2006 model Z06 reportedly packs a 7.0-liter 500-hp V8 Though spy shots of the Z06 version of the C6 Corvette don’t appear to reveal much, we can discern that engineer David Hill’s latest high-performance creation may come with a first-ever-for-Z06 removable hardtop. Reports of a possible air scoop at the leading edge of the hood, however, appear unfounded. The car also sports typical Z06 features, such as wider tires tucked behind flared front and rear fenders, and lighter-weight, two-piece 10-spoke wheels. We also note red Brembo brake calipers tucked behind the wheels. The 2006 model Z06 reportedly packs a 7.0-liter 500-hp V8, and debuts at the Detroit auto show in January. ------ Comments from Dave Hill, Corvette Chief Engineer "We are doing some spreading because we've improved the coupe's affordability. The 2005, entry-level coupe is more car for less money. Also, the Z51 option on coupe and convertible offers almost-Z06 ride-and-handling dynamics for a very affordable price. We are spreading the coupe and convertible farther than they were spread before. When we get to the Z06, it's going to have more performance and more appearance differentiation from the other cars. It's going to be more expensive, admittedly, but it's going to be a terrific value in comparison to anything else you can buy, including Porsche Turbo, Viper and the Ford GT. We are including a lot of C5-R technical findings into the Z06. When people get a chance to see this car at the North American International Auto Show (at Detroit) in January, I think they're going to be really surprised at how much we've been able to do with the Z06." ------ SEVEN LITRES AND 373kW FOR HSV GTS CarPoint has learned that the 7.0-litre Gen IV V8, to be unveiled in the Corvette Z06 at the Detroit motor show in January, is almost certain to power the next generation HSV GTS sedan and coupe. The new engine, due for North American launch in the Corvette late in 2005 along with a new six-speed automatic gearbox, could be here in early 2006. HSV marketing boss Chris Payne's only response to our information was "we'll reveal details about the GTS at the appropriate time". He would not be drawn on exactly when "the appropriate time" would be. Payne did confirm that the GTS badge was being "rested", not retired, and despite recent comments by General Motors' enigmatic product czar Bob Lutz that the LS7 will produce 500hp, Payne refused to budge. "There is nothing to tell about GTS. There is no GTS at this time." Lutz, however, is less secretive when it comes to future GM product. "A German competitor has just launched a complicated V10," Lutz said. "Our overhead valve V8 has the same power and performance, and produces it at only 6500rpm." Lutz is referring to BMW's 5.0-litre V10 engine in the M5 sedan, which revs beyond 8000rpm. BMW's engine produces 500hp (373kW) and 520Nm of torque. The M5 accelerates from rest to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds. General Motors' new Wixom high performance engine facility in Detroit is confirmed to build the 7.0-litre LS7 engine alongside a supercharged version of the NorthStar V8 for the Cadillac XLR roadster. Initially the LS7 engine will find its way into the extreme Z06 Corvette in late 2005 before finding homes in other GM products, like the HSV GTS. According to GM global drivetrain boss Tom Stephens, the Wixom facility has the capability to produce 15,000 "high performance niche engines for low volume specialty vehicles." Stephens said the establishment of Wixom is an important step for General Motors. He was less than complimentary of third party tuners like Callaway which tweaked GM engines. "We can't guarantee the quality and durability of their work, and any problems that arise from it reflect poorly on the GM product itself." HSV's Payne admitted that Callaway, the supplier of high performance engine parts for the previous GTS, is "not a supplier to HSV at this time". He declined to confirm if that status would change in the near future. ------ Corvette to Get Sequential 6-Speed Automatic New “Tiptronic”-type automatic should be available on the ’06 Corvette. Help is on the way for the new Corvette – specifically its carryover 4-speed automatic transmission. The car’s current automatic, which lacks “Tiptronic”-like manual-shift capability, is one of the few real disappointments in the otherwise impressive new Corvette. But not for long. General Motors Corp. Vice Chairman and chief product guru Bob Lutz admits a sequential 6-speeder is on the way, though he declines to specify timing. “We don’t talk about future product,” says Lutz, who mostly talks only about future product. GM’s all-new 6-speed automatic will be a derivative of the Hydramatic 5L50-E sequential-shift 5-speed that is standard in the Cadillac XLR roadster. It will be built in four sizes accommodating up to 520 lb.-ft. (705 Nm) of torque and 450 hp. It brings a 7% performance improvement over the new car’s current 4L60/65 automatic, while hiking fuel economy 4%. The new 6-speed automatic is expected in late 2005, for the ’06 model year. That is about when the Corvette joins the supercar ranks with the launch of a 500-hp, 7L Z06 version of the new model, which is scheduled to debut at the 2005 Detroit auto show. A new LS7 V-8 replaces the old 5.7L 405-hp LS6 as the highest-performance Corvette engine. Top speed jumps from the standard ’Vette’s 186 mph (299 km/h) to more than 200 mph (322 km/h).