Mid-Engine Corvette ZR1 To Bow In 2017, Cost US$150k


Work has commenced on the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette, the C8, and word on the street is that the car will ride on a new mid-engine platform under development at General Motors Company [NYSE:GM]. While the C8 isn’t due until the end of the decade, a car riding on its platform may appear much sooner than that.

No, we’re not talking about the new sports car recently hinted at by Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen, although it is a distinct possibility Cadillac may eventually launch a car based on the new mid-engine platform. No, we’re talking about a new generation of the Corvette ZR1, which Car and Driver reports may be launched as early as the 2017 model year and sport a price tag of around $150,000.

This means that while it’s technically a C8, the new ZR1 will be sold alongside the current C7 Corvette for its first years on the market. Eventually, the C7 Corvette will be replaced by the new C8 Corvette, with all the variants being based on the mid-engine platform. Yes, even the base ‘Vette.

The reason for the platform’s quick gestation is because GM reportedly started working on a mid-engine Corvette prior to its bankruptcy in 2009, and current Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter is said to be one of the key people involved in the original project. We also hear that the basis for the new platform will be the C7 Corvette’s aluminum spaceframe structure rather than a completely all-new design.

But why rock the boat with such a dramatic change to the Corvette formula? Apparently the front engine, rear-wheel-drive layout is reaching its limits in cars like the 2015 Corvette Z06. Also, the Alpha-based 2016 Camaro may end up lighter than the C7 Corvette, giving it the performance edge over its bigger brother. Thus, to help separate future Corvettes from the Camaro, including the next ZR1, a more exotic design will be required. This change will also help the C8 Corvette become a semi-exotic halo model for Chevrolet worldwide, a bit like the NSX for Acura/Honda and the R8 for Audi.

A small-block V-8 will remain the powertrain of choice for the new ZR1—it’s an exotic but not that kind of exotic—and there’s a strong possibility it will come with a single transmission: a seven-speed dual-clutch. By the time regular C8 Corvettes arrive, however, a manual transmission should also be available. We could also see thenew ZR1 adopt hybrid technology to ensure it can keep up in the technology stakes against its German and Japanese rivals.

Finally, the Zora name should feature in the new ZR1’s full title. The usage would serve as a tribute to Corvette father Zora Arkus-Duntov, a huge fan of the mid-engine layout, and we know GM recently trademarked it.


Full Article: http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1094645_mid-engine-corvette-zr1-to-bow-in-2017-cost-150k-report

Credit: Motor Authority