting 182 mph, and Ford says 180 mph for the GT500. We don't test top speed for reasons related to practicality and because, at least in the U.S., it's mainly related to ego.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette.

Price Comparison: Corvette vs. GT500 vs. 911

We bought both the GT500 and the C8 to run in our long-term test fleet. The Corvette has the lowest starting price of the group: $59,995 (destination included). After adding things such as the midlevel 2LT equipment group ($7,300); the performance-enhancing Z51 package ($5,000); Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension dampers ($1,895); midlevel GT2 seats ($1,495); and a front-axle lift ($1,495), our C8 totaled $80,660.

The supercharged 760-horse GT500 starts at $71,395. We also added the Recaro-branded bucket seats ($1,595); the Technology package package for a nicer stereo and navigation ($3,000); and the Handling package ($1,500), which amounts to owner-installed aerodynamic parts. After options, our GT500 totaled $81,280. While the GT500 is available with the Carbon Fiber Track package (mega-cool carbon-fiber wheels and ultra-sticky tires), we skipped it because it costs $18,500.

The base 911 Carrera is an outlier. Our test car started at $98,750. On top of that it had a leather interior ($4,530), a sport exhaust system ($2,950) and upgraded 18-way power-adjustable seats ($3,470). Our 911 test car totaled $116,110.

2020 Porsche 911.

2020 Porsche 911.

Horsepower, Specs and MPG: Corvette vs. 911 vs. GT500

The Corvette's 6.2-liter V8 makes 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque (with the Z51 package). With a curb weight of 3,649 pounds, our test C8 had a power-to-weight ratio of 7.4 pounds per unit of horsepower. As for fuel economy, the 2020 Corvette earns a 19 mpg combined city/highway estimate from the EPA. Credit part of that performance to a feature that shuts down engine cylinders when needed; the Corvette's engine often runs in V4 mode when cruising.

In the C8 Corvette vs. GT500, the Mustang wins when it comes to V8 bragging rights. With a supercharged 5.2-liter, the Shelby belts out a ludicrous 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque. It is the heaviest of the three, though — 4,168 pounds in our testing. But that power is so immense that it really doesn't matter; its power-to-weight ratio is 5.5 pounds per hp. Fuel economy? The Shelby checks in at an EPA-estimated 14 mpg combined. And that's optimistic. Under hard use, you'd swear it has a fuel leak.

During our testing and evaluation, the Shelby emptied its entire tank before the Chevy and the Porsche used the first quarter of their tanks. In the Corvette vs. GT500, if fuel economy is your concern, the C8 wins handily. (But let's be real: If you're worried about fuel economy, you've come to the wrong comparison test.)

The 911 has the fewest number of cylinders (six), the lowest weight (3,391 as-tested pounds) and the least power (379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque). It would appear overall outgunned with a power-to-weight ratio of 8.9 pounds per hp. But the driving experience is anything but. Being the lightest and least powerful, it's no surprise the 911 is the most fuel-efficient, boasting a 20 mpg combined EPA estimate. Aiding this figure is a stop-start feature, which shuts the engine off at a stop instead of letting it idle.

2020 Porsche 911.

2020 Porsche 911.

Driving Comparison: Corvette vs. 911 vs. GT500

All three remain livable day-to-day despite their technical differences. A big help is each one's respective dual-clutch automatic transmission. All provide smooth gear changes on the road and crisp shifts when you pin the gas pedal.

At speed, the Corvette shows all the benefits of its mid-engine configuration, offering a neutrality into a turn that allows its driver to control how it comes out. The optional upgraded stability control system also enables novices and intermediate drivers to learn the limits of the car.

The Shelby GT500 is simply hilarious. You exit beaming after driving it hard. It is unrelenting in its charge toward the horizon, as is the V8's soundtrack. The power attracts the headlines, but what's remarkable is that the chassis and suspension allow you to explore that power without concern. The weight and size are obvious, but the Shelby is far from being a knuckle-dragging muscle car.

Driving the 911 quickly is a lesson in why spec charts can only tell you so much. So impressive is the acceleration that you wouldn't normally guess the power deficit between it and the Corvette. The 911 has gobs of traction everywhere, evident by the best-in-group stopping distance and skidpad results. For the driver, these numbers indicate confidence-inspiring stability and control. Also, it's the only car in this group that's still available with a manual — a fact that some would argue makes it the only true sports car here.

2020 Ford Shelby GT500.

2020 Ford Shelby GT500.

Interior Comparison: Corvette vs. GT500 vs. 911

There's division among Edmunds staff on the C8's square steering wheel. It looks weird, sure, but it also doesn't obstruct the gauge cluster. The rest of the interior is driver-focused, which leaves little in the way of interaction for your passenger. The layout, materials and high-resolution screens give a sense of occasion that helps separate the Corvette from the rest of the Chevy lineup. Plus, you can take the roof off.

The Shelby? The money is in the engine and the suspension. There are few nice Shelby-specific touches, but otherwise the interior is overall the same as a regular Mustang's. It's functional and certainly livable, and that's about it.

When you pay a premium, your expectations are set accordingly. Good thing the Porsche 911 delivers. You get high-quality materials and the 911's distinctive cabin layout. The gauge cluster, for example, is simply gorgeous. Alas, most of our drivers found it hard to adjust the steering wheel in such a way that didn't partially block their view of the gauge cluster. Still, in a Porsche vs. Corvette price comparison, you get more features in the Vette, and for less money.

Edmunds Says

Each one of these cars excels in different ways, and the diversity makes it hard to choose which one is most worth your money. In the case of the GT500 vs. C8, we ultimately bought both. So instead of an outright winner of Corvette vs. GT500 or Corvette vs. 911, consider the strengths of each car.

The Corvette pairs stellar on-road and daily commuting behavior with a thrilling sports car driving experience and sophisticated technology. It delivers it all at a bargain price relative to its performance and comfort. For the money, the C8 is impossible to beat.

The GT500 is a truly special Mustang with an I-can't-believe-this-is-real engine. But it's far from a clumsy muscle car. During normal driving it feels like any other Mustang, just with a slightly louder engine and truly dismal fuel economy. If you want bragging rights and acceleration that makes you giggle like a schoolkid, this is the pick.

The Porsche 911 is a dignified and overall excellent sports car. That it can hold its own in lap times and a drag race against the more powerful Corvette is a testament to its vast performance credentials. These qualities do come with a hefty price tag, so you really have to value the concrete and indefinable characteristics that make something feel premium. If you do, the 911 doesn't disappoint.

2020 Ford Shelby GT500.

2020 Ford Shelby GT500.

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