We try to imagine what was hiding behind the camouflage of the prototype spied last month.
While it’s working on the ultimate Corvette C7, the ZR1, Chevrolet is also preparing the all-new C8 model set to bring a radical change: a mid-engine layout. Codenamed “Emperor,” the new ‘Vette has already been caught on camera several times revealing its new silhouette with a shorter front and an elongated rear section to accommodate the engine.
The prototype spotted more than a month ago had a significant amount of disguise obscuring the design, but it did allow us to see the sleeker side profile brought by the different placement of the engine. The sloped roofline will lend the Corvette C8 a more aggressive appearance worthy of a full-blown supercar, one with wider fenders while staying true to the model’s roots by carrying over the quad taillight setup.
It is believed power will come from a brand new “LT5” biturbo V8 engine shared with the aforementioned Corvette C7 ZR1 where it’s expected to develop in excess of 700 horsepower. If the rumor pans out, it means the new engine is going to be at least 50 hp stronger than the LT4 supercharged 6.2-litre V8 inside the Corvette Z06.
In the next-gen Corvette, the engine will allegedly work only with a newly developed seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission since it is believed Chevy doesn’t have plans to sell the C8 with a manual transmission to the disappointment of purists. Besides making the switch to a mid-engine layout and going DCT-only, the new Corvette is also expected to take advantage of active aero bits to further improve performance.
The mid-engine C8 will allegedly receive its world premiere at 2018 NAIAS and go on sale several months later as a 2019MY. Some say the C7 and C8 will peacefully coexist for several years, with sources close to the matter cited by The Detroit News specifying that only the Grand Sport and Z06 models of the C7 generation will solider on until 2021.
Meanwhile, Chevy is slated to introduce the C7-based Corvette ZR1 as soon as January at the Detroit Auto Show.