General Motors’s announcement that the new Corvette Z06 would be packing 650 horsepower doesn’t just make the Corvette the a very fast car; it makes it the fastest car that GM has ever built. We were already clued in that it would produce “more than” 625 horsepower, so it doesn’t come as a complete surprise. That colossal figure is matched with 650 pound-feet of torque, meaning that the Corvette Z06 will have some serious go-power.
It also puts it in the ring with industry heavyweights like the Lamborghini Aventador (700 horsepower), the Ferrari F12 Berlintetta (731 horsepower), and is squarely in line with the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and its 662-pony stable.
“Torque is the pulling power of an engine and the LT4 [engine]’s abundance of it at every rpm in the engine’s speed range helps the 2015 Corvette Z06 accelerate quicker and respond nearly instantaneously,” said Jordan Lee, chief engineer for Small Block engines. “It’s the very definition of power on demand.”
The Z06 is notably powerful because the previous high-performance Corvette, the ZR1, won’t be put into production with the new generation, at least GM has no plans to do so. This makes the Z06 the range-topping car in the Corvette stable, so it’s been made extra-hot to account for the absence of the ZR1.
As far as what to expect for pricing, the outgoing ZR1 went for around $112,000 while the 2013 Z06 ran for about $75,600. With its performance, a price tag north of $100,000 wouldn’t be entirely unexpected, but we’ll find out more prior to its release early next year.
“It’s also worth mentioning that the LT4’s supercar performance numbers are achieved with an engine that is nearly the same size as the very compact LT1 engine introduced in the 2014 Corvette Stingray,” Lee said. “The power density of the LT4 makes it one of the smallest and lightest 650-hp engines in the industry.”
The stats also give the Corvette a slight edge agains the SRT Viper, which yields 640 horsepower from its 8.4 liter V10 engine, and is probably the Z06?s closest competitor in specs and in price. But while the Viper is naturally aspirated, the Z06 has a 1.7 liter supercharger that spins at a max of 20,000 rpm, 5,000 revolutions more than the ZR1. That’s complimented by the Z06?s forged aluminum pistons, stainless steel exhaust manifolds, titanium intake valves, and Rotocast aluminum cylinder heads.
That power will be routed through the driver’s choice of a conventional manual or an eight-speed automatic, a first for any Z06. Impressively, 457 pound-feet of the 650 is available at idle, while 96 percent of the peak figure is on tap as early as 2,800 rpms. This gives the Z06 a fair shot at demolishing 60 miles per hour from a standstill in under 3 seconds, a sort of holy grail for performance cars.
The news about the Z06 is sort of a sideline story this week for GM, though, which on Thursday announced the results of its internal investigation into the major ignition switch recall that took over a decade to be initiated. In case you missed the press briefing, we outlined five of the major takeaways from the event, some of which you can find below. You can read the full article here.
1. Bureaucracy is to blame, not cover-ups
This doesn’t come as a particular surprise, but GM is adamant that there isn’t — or wasn’t — a conspiracy to hide the truth. Instead, it was a pattern of “incompetence and neglect” that led up to the deaths of (at least) thirteen people over the span of (at least) forty-seven accidents stemming from the (at least) 2.59 million recalled vehicles for the faulty ignition switch. Barra described the internal report, which was complied by an external investigator (a certain Anton Valukas, former U.S. attorney), as “extremely thorough, brutally tough, and deeply troubling.”
“Overall the report found that, from start to finish, the Cobalt saga was riddled with failures which led to tragic results for many,” Barra said. The Cobalt was one of the several models recalled for the ignition failure, and represented perhaps the largest slice of the 2.59 million vehicle pie. The company, as illustrated in the report, prioritized “bureaucratic processes” over the well-being and safety of its consumers, she added.
2. There will be a compensation fund set up for victims
Barra acknowledged on Thursday that Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer retained to manage reimbursement claims for victims, will “administer a compensation program for those who have lost loved ones or who have suffered serious physical injuries as the result of an ignition switch failure in recently recalled vehicles,” the company said. Many were unsure whether this fund would be formed or not, given the legal complications with the “Old GM” and “New GM” that imply that the new company formed as a result of the bankruptcy wasn’t responsible for the legal obligations that the old company was on the hook for.