The 2023 Corvette Z06 has been testing recently and we can finally hear what it will sound like. The car will be powered a 5.5L flat-plane crankshaft V8 engine, naturally aspirated. So instead of the deep rumble found on American V8s, the next Z06 will have a high pitch V8 sound like some Ferraris of the past decade. The Ferrari 458 Italia in particular used a similar engine configuration, a flat-plane crankshaft (4.5L naturally aspirated V8).
The upcoming Z06 will also use an 8-speed DCT to send the power to the rear wheels, we still don’t know how much power it will be making but it should be well in the 600hp+ range. The race version (C8.R) has the same engine but power is capped at 500hp. A 700hp+ ZR1 will follow later, the engine will have turbocharging to match Ford’s GT500 while a final 1000hp Hybrid model (Zora) will get even more power thanks to an electric motor(s).
European supercars were known to have some of the most exhilarating sounds in the car industry, but EU politicians saw an opportunity to push their agendas further through the car industry and the rest is history. Ferrari had to ditch the N/A V8 after the 458 in favor of a more emission friendly turbocharged V8. As of now, V8s in Europe are dying left and right, car sounds have been reduced to vacuum cleaner territory and the few car makers still fighting in this lost war have been left to create a barrage of hybrids with insane amounts of unusable power outputs to make up for what is truly lacking.
Meanwhile, the North American car industry has always been a couple of years ‘behind’ EU agendas, after all they need to protect their own interests. Even with tough climate laws in states like California, you are still more likely to buy a V8 as your first sports car (or even work truck…jeez) in the US than any other option. Not because Americans are a bunch of climate hating people, but because – and get this right – V8s are still a thing in America.
Many decades ago the American car industry was built around big engines, big V8 engines in almost every automobile. This culture has managed to barricade itself from political influence that comes from across the oceans in Europe, and why would they risk their hard built economy anyway? It really says a lot when everyday work pick-ups are still offered with V8s like its 1969. And even though the US car industry is slowly shifting towards eco motivated cars like hybrids and BEVs, they have such a diverse market and only a hard written “NO” on the law books will stop the success and favor of V8 cars with the same immediate effect as in the EU.
The current gen Corvette C8 is the world’s most affordable supercar, Chevrolet adopted the mid-engine layout famous among European exotic cars while maintaining the favorable pricing strategy that they have used over the years. The price for a 2022 Corvette starts at $62k, that’s still cheaper than some turbo-4 cylinder European hatchbacks with average specs (the A45 S AMG for example). A C8 Corvette with proper specs will cost you around $81k, while a properly spec’d A45 S AMG will cost you over $90k.
Even better, Chevrolet decided to offer the Corvette C8 across 3 RHD markets namely Japan, Australia and the UK. This is not just some niche LHD to RHD conversion job, its a proper GM factory RHD assembly job making it the first official Corvette model to be offered in RHD. Probably has something to do with the success of the Ford Mustang in RHD markets, the S550 Mustang has of course gone to become the best selling sports car in the world and is no longer a North American only product.