Should the Corvette never again offer a six-cylinder?

Americans have a long-established love affair with the V8 engine, and with good reason: almost all of the coolest cars that Detroit has produced have had huge V8 engines. Those engines were able to propel the large muscle cars that they were encased in to very high speeds very quickly, all the time burbling away a deep, throaty exhaust note that was music to the driver's ears. We have no problem at all with V8 engines, which will likely still be installed in vehicles for quite some time. What we do have a problem with is the guzzling of gasoline and the accompanying exhaust which pollutes our roadways. A well-designed V8 engine, especially when equipped with technology such as cylinder deactivation and direct injection can provide an abundance of power and reasonable fuel mileage. The same can be said of a well-designed six cylinder with forced injection. Ford has announced that we'll be seeing plenty of such engines from the blue-oval-brand in the coming years, and other manufacturers are sure to follow. The question that is on some writers' minds, though, is whether those high-tech engines should be used in performance cars like the Corvette. We can understand that purists want to see nothing but V8 engines in their favorite sports cars, just as Harley riders want their air-cooled V-Twin. But the notion that there is no other power plant which can provide the necessary power is just plain wrong. Tell the Evolution driver that his four-cylinder engine is holding back performance.

Gallery: 2008 Detroit: Corvette ZR1 LS9 engine cutaway

[Source: Manny Lopez / The Detroit News]

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