Last week, we hit you with the news that GM might have a Ford GT battling ZR1 model in the works. As we stated, this is merely unconfirmed an rumor; according to the source, however, we can expect to see it debuted at the LA Auto Show in mid-November of this year.
But unconfirmed or not, the thought of any Corvette ditching its signature V8 is unsettling. After a nearly two-month hiatus, talk of a mid-engine (let alone a V6) Corvette model has the community once again aflutter with ideas, theories and – more than anything – opinions.In the interest of keeping our paper-trail of rumors as current and comprehensive as possible, we present to you yet another product of the rumor mill’s ever-faithful churning. However, unlike the aforementioned gossip, this new rumor appears to be beyond simple theory and speculation.
Last Friday, around the same time that we brought you the news of a possible twin-turbo V6 ZR1, Car and Driver let loose some game-changing info they received from their source on the inside. According to the source, it’s basically a done deal: the C8 Corvette will undoubtedly be mid-engined – carrying a roughly 500-horsepower variation of the modern LT engine – and, following its debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January 2018, will officially take over for the rear-engined C7 at a sticker price around $80,000.
Along with this push-rod-powered ‘Vette, the source also reported that the 2018 NAIAS will see the debut of a brand-new quad-cam, 32-valve V8 engine from GM. Whether this new mill will take the place of the previous-generation LT-based engine or simply power a higher-performance C8 model is unclear, but the source claims a price of beyond $100,000 for Corvettes equipped with it.While it may seem that this new dual overhead-camshaft motor would be intended as a direct competitor for Ford’s 5.0-liter Coyote, recall that the C4 ZR1 also had a four-camshaft small-block in the form of the LT5 engine. Back in 2013, GM reapplied for the trademark of this “LT5” name, giving us serious reason to believe that this dual overhead-camshaft powerplant could be heading our way.
As for the proposed twin-turbo V6 ZR1, Car and Driver’s source gives the hearsay a bit of credibility – claiming that an ultra-performance model (potentially named a ZR1) will see the limelight at the 2017 NAIAS, giving the C7 a bang to go out with before being overtaken by the C8. There was no word about propulsion, but the mention of a new four-camshaft engine (paired with a trademark of the “LT5” name) clearly points to a any C7 ZR1 being a true tribute model to the original “King of the Hill”.
This would also justify the midship placement of the car’s engine. The original C4 ZR1 was very seriously focused on handling capabilities; GM did not want the car to share the traditional muscle car’s lack-luster cornering performance. A rear mounted engine (paired with a mastered LT5 powerplant) would open the door to simply mind-blowing track performance, even beyond the incredible performance of the latest, track-destroying C7.
We’d like to think that this news more or less rules out any possibility of GM soiling the Corvette’s consistency with a V6. However, if you’re against anything other than all-conquering, all-American V8 engines powering America’s sports car like they have full-time since 1955, you’re not out of the water just yet. Along with a mid-engined C8, Coyote-competing dual overhead-cam V8, and potential C7 ZR1, the inside source also spilled the beans about an “E-Ray” Corvette which we could be seeing by 2020. Like with the name “LT5”, GM filed to trademark the “E-Ray” name at the end of last year, thus giving this leak credibility as well.This ‘E-Ray” Corvette, according to the source, would be a hybrid vehicle with electric front-wheel drive. As far as the “hybrid” part of that equation, we can only speculate. Perhaps, the electric front wheel-drive would handle the low-demand driving duties, and a gasoline engine would kick in to power the rear wheels under greater demand from the driver. Or, perhaps the “E-Ray” would be directly driven by a gasoline engine and utilize a KERS system (kinetic energy recovery system) similar to the Xtrac used in Formula 1 or the flywheel-based KERS used in the Porsche 918 RSR, giving it a little more oomph during acceleration.
These rumors imply that the C7 will be the last front-engined, RWD Corvette! We suspect the Camaro, now LT powered with a state-of-the-art chassis, is being groomed to be become Chevrolet’s traditional performance car with the ‘Vette bumped up to supercar status. So, old school sports car guys would have a very capable 4-seat Corvette to choose from (the Sixth Gen Camaro) and a new era, high-end performance guys would have a mid-engined super car to move up to.
Finally, there are an awful lot of changes in store for our beloved Corvette in the next few years. It’s a lot to take in, but if all of these rumors prove to be true, the ‘Vette will be a radically different car by the time it reaches it’s next generation.
What are your thoughts and opinions on these latest bombshells, especially since they’re coming from a reportedly “impeccable” inside source? Are you looking forward to a potential four-cam V8, mid-engine Corvette? What about the “E-Ray” concept – how do you feel about a hybrid Corvette? Tell us what you think in the comments below.