Photos: Courtesy of Corvetteforum.com
Even though the first 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupes have barely hit dealerships around the country, rumors are swirling around the future of the higher performance Corvette Z06. It is pretty much guaranteed that there will be a higher performance Corvette above the basic Stingray and while many expect that it will be the next generation Z06, Car and Driver believes that the next generation Corvette supercar will be called the Z07 and with the new name will come a new powerplant. More importantly, C&D believes that the Corvette Z07 will come around 2016 and it will pack a smaller displacement twin turbocharged V8 that will have an output closer to that of the current Corvette ZR1.
Now, there has been no verification from General Motors that any higher performance version of the new C7 Corvette exists but we all know that sooner or later – there will be a C7 with more than the 455/460 horsepower offered by the 2014 Stingray coupe. Should GM follow the same path as the C6 Corvette, the Z06 would be the next in line followed by the top of the line ZR1. The name Z07 would make sense for the new Corvette considering that this car is in the 7th generation of the fabled American performance car while at the same time, GM might look to differentiate the new Z07 from the previous Z06. The reason for this clear differentiation between the two is that the C7 Z06/Z07 will may go away from the huge 7.0L naturally aspirated V8 from the current C6 Z06 in favor of a new smaller displacement twin turbo V8. Not only will the new Z07 get a vastly different powerplant but it may also pack a ton more power than the current Z06 – with the output climbing up around the 600 horsepower range.
More importantly (for the GM business plan), this smaller displacement twin turbo engine would allow the 2016 Corvette Z07 to offer better fuel economy than the huge 7.0L V8. While most supercar buyers couldn’t care any less about fuel economy, the concern about future CAFÉ fuel economy requirements has all of the automakers scrambling to make sure that they have the best possible fleet measures. Even though the Corvette Z07 would be a low volume model (which means that it has little impact on fleet fuel economy), having a slightly more efficient super-Vette with 600 horsepower is better than having a slightly less efficient super-Vette with 505 horsepower.
If you are wondering if GM has the capacity to offer a small displacement, high performance V8 – the answer is a big “yes”. The Cadillac Elmiraj Concept that debuted recently is powered by a 4.5L twin turbo V8 that offers 500 horsepower so with a little tuning and maybe another half liter of engine volume, that engine could very well be the 600 horsepower heart of the next generation Corvette Z06…or Z07.