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GM Exec: No Mid-Engine Corvette, But Maybe a Hybrid

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On: Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 10:38AM | By: Chris Weiss

GM Exec: No Mid-Engine Corvette, But Maybe a Hybrid

Rumors of the next-generation Corvette incorporating a mid-mounted engine have been running rampant for several years. This week, however, they've been put officially to rest. GM 's Karl-Friedrich Stracke, VP of global vehicle engineering, said that there will be no mid-engine Corvette, indicating that we can expect the next-generation Corvette to feature the same front-engine configuration that it's always sported. However, Stracke did leave the door open for a Corvette with hybrid powertrain.

According to Autoweek, Stracke, in response to the rumors, said: “I don't know who made this public. I think it is wrong.”

While that short quote is open to interpretation, a follow-up from GM spokesman Dan Flores was a little more definitive: “The rumors and speculation about the Corvette are just that. There is no mid-engine in the plans."

Rumors of a mid-engine Corvette date back at least three years. In an in-depth look at GM's plans for the C7 Corvette in its November 2007 issue, Motor Trend included a mid-engined model featuring a 5.0-liter V8 as one of three possible scenarios, explaining: "GM vice chairman Bob Lutz reportedly has been pushing for a mid-engine C7. Two directions have emerged. The more realistic plan has Chevrolet building only an upmarket, mid-engine Corvett, while the other calls for two models: a conventional front-engine C7 and the mid-engine car and splitting Corvette off from Chevy to make it a prestige brand. Under either plan, the next Corvette will have a radically different design from the current car."

Since that time, rumors have continued to rage in forums, blogs and magazines. While the rumors varied in th model years and Corvette iterations (2012, 2014, C7, C8) predicted, they all seemed to agree that GM had a mid-engine configuration in development.

The most recent rumor came just last week when a former Saab engineer told a European trade magazine that Saab had developed a wet dual-clutch specifically for the mid-engined Corvette back when Saab was a part of GM. According to the engineer, the clutch was designed to handle up to 590 lb-ft of torque.

Another rumor that has often gone hand in hand with the mid-engined layout is a V6 engine option for the Corvette. Stracke set the record straight on that rumor as well, stating that GM is not testing a downgraded version of the Corvette. However, he did say of the possibility of a hybrid powertrain: "You could keep a normal powertain configuration for a small amount of very excited car enthusiasts. And turn 80 to 90 percent of your sports-car portfolio to hybridization."

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