It’s becoming clearer now how Chevrolet will be able to offer a double-overhead-cam V-8 engine option for its tradition-defying, all-new mid-engine Corvette, code-named Y2: It appears to be the old economies of scale equation.
Cadillac just unveiled a low-volume DOHC V-8 of its own, a hand-built 4.2-liter twin-turbo mill. Although we don’t yet know exactly how the Cadillac V-8 and the Y2 ’Vette’s upcoming 5.5-liter V-8 are connected, both will come from the same engine shop next to the Corvette’s longtime assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Traditionalists who are less than thrilled about the new Corvette’s configuration need not abandon all hope for the eighth-generation model. The tried and true Chevy small-block will remain as the mid-engine Y2’s base engine, so purists will still be able to enjoy a lumpy OHV idle bursting into howling cacophony—despite the noise now being behind their heads. Bolstered by the same gas guzzler tax-defying Dynamic Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) system that will also propel versions of the next Silverado into the 2020s, the modernized small-block will help keep the Y2’s base price near the current C7 Corvette’s roughly $57,000.
That “base” LT1 is expected to make around 500 horsepower, with the optional 5.5-liter DOHC V-8 punching up to 600-plus horsepower with an 8,000-plus-rpm redline. At the top of the range will be a twin-turbo version of the 5.5-liter making some 800 horses, as well as an E-Ray performance hybrid that will add electric motors powering the front wheels for a grand total of about 1,000 Secretariats. If you crave three-pedal, full-manual control, better get the C7 now, as the Y2 will be available only with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic developed in cooperation with Tremec.
Our previously predicted unveil date for the Y2 at the 2018 Detroit auto show proved a tad optimistic; we now expect it to debut at the 2019 Detroit show in January.
There will be some overlap production of C7 and Y2, with the last of the C7 line being the fantastic ZR1, our August 2018 issue cover star, which is powered by a wicked 6.2-liter supercharged LT5 rated at 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque and mated to either a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.
On a more blue-collar note, the 2019 Camaro gets slightly more bitchin’, with a distinctive front and rear fascia refresh and LEDs all over the place. The 1LE suspension option package is now available for the 275-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four.
Helping to pay for all this performance car folderol is the new Blazer sport utility on the short-wheelbase version of the C1XX transverse-engine unibody platform. The new Blazer will not be a competitor for the new Ford Bronco, and there have even been rumors that Chevrolet had considered a last-minute name change in order to tamp down that expectation.
Instead, the new Blazer will essentially be a two-row version of the Traverse, playing Ford Edge to Traverse’s three-row Explorer. Expect front- or all-wheel-drive options, with 2.0-liter turbo-four and 3.6-liter V-6 engine choices.
Corvette Y2: Mid-2019
Corvette ZR1: Now
Y2: $60,000 (est)
Camaro: $26,000 (est)
Blazer: $30,000 (est)