Road Ahead

Come On GM, Pony Up


General Motors doesn’t mind listing the exotic super cars that are more powerful than the ’15 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, but it couldn’t bear to include the Ford Shelby GT500, which beats the Z06 by 12 hp.

OK, hats off to General Motors for coming big with an outrageous 650 hp and 650 lb.-ft. (881 Nm) of torque in the ’15 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which goes on sale this fall.

After the high-performance coupe’s unveiling at the North American International Auto Show in January, speculators pegged the car’s all-new LT4 supercharged 6.2L small-block pushrod V-8 at 625 hp and 635 lb.-ft. (861 Nm) of twist.

Accompanying GM’s recent announcement of the Z06’s official power and torque ratings was a 1-page grid of competitors under the headline, “The LT4 Small-Block SC V-8 Is One Of The Most Powerful Production Engines Available In The U.S.”

It’s true that six exotics leave the Z06 in their wake, including the Ferrari LaFerrari hybrid (963 hp), McLaren P1 hybrid (890 hp), Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid (887 hp), Ferrari F12 Berlinetta (730 hp), Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 (700 hp) and the Ferrari FF (651 hp).

But the Z06 tops the McLaren 650S (641 hp), SRT Viper (640 hp) and Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 (610 hp).

However, the gaping hole in this high-octane grid is the absence of the Ford Shelby GT500, whose smaller 5.8L supercharged V-8 surpasses the Z06 with 662 hp (but less torque). The GT500 was available as a ’13 and ’14 model, but will not be in ’15.

Conveniently covering the Z06’s, um, squared-off rear end, GM’s PR team says it merely wanted to list all the car’s model-year ’15 rivals.

That is accurate, but it’s also disingenuous, considering there could be a GT500 or two or three available on dealer lots somewhere in the U.S. when the Z06 goes on sale. If so, then they would be “available” as stipulated by GM’s assembled pack of over-achievers, regardless of model-year designation.

Here’s something else to ponder: Ford managed to set the base price for the GT500 at $54,200, which made it eligible for the 2013 Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition. It won.

Not only that, Ford billed the 5.8L engine as the world’s most powerful production V-8, and it eluded gas-guzzler taxes, too.

Will the Z06 suffer a gas-guzzler tax? Too early to say, but the ’12 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, with its storming 6.2L supercharged V-8, shouldered a $1,300 tariff and it was more expensive than the GT500, plus it made less power, with more displacement. It didn’t make our 2013 10 Best Engines list.

We’ve jacked up the base price cap for eligible vehicles to $60,000, and we’ll decide soon whether to raise it any further for the 2015 competition.

But given the LT4’s titanium intake valves, new 1.7L supercharger, forged aluminum pistons, stainless-steel exhaust manifolds, standard dry-sump oiling system and aluminum balancer – not to mention the car’s aluminum space frame, copious amounts of carbon fiber and general track readiness – it seems doubtful the Z06 will meet our pricing criteria.

Awful shame.

I guess what bugs me, even if it is an understandable marketing ploy, is that GM couldn’t bear to include the GT500 on a grid of exotic super cars more powerful than the Z06.

Is it that difficult to tip a hat to the competition? Especially when the GT500 makes less torque? Apparently so.

We’re not here to quibble with the output but instead to call attention to the gamesmanship between two automakers – namely GM and Ford – who can’t stand second place.

So don’t be surprised if GM magically finds more crank in the LT4 at about the time Ford releases its high-output pony, perhaps a next-generation GT500, from the barn.

And count on Ford to be ready to reciprocate.

Discuss this Blog Entry 9

on Jun 23, 2014

The amazing 650 hp Z06 is more powerful than many super cars that cost significantly more. However, your article spends much of its space complaining there is a 2014 Ford that is out of production before the Z06 comes out which wasn't included in the comparison???

on Jun 24, 2014

In all fairness, they should have omitted all the hybirds they placed on that list as well. Totally different category in my opinion. They could have took the handful of hybrids out and replaced them with maybe a Bugatti Veyron.

on Jun 24, 2014

Agreed IS. But having spent a little time in a Porsche 918 Spyder, I can see why the Corvette crew wanted to count it as a competitor. These are hybrids of another breed, fast cars that premium automakers need in their portfolio as CAFE requirements ramp up.

on Jun 24, 2014

I thought for the most part OEMs like Porsche gave the CAFE requirements the cold shoulder and just paid the penalites because the margins per vehicle on say, 911's are so much that it didn't bother them to just pay the fine.

on Jun 24, 2014

Yes but the fines grow progressively punitive over the next 10 years. Could hurt Porsche's bottom line.

on Jun 24, 2014

Sigh, fine the manufacturers punitively for making a product that people enjoy and deisre to purchase...

on Jun 23, 2014

That's right.

on Jun 24, 2014

A Mustang is a Muscle Car and is not considered to be in the same class as the Corvette, or any of those other exotic "two seat" sports cars. Hence the omission from the list. A Ford GT would be a better comparison, but is no longer in production. Ford fans need to stop comparing apple to oranges.

PS - BTW an over weight underpowered 2014 Z28 will beat any GT500 around a race course. Apples to Apples Ford loses.

on Jun 24, 2014

Understood, but the main comparison is horsepower, and Z06 and GT500 are pretty close together. And a lot of people would say Corvette/Ferrari also is an "apples to oranges" comparison.

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What's Road Ahead?

Blogs with an emphasis on technology, design and suppliers.


Drew Winter

Drew Winter is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto World magazine and a Senior Editor at He was won numerous awards for his work in both print and digital media and has been...

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is executive editor of WardsAuto World magazine, with an emphasis on technology and suppliers. He leads selection of the Ward’s 10 Best Engines and Ward’s 10 Best Interiors...
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