A mid-engine Corvette has been cycled through the rumor mill more times than that stripper rumored to go all the way for just an extra five bucks. The scribes over at Car and Driver say they have surmised that the next-gen Vette will have to be a mid-engine American supercar because the current C7 is tapped out of all the power it can produce.
According to the Ann Arbor based rag, Mark Reuss, GM’s head of global product development, has let slip that the company is already working on the next GM halo car. Sources close to the magazine say the next car will be revolutionary, as opposed to the evolutionary design found in the relatively new C7 offering.
Sitting atop the rumored C8 lineup is said to be the Zora ZR1, named after Zora Arkus-Duntov who has been christened the "Father of the Corvette.” The car will allegedly emerge as a 2017 low-volume model with new, mid-engine architecture. By 2020, all Corvettes, even the base of the base offering, will allegedly be sporting an engine in the middle.
While speculating about engine offerings is vastly premature—not the only thing we’ve done prematurely, mind you—expect Chevy’s small-block V-8 to soldier on uninhibited. However, there is the stark reality that fuel economy regulations are only going to get more stringent, so it should not be a surprise that we see boosted V-6’s powering Corvettes in the future.
Think about the engine in the Cadillac CTS Vsport, which has a 420-horsepower, twin-turbocharged sixer under the hood. That Caddy weighs almost 4,000 pounds and can still hustle to 60 in about 4.6 seconds—not bad, grandpa. Car and Driver opines that there will initially be only one transaxle choice and it won’t be a manual, but a dual-clutch automatic. The magazine reports that 65 percent of new Stingray deliveries are with the automatic transmission—so weep appropriately.
With the engine taking a seat out back, the seating position can be lower. Improved sightlines out the front of the car will somewhat make up for the obstructed rearward view. Expect other techno-goodies to infiltrate the center console. Exterior expectations include even more carbon fiber, which is already extensively used in the top-end Z06 offering. With the new weight distribution, expect new wheel and tire sizes to compensate for the new design.
While any chance of a true mid-engine Corvette is still years away, we can dream. Rumors of such projects have percolated before, only to be killed off by management at General Motors. We hope things continue to look up for the company, because we want our damn mid-engine Vette.