Following spy shots of the Z06 variant of the seventh-generation Chevy Corvette is a report stating that the vehicle won’t be called Z06 at all. Instead, the even-higher-performing Corvette C7 variant will reportedly wear the Z07 moniker, thereby aligning its alpha-numeric designation with the publicly-recognized C7 nickname.
According to Car & Driver, a replacement for the range-topping ZR1 isn’t in the cards for the seventh-gen ‘Vette, at least not until very late into the model’s life cycle. Instead, the C7 Z07 will fill the void left by the C6 ZR1, delivering performance levels closer to the outgoing ZR1 than the Z06 it replaces.
To note, the Z06 name came to existence as a GM RPO code designating a special performance package conceived by none other than Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov for use in the second-gen Corvette C2 in 1963. The code subsequently reappeared on the C5 Corvette in 2001, and then on the C6 Corvette in 2006. Given its lengthy history, the decision to replace the acclaimed Z06 designation could be yet another example of the seventh-gen Corvette dispensing with tradition for the sake of progress… or, in this case, brand continuity.
Car and Driver also states that the C7 Z07 will be motivated by a V8 displacing less than the 6.2 liters seen in the “base” 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray’s naturally-aspirated LT1 V8. Instead, the publication believes that a twin-turbocharged 4.5 liter eight-banger will power the Z07. And as luck would have it, General Motors may have hinted at the existence of such an engine when it unveiled the (nearly) universally well-received Cadillac Elmiraj concept car at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The boosted eight engine, which could be called LT5 — based on GM trademark filings — is expected to make a whopping 600 horsepower; a potential successor to the ZR1 would make as much as 700 ponies.
Current Z06 owners should take note that an increase in power and performance for the Z07 will likely be accompanied by an increase in price, reportedly catapulting the vehicle into the $100,000 territory — a space currently occupied by the mighty ZR1.
The timetable for the C7 Z07 is a bit murky at the moment — with the official C7 online configuration tool launching on Chevy’s site just yesterday. But a 2015 calendar year launch as a 2016 model doesn’t seem to be too far out of the realm of possibility at the moment.