Here's Everything We Know About a Mid-Engine Corvette
A fresh set of blurry spy photos popped up yesterday, claiming to confirm the existence of a mid-engine Corvette.
The photos were taken from a long distance, but they show off a large opening just behind the rear seats, exactly where the engine would go. You can also see that entire stance of the car is different from the current Corvette, with larger haunches and a lower front end.
Though spy photographers are constantly prowling GM’s Milford proving grounds, this is the first time this prototype has been caught during daylight hours. So GM must be up to something top secret, right?
So what exactly do we know about the supposed new Ford GT-fighter coming from Chevrolet? Well, no details have been confirmed at this point, but plenty of speculation and insider leaks have given us a decent picture of what we can expect from Chevy’s new supercar. If it exists, that is.
V8 Remains, but V6s are Coming Too
According to a report from Car and Driver citing inside sources, the new Corvette will still use a version of today’s 6.2-liter V8. There’s a good chance that it will be a supercharged V8 like the one powering today’s Corvette Z06, but we can expect power to climb from the current 650 horsepower.
Besides a big V8 option, a new turbocharged V6 is also very likely to be available for the car.
The Everlasting Rumor
Rumors of a mid-engine Corvette have existed since the 19790s when Zora Arkus-Duntov, known as the father of the Corvette, and his team at GM built a mid-engine experimental car called the CERV I. It was used as a test bed for both lightweight materials and for the mid-engine layout.
This led many to believe that GM was developing a production version of the Corvette with an engine that sits behind the driver, but over the years, the rumors came and went and the car never happened.
If it does arrive, many speculate that GM will call the car the Zora, named after the Corvette creator himself. GM even trademarked the name ‘Zora’ in 2014, so the name is ready if Chevy wants it.
New Investment Fuels Rumors
GM announced a large $250-million investment into its Bowling Green, Kentucky, assembly plant, where the Corvette is built, for “technology upgrades and manufacturing process improvements.” No other details were offered.
The current C7 Corvette is three years into its lifecycle, so a new model now seems unlikely. These upgrades could be to accommodate a refresh for the Corvette, but many believe that Chevy is gearing up to build the new mid-engine model.
To accommodate the mid-engine layout and to make it unique, the mid-engine Corvette will have a new design. A glass cover over the rear engine, like the ones found on Italian supercars, is said to be in the works. Flying buttresses in the C-pillar area can also be seen in the spy photos.
Overall, the proportions of the car seem to be slightly smaller than the standard C7 Corvette.
Why a mid-engine Corvette? According to sources inside GM, the current Corvette is totally tapped out when it comes to performance. With 650 hp sent to the rear wheels, today’s Corvette Z06 is a serious machine, but adding more power won’t result in faster lap times, just more shredded tires.
By going the mid-engine route, it opens up a lot of options for increasing performance.
At the running of the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Ford GT beat the Corvette racing team by a healthy margin, leaving the folks at Chevy hungry for more performance. That rivalry is also surely driving Chevy to develop this car.
What Will it Cost?
According to the report from Car and Driver, the car will be positioned at the top of the range and cost about $150,000.
But if the structure does follow the Ford GT closely, than the car’s price tag could reach all the way up to the $400,000 mark.
It Could be a Cadillac
Some corners of the internet are speculating that GM may actually launch its new mid-engine model with a Cadillac badge on the hood. It is argued that the high price tag would make it fit better as a Cadillac, while that brand could use a halo model now more than ever as it tries to reinvent itself.
Although Chevy is already testing the car, a public debut isn’t said to be happening until early 2018 at the Detroit Auto Show. Until then, I’m sure we’ll have plenty more rumors to write about.
Discuss this story at our Chevy Corvette Forum
Stephen covers all of the day-to-day events of the industry as the News Editor at AutoGuide, along with being the AG truck expert. His truck knowledge comes from working long days on the woodlot with pickups and driving straight trucks professionally. When not at his desk, Steve can be found playing his bass or riding his snowmobile or Sea-Doo. Find Stephen on <A title="@Selmer07 on Twitter" href="http://www.twitter.com/selmer07">Twitter</A> and <A title="Stephen on Google+" href="http://plus.google.com/117833131531784822251?rel=author">Google+</A>
More by Stephen Elmer