Here are the Key Differences Between the LT1 and LT2 Corvette Engines

The Corvette is one of the most recognizable American vehicles of all time. It has been manufactured for more than sixty years, in eight different generations. The latest brings the most radical change in history, a mid-engine layout, but how much different is the new LT2 engine compared to its predecessor?
Chevrolet Corvette C8 and C7 9 photos
Photo: Chevrolet
Chevrolet Corvette C7Chevrolet Corvette C8Chevrolet Corvette C7Chevrolet Corvette C8Chevrolet Corvette C7Chevrolet Corvette C8Chevrolet Corvette C8 LT2 EngineChevrolet Corvette C7 LT1 Engine
The Vette has widely become known as America’s sports car and has been symbolizing freedom and adventure since it first came off the production line in 1953.

Before radically redesigning the car and moving the engine to the middle of the chassis, all previous Corvette generations featured a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. The last model to do so was the C7, which was unveiled in Detroit, at the North American International Auto Show in 2013.

It was powered by a then all-new LT1 6.2-liter small-block V8 capable of developing 455 hp (339 kW) and 460 pound-feet (620 Nm) of torque, which enabled the C7 to accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 kph) in 3.8 seconds.

Chevrolet Corvette C7 LT1 Engine
Photo: Chevrolet
Six years later, the redesigned C8 was introduced during a media event at the Kennedy Space Center and showcased a completely redesigned Corvette. Apart from the gorgeous exterior design that resembles a Ferrari more than any previous Chevy sports car, the latest generation introduces the first mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout to ever feature on a Corvette.

The new V8 powerplant dubbed the LT2 retains the previous generation’s displacement of 6.2-liters and is also naturally-aspirated, but spits out 495 hp (369 kW) and 470 pound-feet (630 Nm) of torque when equipped with the ZL1 performance package.

That means an improvement of 40 hp (30 kW) and 10 pound-feet (14 N⋅m) of torque over the LT1. Acceleration has also been improved, as the C8 can accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 kph) in a supercar-worthy 2.8 seconds.

As we further analyze both engines, the first major difference we encounter is the improved lubrication of the LT2. Although the LT1 did offer a dry-sump oil system, the one on the newer engine features three pumps that provide superior lubrication.

Chevrolet Corvette C8 LT2 Engine
Photo: Chevrolet
Chevrolet claims that this modification will help maintain optimum oil pressure at up to 1.25 G of lateral acceleration, which is great news for those of us who would take the C8 directly to the nearest track.

Another improvement is the required engine oil quantity. The LT2 needs just 7.5 quarts (7.1 liters), a reduction of 2.25 quarts (2.10 liters) compared to the LT1. Also, on the new C8 engine the pan-mounted oil filter and cooler assembly come with cooled oil and coolant pathways for a 25% increase in cooling capacity over the LT1.

The new layout of the LT2 allows the engine bay to be placed 25 mm lower than the one in the C7, which provides a lower center of gravity and thus increased agility and smoother handling.

The power output difference between the two engines is in large part due to the improved intake system of the LT2. It uses almost identical intake runners that are 210-mm long unlike the unequal-length runners of the front-mounted C7 engine, and the intake manifold is taller and 3 liters bigger. This translates into better airflow and a 3% power gain over its predecessor.

Chevrolet Corvette C8
Photo: Chevrolet
The exhaust of the LT2 was completely redesigned for the new mid-engine layout, yelding a 1% power gain compared to the LT1. Improvements include a 4 in 1 design with twisted runners and new high-flow pipes. The C8 also features new exhaust-scrubbers that can be activated earlier and provide a 25% decrease in emissions.

The LT2 is also fitted with a new camshaft profile with an extra 1 mm of exhaust lift, matching the intake side to take advantage of the engine’s improved airflow. Finally, the new powerplant has a very stable idle, much refined than its predecessor, thanks in large part to the new wide-range air-fuel sensor (WRAF).

Both engines are spectacular but the LT2 would have taken far more time to be developed and refined if it were not for its legendary predecessor. It will be interesting to see how Corvette engines evolve and how much we can still enjoy the naturally aspired V8s in the all-electric era.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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