Chevrolet has a new high-performance hero: the next generation Corvette Z06 has an all-new direct-injection supercharged V8 with a mind-boggling 625 horsepower or 466kW, and the option of a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Significantly, the new Z06 has more torque than the previous king of the Corvettes, the ZR1 (also powered by a supercharged 6.2-litre V8, but an older design), which was the fastest Corvette of all time when launched in 2009.
Torque is the measure of an engine’s ability to overcome resistance. For the tech heads these numbers mean pure magic: the new Z06 has 861 Nm versus 819Nm for the ZR1.
Chevrolet is yet to publish performance times for the new Z06 but the previous ZR1 can reach the speed limit in a Ferrari-like 3.1 seconds and has a top speed of 330km/h.
The only clue the company will give about performance is to say that the new Z06 laps faster than the previous ZR1. And to think the next generation ZR1 is still to be developed...
Australian performance-car fans waiting for the new Z06’s epic engine -- an all-new direct injection supercharged 6.2-litre V8 called the LT4 -- to arrive under the bonnet of a Holden Special Vehicles GTS will be waiting in vain.
Although previous Corvette and Camaro engines have found their way in HSV cars -- including the awesome LSA supercharged 6.2-litre V8 used in the GTS, Australia’s fastest and most powerful car of all time -- Carsguide understands there are no plans to fit the new LT4 to the Commodore.
The cost to develop and adapt the LT4 for the Commodore would be too expensive at this stage of the car’s lifecycle, especially as it is due to end production in 2017, say GM insiders.
Australians will just have to admire from afar, unless former Holden boss Mark Reuss gets his wish for all GM models to be available in right-hand-drive in future.
Mr Reuss, who is now in charge of all global vehicles at General Motors, told Australian media at the Detroit motor show: “On all our products going forward we’re going to try and do right-hand-drive.”
Mr Reuss would not speculate which cars in the Chevrolet line-up would make it to Australia, but vehicles that are built in left-hand-drive only for now include the iconic Camaro and Corvette sports cars, and the range of Chevrolet full-size pick-ups and SUVs.
At last year’s Detroit motor show, the then boss of General Motors, Dan Akerson, told Carsguide the new Corvette would be made in right-hand-drive for the first time in 50 years.
But less than 24 hours later the company made a U-turn on the comments, with GM’s second-in-charge Tim Lee telling News Corp Australia:
“I have no idea what [General Motors CEO Dan Akerson] said but we have no plan to put a right-hand-drive under that bonnet. The Corvette is a Chevrolet, it’s not a Holden, it never will be, next question.”
When pressed on how the boss of the company could get such a key fact wrong during a media presentation, Mr Lee said: “We can spend the entire 20 minutes talking about this. This is a non-story from my point of view. You can write what you want to write, I really don’t give a shit. But it is not in the mainstream plan.”
In the meantime, GM is understandably proud of its new Ferrari-challenger. “The new Z06 delivers levels of performance, technology and design that rival the most exotisupercars in the world,” Mr Reuss said in a media statement.
“The Z06 leverages the engineering expertise of GM, offering the choice of two world-class transmissions (and) supercar performance without supercar fuel consumption.”
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling
Corvette Z06: fast facts
Price: $US80,000 (estimated)
Engine: Supercharged 6.2-litre direct injection V8 (LT4)
Power: 466kW and 861Nm (compared to 476kW and 819Nm in the ZR1)
Transmission: Seven-speed manual, eight-speed automatic.
On sale: Late 2015 (US only)