Next Corvette: Split Rear Window? Yes. Hybrid Power? Maybe

Posted: September 22, 2009

The next Chevrolet Corvette, set to appear in the 2012 model year, will bring back styling cues from classic ‘Vettes of the 1960's...and, perhaps, a 21st century low-emissions powertrain.

Edmunds Inside Line reports, "The next Chevrolet Corvette, referred to as C7 internally, will follow the 2010 Camaro down the road of retro-inflected styling, according to Ed Welburn, General Motors' head of global design." Wellburn told Edmunds that the split window, seen only on the 1963 ‘Vette but still an iconic Corvette touch in the minds of many fans, will make its return in the seventh-generation car. "With the back-up cameras and blind-spot detection systems that we have these days, the visibility issue is much less of a problem," Wellburn said.

Building a ‘Vette with classic styling cues was, apparently, not always a certainty. Inside Line reports, "after lengthy testing of midengine cars, discussion and, predictably, arguments about the possibility of going midengine with the future Vette," designers retained the classic front-engine/rear-drive layout.

Some things about the Corvette will have to change. Motor Authority reports, "the Corvette will also have to become somewhat more emissions-conscious thanks to new standards being implemented by the federal government. GM won't let that sap the car's legendary performance, however, vowing to do whatever it takes, including going hybrid, to keep the Vette alive and kicking."

A hybrid ‘Vette is far from certain. Autoblog reports, "For now GM thinks they have a good enough plan to keep the Corvette electron-free. Until a hybrid is the only option, expect future 'Vettes to be made lighter, and equipped with low rolling resistance tires, direct injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation to make them more fuel frugal. Even electric power steering can boost mileage by half a gallon."

Another possibility, Motor Authority notes, is "reduced displacement forced-induction V-8 engine not unlike the LSA fitted to the current CTS-V. Rated at 556 horsepower, that engine would be no slouch for even the Z06 application in the Corvette range."

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