Chevy doesn’t think anyone who buys a new Bolt EV is doing it to rack up autocross trophies, but the development clearly has a lot of confidence in the Bolt’s dynamic capabilities—or at least enough trust that it won’t fall on its face when it comes time to put up or shut up. To see if the Bolt can double as both cone junkie and zero-emission eco friend, we accepted Chevy’s challenge to destroy some front tires and race against the clock.
Just to dial things up a notch, Chevy also brought along to the party a long-dominant autocross benchmark—the Volkswagen GTI Sport. I couldn’t figure out if that was a brave, cocky, or foolish move when I saw the cherry-red hatchback staged among its taller, battery-toting competitors, but it sure piqued my curiosity.
Bolt chief engineer Mike Lelli came right out of the gate, admitting that Chevy new EV was by no means designed for autocross competition. He’s just as quick to point, however, out that the Bolt was designed for driving enjoyment just as much as it was for range and charging speed. On paper, the Bolt does score some points, one being its low center gravity—a consequence of having its battery mounted low below the floor and bolted to the chassis. Plus, all of that juicy, immediate 266 lb-ft of electric torque shoots the Bolt to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, and the car’s lively chassis tuning proved well-mated to the electric powertrain.