July 19 (UPI) -- For the first time in history, Chevrolet has unveiled a version of its Corvette with the engine placed in the middle of its body.
The automaker revealed the 2020 Corvette Stingray late Thursday in its large hangars in Tustin, Calif., about 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
The new 495-horsepower 'Vette puts the engine behind the driver, taking cues from Ferrari and other European automakers, General Motors said. The engine shift is designed to give the legendary sports car greater agility.
The eighth-generation Corvette also puts the driver about a foot closer to the nose, and Chevrolet said its 6.2-liter V-8 can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds. It produces 40 more horsepower than the seventh-generation version.
"The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating a new layout," GM President Mark Reuss said. "In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history."
Chevrolet said buyers can design and customize the car online, from the ground up.
"We want to be able to show customers what their ideal Corvette will look like before they order it," said Chevrolet passenger and crossover marketing director Steve Majores.
Chevy's new Corvette will tour 125 dealerships nationwide, beginning later this month.
The first Corvette rolled off the assembly line in 1953 and has become one of the most recognizable cars in the world.
Ford Motor Company and racing firm Roush also made a splash in the sports car market this week -- showing off a 710-horsepower "Old Crow" Mustang, themed on a P-51 fighter plane that flew during World War II. It will be auctioned July 25.