Last month Chevrolet officially revealed the fastest, most powerful Corvette of all time, the 2009 ZR1. At a minimum of 620hp, the ZR1 will very likely be the most powerful Corvette that ever gets built, at least with an internal combustion engine. Fuel economy rules and rising prices will mean that future generations of the Corvette, starting with the C7 that is expected to debut in about 2012, will follow the same path as most other vehicles. It will get smaller, lighter and more efficient.

That's not to say it will be competing with the Volt, but Corvette Vehicle Line Executive Tom Wallace gave some hints as to where the C7 will be going during the Detroit Auto Show. According to Wallace, a C7 that's 300-400 lbs lighter and has 150hp less from a 4.7L V-8 would have a similar power-to-weight ratio to the current 6.2L 405hp C6 model. GM has already demonstrated direct injection on the small block V-8 and the combination of a smaller displacement DI engine with a dual-clutch-transmission would likely easily meet the fuel economy rules for at least the middle years of the next decade. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess where things go. As hybrid systems get smaller and less expensive, some form of hybridization seems likely at a minimum. Even smaller engines with less than eight cylinders are also likely after the C7.

[Source: AutoWeek]

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