After promising at least 625hp since it was shown to media in December of last year, Chevrolet has been tight-lipped regarding the actual power output of the supercharged 6.2L LT4 that lives under the carbon fiber hood of the 2015 Corvette Z06. Today, Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Jeuchter announced at an SAE conference that the engine produces an SAE-certified 650hp at 6,400rpm and a peak of 650lb-ft of torque at 3,600rpm, a significant step up from the 460hp LT1 engine in the Stingray. In case you've forgotten, that's more powerful than the SAE-certified 638hp from the LS9 in the previous range-topping C6 Corvette ZR1.
650 is an Awfully Round NumberThe 650hp certification makes the all-new 2015 Corvette Z06 the most powerful production car in Chevrolet's history, and puts it into rare territory among high-powered supercars. Chevrolet points out that unlike other supercar engines, the LT4 has power available practically everywhere in the engine's range, producing 457 lb-ft just off idle and 625 lb-ft by only 2,800 rpm. Like the C7 Stingray's LT1 engine, the LT4 is direct injected which improves both efficiency and emissions. Thanks to an efficient 1.7L supercharger that is able to spin 33% faster than the 2.3L supercharger on the C6 ZR1's LS9, the LT4 is able to build boost sooner and still maintain an incredibly broad power band. What we found interesting is that the engine doesn't seem to stop making power even at its 6,400rpm peak. We learned that, again like LT1, the LT4's fuel cutoff is at 6,600rpm, so while it has been certified to make 650hp at 6,400rpm, that's not to say it doesn't make a few more before the supercharger runs out of steam and the fuel stops flowing.
In the Company of Exotics The 2015 Corvette Z06 and its 650hp puts it among the top 10 most powerful cars for sale in the US for 2015, and only 1hp down on the Ferrari FF. There's a lot of European carbon fiber on that list, and surely Chevrolet would have loved to move one up one more spot among the exotics, so we spoke with Tom Read at GM Powertrain Communications. It turns out that GM wasn't too worried about the Ferrari ranking because, like many manufacturers, Ferrari doesn't get its engines [URL="http://www.sae.org/certifiedpower/data/"]SAE certified. Tom didn't technically say that Ferrari is a bunch of dirty rotten liars, actually he didn't even imply it in the slightest. But we will. Also worth noting is that the Viper is about to get some company on that list when the [URL="http://www.hotrod.com/news/the_2015_challenger_hellcat_and_corvette_z06_a_game_of_horsepower_hold_em/"]Hellcat's horsepower is announced, adding one more V8 with a supercharger and leaving only one Lamborghini on the chart. Before anyone asks, the Bugatti Veyron and Shelby GT500 are no longer in production.
Power:Weight Trumps HP/LBecause it caries its 1.7L supercharger low in the lifter valley, the LT4 in the 2015 Corvette Z06 is only about an inch taller than the compact LT1 engine in the C7 Stingray. That allows the Z06 to make a lot of power from a small total volume, which has been a hallmark of Chevrolet small-block V8s from the 265 through the LS engines that debuted in the C5 Corvette. Jordan Lee, chief engineer for Small Block engines, notes that, “The power density of the LT4 makes it one of the smallest and lightest 650-hp engines in the industry." Long live pushrods! To cope with the added cylinder pressure and power output, the LT4 was equipped with the following features that build on the already robust LT1 engine:
Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads that are stronger and handle heat better than conventional aluminum heads
Lightweight titanium intake valves (The LS7 also used titanium valves)
Machined, forged powder metal steel connecting rods for reduced reciprocating mass
High 10.0:1 compression ratio - for a forced-induction engine – for enhanced performance and efficiency
Forged aluminum pistons with unique, stronger structure to ensure strength under high cylinder pressures
Stainless steel exhaust manifolds and an aluminum balancer that are lighter than their LT1 counterparts
Standard dry-sump oiling system with a dual-pressure-control oil pump.
Bring on the Crate Engines
If you're anything like us, you're already seeing the engine bays where an LT4 could be bolted in. Although they haven't been swapped into anything yet, we all know that LT engines are very similar to LS engines, and those can go just about anywhere. So how long will it be before we see LT4 crate engines? Chevrolet has already announced that the LT1 engine from the C7 Corvette Stingray will be available as crate engines from Chevrolet Performance, expect to see an update at SEMA 2014. Because LS9s from the C6 ZR1 have been available as crate engines for years, it can't be long before the 2015 Corvette Z06 follows suit and LT4 crate engines are providing muscle cars with supercar levels of power.
