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Bob Lutz: “Neither Chevrolet nor Cadillac Need a Mid-Engine Car”

Back in the 1950s, the Corvette was born into this world a front-engined, RWD American sports car. More than six decades after its conceiving, the Corvette is expected to go mid-engine for the eight generation. And that’s a very outlandish thing to do. Or is it?
Bob Lutz 12 photos
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In a Road&Track story titled Chevrolet Doesn’t ‘Need’ a Mid-Engined Corvette,” Bob Lutz has hit the nail on the head about what the future holds for the best General Motors has to offer. According to the former GM Vice Chairman of Global Product Development, “neither Chevrolet nor Cadillac ‘needs’ a mid-engine car. A mid-engine Corvette would likely coexist with the regular model but be priced at least $30,000 to $40,000 higher, my guess, about $130,000 to $150,000.” Mind you, that's a very good argument.

But there’s a problem with it. Changing the engine’s location and swapping the small-block V8 for a purported 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 (LT5) is not enough. As Lutz puts it, “GM won't do it unless it's a world-beater, so we should expect it to suck the doors off all the Europeans (Veyron excluded) and the [2017] Ford GT, which, while a nice car, would soon seem poor value.”

He’s right again, but the 2017 Ford GT costs that much because that's a lot of car you’re buying as far as go-faster credentials are concerned. More to the point, a hell of a lot of carbon fiber, the high-performance twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost powerplant, and one of the best power-to-weight ratios imaginable.

If General Motors manages to keep the mid-engined Corvette under $150,000 while offering the get-up-and-go to stick it to the 2017 Ford GT, then yes, the incoming change of heart will be worth it. Bob Lutz also goes on to say something about a Cadillac spin-off of the Corvette. I don’t mean to be obnoxious here, but Caddy is in no position to do it, nor does it need it.

Remember the Cadillac XLR? What about the Cadillac ELR? If recent history has thought Caddy something, that something can be summed up as follows: “Never put a Cadillac badge on a Chevrolet only to ramp up the price.”

 
 
 
 
 

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