2009 Corvette Blue Devil Confirmed and in Final Tuning Phase
By ALISA PRIDDLE, PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS DOANE FOR BRENDA PRIDDY & COMPANY, MORGAN SEGAL, AND THE MANUFACTURER
April 13, 2007
It appears the “Blue Devil” Corvette already is so quick it has even outrun a freeze on large and powerful rear-drive cars at General Motors, and it’s not even finished yet.
“That one is too late to stop. That’s almost finished. It’s in the final stages of tuning,” Bob Lutz, vice chairman in charge of product development, told CARandDRIVER.com during a recent interview in which he outlined a series of rear-drive projects that have been put on hold until the auto maker knows how strict the proposed new corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE) regulations will be.
Mounting casualties so far include migrating the next Chevy Impala to the Global RWD Architecture (formerly known as Zeta), an ultra Cadillac based on the 2003 Sixteen concept, potential plans for a rear-drive Cadillac DTS, and work on the smaller Global Small RWD Architecture to produce a baby Caddy.
But the Blue Devil is still on track, despite a gestation period that Lutz described as challenging, in acknowledging, for the first time, the car’s existence. “It’s a very difficult vehicle development. This thing has so much power that we have to explore a dynamic envelope that we’ve never explored before. We want the vehicle to be safe and we want it to be predictable, even at speeds that no mortal is ever going to attain in the United States. That’s our obligation. We’re really into a speed and power realm that General Motors has never been in before. We’re way up there with Porsche Carrera GTs and Ferraris.”
Lutz won’t divulge engine details except to say the displacement of the new powertrain is greater than the pushrod 7.0-liter V-8 in the Z06.
In terms of horsepower, Lutz said: “We’re certainly not going to be at 600 because some of our competition is at 600. So, 600 is a number that is not satisfactory for us. I would say comfortably in excess of 600 is the way I would term it.” As for 700 horses, “that would be a stretch. Tom Stephens (GM’s head of powertrain) would say, ‘maybe in the second year.’”
Which brings us back to our long-held contention the car is packing a 650-horsepower V-8, although we expected it to be a supercharged 6.2-liter with an integrated intake-manifold intercooler. With the lightweight Z06 as a starting point, we expect the Blue Devil will make the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.4 seconds.
As for torque expectations, Lutz said he really doesn’t know. “We’re obviously going to have to restrict it because otherwise you get nothing but wheelspin. So those are some of the problems, is how to get power to the ground.”
The product guru is not saying when the beast will bow publicly for the first time, but the expectation is early in the 2008 auto show circuit as we anticipate a 2009 model year designation for the limited run (1500-2000) built a year.
And it’s still anyone’s guess as to its name. While Lutz referred to it as the Blue Devil in talking with CARandDRIVER.com, the rumor mill has churned out Corvette SS, Z07, and Stingray as potential monikers.
Given its lengthy development, and Lutz’s assertion it is proving “almost as tough as an all-new Corvette,” Blue Devil might be apropos by the time this $100,000-plus monster makes it to market.