We've reached the halfway point of the year and the battle for the title of Australia's favourite car could barely be closer.
After flying out the gate and establishing a 5000-unit lead by February, the Mazda 3 has been reeled in by the Toyota Corolla over the past four months, cutting its margin to just 358 vehicles (22,524 v 22,166) and setting up an intriguing race in the back half of 2014.
Sales of both models are up this year - the Mazda by 12.2 per cent, the Toyota by 5.7 per cent - bucking the trend of the market overall, which is down 2.4 per cent compared with the first half of 2013 (559,951 v 573,711).
The Toyota HiLux (19,160) sits in third position. Sales of the 4x2 variant have increased 1.7 per cent (5417), though the more popular 4x4 is down 10.7 per cent to 13,743 in a segment that is down 7.2 per cent overall.
The fourth-placed Holden Commodore has been the big winner in the first half of 2014, with sales of the traditional Australian-made family car up 58.8 per cent to 16,355 compared to this time last year. Its share of the large car segment has increased from 52.1 per cent at the end of June 2013 to a commanding 72.6 per cent this year as rivals, the 47th-placed Ford Falcon (3562, down 29.7 per cent) and Toyota Aurion (2257, down 19.1 per cent), continue their downward spiral.
The Hyundai i30 (15,692, fifth overall) is the next best of the small cars, with sales up 4.7 per cent. Hyundai's small-car family sits outright third ahead of the HiLux when sales of the i30 and Elantra sedan (4352) are combined (20,044).
The Ford Ranger (13,443) is now clearly the second-best-selling ute in the country, with both the 4x2 (up 39.2 per cent) and 4x4 (up 24.1 per cent) finding favour among buyers.
A monster June for the Mitsubishi Triton saw it climb to seventh overall (11,838), narrowly beating the top-selling SUV, the Mazda CX-5 (11,006, up 9.0 per cent), the Volkswagen Golf (10,736, up 46.6 per cent), and the Toyota Camry (10,118, down 0.2 per cent), which rounds out the top 10.
A sales dip of 4.7 per cent has done little to dent Toyota's dominance at the top of the brand chart. Its 101,105 mid-year total is almost double that of any other manufacturer, though its share of the market has fallen from 18.5 per cent to 18.1.
Second-placed Holden is up 10.1 per cent so far this year (56,773), pulling clear of Mazda (51,910, down 0.7 per cent) and Hyundai (49,597, up 3.4 per cent), which are fighting a fierce battle for the final step on the podium.
Ford (42,242, down 5.1 per cent) sits alone in fifth, ahead of a three-way stoush between Nissan (33,155, down 24.8 per cent), Mitsubishi (32,676, down 12.5 per cent) and Volkswagen (28,571, up 3.3 per cent).
Subaru is down 3.3 per cent but holds on to ninth place (20,040), while rapidly sliding Honda (15,443, down 34.1 per cent) just clings to bottom rung of the top 10, holding off Kia (15,299, up 0.2 per cent) and the top-selling luxury brand Mercedes-Benz (15,006, up 14.3 per cent).
Fiat (2999, up 222.1 per cent), Isuzu (7846, up 57.8 per cent), Renault (4380, up 52.5 per cent), Jeep (14,207, up 43.2 per cent), Audi (9661, up 18.5 per cent) and Land Rover (5112, up 16.6 per cent) have all made strong starts to the 2014.
Suzuki has been a big loser, plummeting 24.4 per cent to 8883 sales and 16th position overall, while Great Wall has also disappointed, down 56.0 per cent to 1691.
HOLDEN is poised to kill the Commodore name once local production comes to an end in 2017 — and the man in charge of the decision is the same person who vowed to save it: former Holden boss Mike Devereux.
The decision comes as the next generation large car to replace the Commodore is now expected to come from Europe not China.
Holden is pleading with General Motors executives to keep the Holden name because it is so iconic, but the request has fallen on deaf ears.
A Holden insider told News Corp Australia last year the switch to Chevrolet could happen if General Motors believes the Holden brand image has been damaged by the shutdown of its factories.
“The amount of money we’ve spent trying to defend the Holden brand to Detroit is ridiculous,” the insider said.
“But when executives from North America come out to Australia, they take photos of Chevrolet badges that people have fitted to their Holden (cars), and use that against us.”
Well, we all kinda had a feeling this would happen. Brand loyalty is gone for most people at this point and brand loyalty in the end makes up a small portion of sales so I cant see a reason not to change the name.
The big in bold makes me laugh though. Now we have someone to blame!
