There are all manner of rumors concerning the next-generation C7 Chevrolet Corvette, with stories ranging from the possibility of a mid-engined platform to AWD powertrains and even the arrival of a dual-clutch version. Although there isn’t much substance to any of these rumors, an inside source has revealed to MotorAuthority.com that the new car will arrive in time for the 2013 model year. This puts its likely release date sometime in late 2012.
While there have been reports that development on the C7 Corvette had been put on hold indefinitely due to GM’s critical financial situation, two top level executives have previously commented on the project, suggesting that it is ongoing. In fact, GM is drawing on a global design team to get the lines of the new 'Vette right, and there's even talk about the 440-horsepower, 5.5-liter V-8 version of the next-gen GM small block that may lie under the hood. Assuming the Corvette says front-engined and draws its inspiration from the Stingray Concept (we think both are very likely), these renderings give us a good idea of what to expect.
Previous Corvette vehicle-line executive Tom Wallace has stated that GM was working on a future Corvette and that some changes to the current model are coming soon. He also acknowledged that CAFE regulations will play a role in determining the layout and hardware of the next-generation Corvette but stressed that it won’t kill the car. Unfortunately, Wallace’s retirement last year has lessened the credibility of his comments.
However, Ed Welburn, GM's product design head, has also revealed that the next ‘Vette will get a split rear window along with some other vintage styling cues.
This computer generated rendering gives us a preview of a possible design direction GM could take for its next Corvette, suggesting that the 50th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept seen in the movie Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen could be the inspiration for the car. Some of the elements carried over from the concept include the egg-crate grille, vertical slat headlights, side vents, and the jet-fighter glasshouse.
On the rumor side of things, a smaller, forced induction engine--most likely a supercharger, like the one found on the CTS-V's LSA, not the ZR1's 638-horsepower LS9--is possible to help the car meet fuel economy targets. A dual-clutch gearbox has also been talked about, and would be the next logical step in keeping pace with the likes of Porsche's 911 and Nissan's GT-R.
Like the C6, which was an iterative development of the C5 before it, the C7 will likely be an incremental improvement and redesign of the already proven and fantastic Corvette platform. Don't expect anything radical, but do expect a seriously impressive performance package. The one caveat will be keeping an eye on price as more high-tech elements, materials and machinery get added to the car.
Expect to see more of the car in the coming year or two as Corvette engineers begin to roll out test mules and prototypes, and you can be sure MotorAuthority.com will be there to bring the latest all along the way.