It seems like only yesterday we were discussing how the shift in focus away from large-displacement V8s would affect the Corvette brand... and now it looks like we may have our answer.
According to Yahoo Autos, the C7 Corvette will use a high-revving, small-displacement powertrain only slightly larger than 3 liters. This European-style V8 will also be turbocharged and have an output in the range of 400hp, which will give it a substantial HP-to-liter ratio. Per Yahoo Autos:
GM has approved the use of a very European-style V-8 that will be only slightly larger than 3 liters in displacement. The engine will be an overhead-cam, rather than traditional overhead-valve design, using a dry sump oil system that’s particularly well suited to high-performance road courses rather than straight-line acceleration. The engine is expected to feature a narrow 80.5 mm bore and a long stroke, more like a Ferrari or Lamborghini powertrain than the approach used for traditional Motor City metal.
A very senior GM executive also confirmed that the new engine will be turbocharged, which will help yield a broad torque curve and maximum performance under a variety of driving conditions. The engine is expected to deliver in excess of 400 horsepower, which means a specific output in the range of 125 horsepower per liter. That’s the sort of number that would help the next-generation Vette stack up well against the likes of a Porsche 911 or Lamborghini Gallardo.
The engine is likely to be extremely high-revving, perhaps climbing to a near-Formula One-class 10,000 RPMs, suggested one source involved in the project.
But fear not, old-school Vette fans: the C7 will still offer a classic big-block OHV V8 engine as an available option. Personally, this is the engine that I'd go for, simply for the sound and feel. But it will be interesting to see the reaction from the Corvette Community on this. I imagine it will be split - the new-school fans will praise the evolution, while the old-schoolers won't want anything remotely "European" to come anywhere near the Corvette brand.
I probably fall somewhere in the middle. As long as there is still a classic large-displacement V8 option, I'm all for it. This kind of shift in engine philosophy has happened before, but never to a brand as big as the Corvette.
GM is investing $131 million in the Bowling Green plant to prepare for the arrival of the C7 Corvette. This is without a doubt the biggest turning point the historic car has faced in its modern history - will it be a revolution, or a disappointment?
Bob, what if the new engine increased the performance of a Z06/ZR1? If the horsepower-to-liter ratio was good enough, and it actually made those two elite Vettes perform better (even with a lower HP count), would you be in favor of a "European-style" engine, or would it still seem a little weird?
Bob Himes said:
Anything other than a V8 (nothing else has the sound of a V8) would be the end of the brand as we know it, so keeping a V8 is a must. If a turbo engine were an option and the LS3 was still available, that would be ideal. The Z06 and ZR1 need to keep the horsepower and performance they have or even a little more, otherwise their volume would be highly impacted.
I've never driven a car with this type of engine, but if its like an Indy car engine, I wouldn't like it. Corvettes have always had the low end torque which I prefer. Most corvettes are driven like ordinary cars most of the time, thats the neat feature about them, they are confortable, powerful and affordable. Any changes to that forumla will in my opinion hurt sales and the desirability of the car.