Holden Special Vehicles has just given the clearest signal yet there is a future locally tuned performance cars once manufacturing stops in 2017. HSV has just re-hired former chief engineer Joel Stoddart after a 12-month hiatus.
The type of vehicles and what engines will power them are still under wraps, but the return of Stoddart is proof that the performance outfit is working on top-secret alternatives to its current V8 Commodore line-up.
Stoddart oversaw the development of the supercharged HSV GTS -- the fastest and most powerful car ever to be made in Australia -- but he left HSV just weeks before the GTS was launched, to work for caravan company Jayco.
At the time Stoddart's sudden departure was viewed as a sign HSV might not have plans beyond the life of the VF Commodore; engineers typically start work on projects three to five years ahead of a car's showroom arrival.
Holden still does not have a V8 confirmed for local showrooms once the homegrown Commodore goes out production in 2017. But Stoddart's return to HSV after 12 months is the best indication yet that HSV is serious when it says it has plans beyond locally-manufactured cars.
Speaking exclusively to Carsguide in his first week back, as engineering director, Stoddart would not reveal what HSV was working on -- but he did say the company would be around for the long haul. "There is a future for us to keep making great cars, and that's why I'm here," said Stoddart. "We're looking to the future and trying to realise some of the opportunities that are out there."
Over the past 26 years HSV has built its business on fine-tuning the suspension and engines of V8 Commodores, which is why there was concern about how HSV would adapt once Holden begins importing large front-wheel-drive four-cylinder and V6 sedans to replace the Commodore in 2018.
But Stoddart says HSV can turn its hand to just about any part of the vehicle development business. "We've got a great engineering team, we've got a great manufacturing facility," said Stoddart. "So we're trying to maximize the opportunities that are out there."
HSV is typically tight-lipped when it comes to talking about future product development. But the performance car division, a separate company but linked closely to Holden, has been seen testing a twin turbo V6 Opel Insignia sedan in recent months. It is believed that this vehicle or one like it will form the basis of the successor to the Australian-made Commodore.
As for his time at Australia's biggest caravan company, Stoddart says: "I just miss cars. When I went across I had plans to be at Jayco for at least 10 years. We did some great work there, but cars are where my heart is," said Stoddart.
During his time at Jayco, Stoddart oversaw the final phases of the development work on a new suspension design for the latest caravans. "It's very different to the automotive industry. You can move quite quickly," he said.
In the meantime, Stoddart can't wait to get his new company car: a HSV GTS. Despite overseeing the developing of the fastest and most powerful car HSV has ever produced, he barely got to drive it.
"The engineers did most of the time behind the wheel during the development phase and I left HSV just before the production cars arrived," said Stoddart. He gets the keys to his silver HSV GTS next week.
The FUCHS Winternationals will be held at Willowbank Raceway across the Queen's Birthday long weekend (Thursday 5 June to Sunday 8 June 2014).
Willowbank Raceway is Queensland's premier drag racing facility, located 45 minutes from Brisbane or just a short drive from Ipswich. This year we have 430 racers from all across the country and New Zealand set to compete in front of approximately 30,000 spectators across the four days. It is the biggest annual drag racing event held outside the USA.
Featuring Top Fuel, Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock, Top Fuel Motorcycle and Pro Stock Motorcycle this is an event not to be missed. If you've never been to the Winternationals make this year your very first time because you won't regret it!
Other racing includes: Competition, Super Stock, Super Compact, Competition Bike, Donnelly Blasting Services Supercharged Outlaws, Knijff Earthmoving Modified, Powercruise Super Sedan, Prime Signs/Speed Elec Super Street, Modified Bike, Junior Dragster, Super Gas and Factory Xtreme
SCHEDULE - Please note times may be subject to change
Thursday 5 June 2014
- Gates open - 7.00 am
- Qualifying (group 3 and 4) from 12.30 pm Friday 6 June 2014
- Gates open - 7.00 am
- Qualifying Group 2, 3 & 4 from 8.00 am
- Qualifying Group 1 from 2.30 pm Saturday 7 June 2014
- Gates open 7.00 am
- Racing Group 3 & 4 from 8.00 am
- Qualifying Group 2 from 9.30 am
- Qualifying Group 1 from 11.30 am Sunday 8 June 2014
- Gates open 7.00 am
- Racing from 8.00 am
- Group 1 from 11.00 am
A range of ticketing options are available including special pre-purchase online-only multi-day event passes. Students and Concession card (age and disability pension only) holders with photo ID gain discounts, while children aged 13 and under gain free entry. For full information, please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au