Chevrolet has finally unveiled the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The first-ever mid-engined Z06 brings with it a litany of changes, aside from its mid-engined-ness. Obviously, the most notable of those is the distinctly un-Corvette exhaust note. That is brought to us all by another Corvette first: a flat-plane crank V8.
It’s a doozy of an engine, to say the least. Currently, the “LT6” V8 is the most powerful naturally aspirated production V8 in the world.
What is a flat-plane crank?
First, let’s get into the meat of what a flat-plane crank is. Rather, let’s start with what a crankshaft, or crank, is. You can see one pictured above, with some cylinders mated to it. Effectively, the crankshaft is the axis around which the pistons and the rods they’re attached to spin. All internal combustion engines use one.
However, traditionally, a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 has used a cross-plane crank. That means the crank, and the orientation of the rods looks like a “+” when viewed from head-on. A flat-plane crank arranges everything in more of an “I” shape. That also influences the sound of the motor, and it’s why Ferraris have that characteristic shriek where Corvettes get more of a burble.
The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 sounds like hell opening up
And that’s exactly why you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 for a Ferrari if you were blindfolded in the passenger seat. The flat-plane orientation gives the new Corvette that “hell let loose” shriek (which engineers took two years to perfect). However, it also gives numerous performance benefits over a cross-plane unit like the one in the old Z06.
For starters, a flat-plane crankshaft means less weight, simply because there’s less crankshaft to move around. That’s what enables the new car’s lofty 8,600 RPM redline. Because of that higher redline, the engine has more “time” to make more power, resulting in the increase in power to 670 hp. However, the loss of the supercharger from the previous Z06 does mean the new motor is slightly down on torque, at 460 lb-ft.
The Z06’s engine throws away the Corvette rule book
However, we’re not complaining about that. It’s the same philosophy that made the E46 M3’s S54 inline six so popular. Attitudes may have shifted towards more torque-heavy motors in the 16 years since the E46, but we’re happy to see Chevy shake things up. The new motor is a categorically new approach to the Corvette V8 and one that’s sure to yield some exciting aftermarket modifications.
|Pricing||$86,400 MSRP (MotorBiscuit est.)|
|Engine and power||5.5L N/A DOHC V8 “LT6” with flat-plane crank|
670 hp @ 8,400 RPM
460 lb-ft @ 6,300 RPM
Redline: 8,600 RPM
|Transmission||M1L 8-speed dual-clutch (DCT) Automatic|
|Dimensions and weight||184.6 in (L) x 79.7 in (W) x 48.6 in (H)|
|Tire Type & Size||Font: 275/30/R20|
|Features & Safety||Optional Z07 pack with carbon fiber wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes & carbon visual cues|
Standard rear park assist, HD Rear Vision Camera (1LZ), HD front & rear cameras with curb view (2LZ, 3LZ trims), blind-spot monitoring (2LZ, 3LZ trims), rear cross-traffic alert,
Standard heads-up display, rear camera mirror (2LZ, 3LZ trims, standard for convertible)