Besides the fact that it would debut in Detroit this January, we really didn’t know much about the upcoming 2014 Chevrolet C7 Corvette. Would they head in a new direction with a more fuel-efficient turbo V6 engine? Would it be mid-engined? Would it fly or swim underwater or run on rainbows and smiles?
Forget all that. Chevrolet has released tons of information about the all-new 6.2-liter V8 engine that will power the C7 Corvette, and there is plenty to discern about both the powerplant and the entire car as a whole. Let’s dive right in.
Chevrolet says that the 6.2L V8, codenamed the LT1, will boast an astounding 450 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft of torque in the standard Corvette. That’s a lot of muscle for a base trim, and it makes us wonder what the Z06 and ZR1 versions will look like… but let’s stay on topic. Those numbers may change slightly once the car comes to production, but Chevrolet also expects a 0-60 mph time under four seconds and at least 26 mpg on the highway, which would be the best fuel efficiency rating for any Corvette ever. The new C7 is not messing around.
Chevrolet is well aware of what they’ve accomplished with the LT1 V8 engine, and are even taking shots at their competitors. The press release says that the LT1 is about 40 lbs. lighter than a competitor’s twin-turbo 4.4L V8, which is clearly talking about the 560-horsepower monster in the BMW M5. It’s also four inches shorter, from top to bottom, than that engine, which reveals an interesting caveat about the C7 Corvette as a whole.
Chevrolet says the shorter engine allowed them to drop it for a lower center of gravity, and also allowed them to create a lower hoodline. Corvettes have always been low cars, so expect the C7 Corvette to continue that trend with a small profile that stays stuck to the ground. Combine that with the hints we got when Chevrolet revealed the new logo last week, and you can almost envision a smaller, nimbler, sharper design to the 2014 C7 Corvette.
In many ways, the LT1 is a revolutionary engine for General Motors. It is the first of the new generation of Gen 5 small blocks, plus the first Corvette engine to ever feature direct injection and active fuel management (AFM). Also armed with continuously variable valve timing (CVVT), GM selected all three of those technologies to achieve their ultimate goal: improve combustion for better performance and efficiency.
The result is pretty impressive. Direct injection creates a cooler combustion chamber, and the CVVT is tuned to support it even further, which makes it possible to boost the compression ratio all the way to 11:5.1 and cut hydrocarbon emissions by 25%. Under light driving, the AFM will shut down four of the eight cylinders to save fuel, and they will kick back up the second you find the gas pedal.
Inside, there are all kinds of technological goodies. The intake ports are shaped with a slight twist, so when the sculpted pistons run through them it enhances mixture motion. The spark plugs protrude farther into the chamber, putting the electrode closer to the center of combustion for quicker response. The oil pan and cylinder block are all-aluminum to save weight, the intake manifold uses “runners in a box” like the Mustang Boss 302, and a four-in-one exhaust manifold provides more direct power like the Mazda SKYACTIV-G. Best Corvette engine ever? Shoot, this might be the most advanced engine on the market right now.
Quicker, lighter, faster and more efficient. In a time where automakers are switching to small turbo engines to combine power and efficiency, Chevrolet accomplished exactly what they wanted with a whopping 6.2L V8 – in the process, the LT1 engine establishes a new precedent for General Motors and sports cars everywhere. This is an exciting time for the auto industry; when you can make engines that are not just slight improvements in some areas but significantly better in every single aspect. We can’t wait to see what the total package looks like, and what this means for the future.
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