As we pick our 10 Best Engines, ask yourself: Is the small-block better than Chrysler’s Hemi and Ford’s 5.0L V-8s? Will there always be a need for a strapping lad of an engine that “gets ’er done” and stokes your inner NASCAR driver?
As the WardsAuto editorial team continues with 10 Best Engines testing, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, with its fifth-generation small-block V-8, gives us plenty to think about.
We’re studying the specs and have pulled together this informational sheet for fellow judges to consider:
OK so maybe the 2-seat Corvette and’s 4-seat GT500 won’t be cross-shopped, but they’ve both been here for 10 Best Engines, so let’s run a little comparative study.
The GT500’s 5.8L DOHC supercharged V-8 delivers outlandish stats: 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds, a quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds at 125 mph (201 km/h), 200 mph (322 km/h) top speed. That’s in addition to an outrageous 114 hp/L specific output and respectable 15/24 mpg (15.6-9.8 L/100 km) ratings.
The all-new Corvette Stingray has a bigger naturally aspirated pushrod 6.2L V-8 with a specific output that is dowdy by today’s standards, a mere 74 hp/L.
But its track times are surprisingly similar to GT500: 3.8 seconds 0-60 and a quarter-mile in 12.0 seconds at 119 mph (192 km/h). Car and Driver estimates top speed at 190 mph (306 km/h).
The Corvette is nearly 600 lbs. (272 kg) lighter than the GT500, which explains the great equalizer between 460 hp and 662 hp. Both cars elude gas-guzzler taxes.
In the fuel-economy battle (if there is such a thing at this high-octane level), the Corvette wins hands down.
One editor topped 21 mpg (11.1 L/100 km) in the Stingray during our loan, and at least three did better than 17 mpg (13.8 L/100 km). Last year, no editors came back in the GT500 with an average higher than 14.9 mpg (15.7 L/100 km), although the numbers were somewhat better this year.
Also, EPA ratings are much more favorable for the Stingray: 17/29 mpg (13.8- 8.1 L/100 km) vs. 15/24 mpg for the GT500. Active Fuel Management is standard in the Corvette, while cylinder deactivation is not available in the GT500.
A Corvette engine hasn’t been on the Ward’s 10 Best Engines list since 1999, when the beefy LS1 5.7L V-8 earned two consecutive wins.
The new LT1 6.2L is one of four all-new, ground-up re-engineered small-block engines from GM that we’re driving this year, from trucks to sports cars, and it’s safe to assume more variants will be coming in the future.
Small-block engines have longevity: since 1955, four generations have yielded 100 million units.
From a packaging and weight perspective, the small-block has an advantage over every competitive V-8, and smart sharing of certain components allows GM to save big bucks across various vehicle platforms.
By just about any measure (efficiency, drivability, NVH, technology and brute strength), this fifth generation is the best yet.
As we pick our winners, ask yourself: Is the small-block better than’s Hemi and ’s 5.0L V-8s? As 4-cyl. and now 3-cyl. engines proliferate, are these hogs still relevant overall in the market? Is there anything technically wrong with old-school pushrods? Will there always be a need for a strapping lad of an engine that “gets ’er done” and stokes your inner NASCAR driver?