The C8 Z06 Sounds Like No Other Corvette

·2 min read
Photo credit: Andi Hedrick
Photo credit: Andi Hedrick

The new Corvette Z06 is here, and as you've probably heard, it's sporting the most powerful naturally aspirated V-8 ever made, the LT6. It's an engine that's radically different than most other Corvette engines before it, with dual overhead camshafts, 32-valves, an 8600-rpm redline, and most importantly, a flat-plane crankshaft.

Most V-8s—including Chevy's Small Block—use a cross-plane crankshaft, with one cylinder firing for each 90-degree rotation of the crank. With a flat-plane crank, a cylinder fires only for every 180 degrees of rotation. The firing orders typical of a flat-plane V-8 means that these engines are, essentially, two four-cylinders joined via a common crank. The sound that comes out is a lot more reminiscent of a four-cylinder, with an extra layer of richness. Flat-plane V-8s generally rev higher than their cross-plane counterparts, contributing to higher frequency tones at the top.

This is a complicated way of saying that the new Z06 sounds more like a Ferrari than any Corvette before it. It's a damn fine sound, far more exotic than the lopey Small Block V-8s that have powered Corvettes for 66 years now.

Photo credit: Andi Hedrick
Photo credit: Andi Hedrick

Corvette engineers also did much to tune the exhaust note of the LT6. There are stainless-steel four-two-one headers and a new center exit for the quad exhaust pipes. Those chrome pieces at the back aren't so much tips as they are resonators. They're shaped like a trumpet's bell but they face the front of the car to get more exhaust sound to the cabin.

It's an unfamiliar sound from a Corvette, but I have a feeling we'll get used to it.

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