click above image for high-res gallery of the 2009 Corvette ZR1
The 2009 Corvette ZR1 has arrived, but speculation surrounding the next-generation C7 model and a possible mid-engine variant continue to persist. Bill Visnic from AutoObserver claims that the idea of a mid-engine Vette, either as a variant of the C7 or a replacement of the current front-engine model, is still being discussed by top engineers involved with developing the next iteration of Chevy's iconic sports car. The main argument against the idea of a mid-engine Vette remains the price tag, as costs would drive up the price to above $100,000. While the ZR1 is priming the public for the concept of a $100,000 Corvette, the current base model remains an affordable performance bargain for John Q. Public. If the Corvette switched to a mid-engine platform, the base price for the car itself would be well above $100,000. The other concern is how much a mid-engine Corvette would alienate the car's fan base, which helps drive sales that far exceed more prestigious sport cars in its class (more than 30,000 units so far this year).
While some have argued that a mid-engine layout for the next-gen model would demonstrate the technological prowess of GM's engineers, we'd argue that the ZR1 proves the current layout affords plenty of opportunity to show off the team's skills. Just read Sam's report on the new ZR1 and its LS9 motor and you'll know what we mean. Does anyone out there want a mid-engine Corvette, or is the Corvette team just bogged down by the thought of what it can do rather than what it should?