When the 2009 Corvette ZR1 was released with its supercharged LS9 V8, the masses stood up and cheered. It pumped out 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque and took the big Vette onto a top speed of 205 mph. When I think of superchargers my brain instantly conjures up images of blown big block drag cars or wild eyed street cars like the Last Interceptor from the Mad Max movies or Vin Diesels 1970 Dodge Charger from The Fast and the Furious. Turbocharged cars remind me of small displacement front wheel drive imports with massive fart can mufflers and pillar mounted gauge clusters that in the end, are more show than go. I suppose this is why I was a bit taken back a bit when The Detroit Bureau reported that the next generation C7 Corvette was going to feature a small displacement turbo charged V8. I thought turbos didn’t go on fire breathing American muscle cars… or do they?
It appears that GM has recently approved plans for a 3.+ liter turbo V8 engine that will feature an overhead cam, dry sump oiling system and very narrow bore. This will make the engine more suited to full-on road course work than flat out straight line speed and help it compete with the likes of Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari. Expected horsepower projections say that the engine will make over 400 hp, with the red line being somewhere near the 10,000 rpm mark. Rest assured though GM is not ditching the “no replacement for displacement” philosophy as they will also offer buyers a big-block OHV V8 alternative. The fact of the matter is that GM knows that the Corvette has to evolve in order to survive in this ever changing world of small displacement, high-efficiency engines and the C7 is going to be the first Vette in history to do so.