Welcome to another fun-filled edition of Quick Shifts! Quick Shifts is a content feature here at CorvetteBlogger featuring links to Corvette and automotive-related stories of interest. The content that we have hand-selected for you this week includes more Z06 speculation, Ram TRX, the return of the Grand Wagoneer, an M3 wagon, Blackwing news, a Corvette-powered off-road Miata, expensive Hot Wheels, a Porsche wristwatch configurator, classic Top Gear reviews, and more!
Motor Trend kicks everything off this week with a pair of speculative stories regarding the forthcoming C8 Z06. Early in the week, Greg Fink posted a “what we know” piece that suggested twin-turbo power for the first hi(er)-po version of the mid-engine Corvette. This claim flew in the face of reports from other publications (including this site), leading an early draft of first gear to bring back a debate that we had in January; pitting MT’s intelligence against that of rival publications. But that plan was laid to rest when MT did an about-face, updating the original story with the words “twin-cam” in the place of “twin-turbo,” followed by a second update from Senior Features Editor, Jonny Lieberman, featuring information from a “source at GM” that has let the MT team in on “a lot” more details on the hotly anticipated Z.
The last hold-out of the twin-snails camp joining the naturally aspirated fold makes this writing a bit less entertaining, but also nearly guarantees that the next ‘Vette unveiling that we see will be the semi-affordable Ferrari 458 Speciale that your author has dreamt about since the Prancing Horse unleashed its 9,000 RPM masterpiece on the world at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The specifics that Jonny details include the full 5.5 liters of the C8.R’s race-proven V8, a Speciale-equaling 9k redline, and an estimated 625 HP and 485 lb-ft of torque (that amount of twist sounds more in-line with what we’d expect from a Flat-Plane Crank V8 than Hagerty’s guess of 600 lb-ft.).
Mr. Lieberman also does what he does best and adds perspective to these numbers saying, “Not quite as much as the old Z06’s supercharged 6.2-liter LT4—650 hp/650 lb-ft of torque—but who cares? To use Porsche as an example for a moment, the 911 Turbo makes more power than the 911 GT3. Yet, every car geek wants the GT3.” And driving home just how impressive these numbers are with, ” Assuming we’re right about the 625 hp number, that means the Z06 will pack 99 horses more than the world’s next most powerful naturally aspirated V-8: the 526-hp Voodoo V-8 found in the Shelby GT350/GT350R. To put this possible 625 hp in perspective, the sadly deceased Dodge Viper cranked out 645 hp from a massive 8.4-liter V-10 engine. To quote our source, the Z06’s engine is, “going to be a screamer”
We couldn’t be more excited! Be sure to read the full article (linked here, in case you missed it in the mess above) for even more analysis about how the General might pull off such a large FPC motor and a few tidbits about the ZR1 that WILL receive boost from a pair of turbos.
Since the last time Quick Shifts strayed outside of the Corvette world and into the broader automotive news sector, the Ram 1500 TRX has been all the rage. If you haven’t heard yet, FCA finally made the long-rumored Hellcat truck into a reality, and it is beyond awesome! You could read about it, but we think the “Manufacturer B-roll” in KBB’s First Look video gets the point of the TRX across better than any amount of words could. Our favorite part of the TRX is its adoption of the Camaro Z/28 and ZL1 1LE’s “flowtie” Ram logo that allows air to pass through, helping keep the Supercharged Hemi and its 702 HP cool. Before we move on from this magnificent beast, we would like to send you back in Motor Trend’s direction. MT’s Nelson Ireson spoke to the exterior design lead on the TRX project, Mike Gillam, who told a surprising story about how they landed on the TRX nomenclature. Interestingly, it had nothing to do with everyone’s favorite large, carnivorous theropod. Find out the humorous reason for yourself here and be prepared for disappointment when you see the forgettable, original Dodge with a TRX sticker.
The folks at FCA have been busy trying to push news of their giggle-worthy new name as far down the Google results as possible with exciting new products. Hot on the heels of the TRX reveal, they have been teasing the return of the Grand Wagoneer. Not much is yet known about their Yukon Denali rival, but the close-up and aerial images released thus far look promising. You can see the whole thing (in concept form) on September 3rd!
If large luxury SUVs aren’t your thing, there have also been some exciting developments in the fast four-door segment in the past few weeks. Even though BMW has decided to ruin the newest M3’s face with that horrendous and gigantic kidney grille, they are attempting to make amends by extending the roof all the way to the car’s better-looking side. That is right, an M3 Touring (Bimmer speak for “wagon”) is happening! Road and Track embedded an Instagram post where BMW confirms the car with video of a working mule driving around M HQ in Munich. A manual transmission and the S58 twin-turbo straight-six, making up to 510 HP, have also been confirmed. Those nuggets, paired with the long-roof body style, should rocket this thing up the enthusiast desirability list regardless of what the finished product looks like; Beauty is only skin-deep, after all.
Its crosstown rivals have been living it up with exciting reveals like the TRX and July’s Bronco, and now, GM has finally thrown a tiny scrap to its fans. It comes in the form of a single photograph showing the “Performance Steering Wheel” of the upcoming Cadillac V-Series Blackwing models. Aside from the previously mentioned C8 Z06, the CT5-V Blackwing is the upcoming vehicle that has us most excited, here at Corvette Blogger’s high-altitude outpost. It might be a tiny morsel, but at least it’s something, and the good news is, the thing is a pretty nice-looking wheel!
Flyin’ Miata, the madmen who bestow innocent little Japanese roadsters with Corvette power, has a new off-road-focused creation that we thought you needed to see! YouTube channel, Hoonigan AutoFocus got an up-close and personal look at this tiny monster that was, again, nicely hosted by R&T this week. See the lifted, 455 HP Miata in action by following this link and let us know if you’d rather have one of these or a TRX for your desert running adventures in the comment section!
There has been a noticeable lack of unique Corvette content on the internet the past five-or-so weeks, but for fifth gear, we did find a couple of fun vehicular-adjacent stories that are worth a look. First, check your storage units, basements, and kid’s rooms because you could be sitting on a fortune! Motor Trend compiled a list of the most expensive Hot Wheels models ever, and at least one of them could be directly traded for a new C8, dealership mark-up, and all! See if you are richer than Richie right here!
The next edition of Porsche ideas that the Corvette team should replicate, post haste is here! If you didn’t know, the people behind the ‘Vette’s primary competition have a little side-business selling watches (and other personal accessories). Now, there is a configurator where owners of the strange German car with the engine in the wrong place can customize a Porsche Design Timepiece 1.5 million different ways. This, of course, begs the question, where is ours, GM!?
While we have you thinking about Automobile Magazine, we’ve been following a weekly series of stories on their webpage called the Automobile Million Dollar Challenge. The whole thing is pretty simple; each Monday for the past six weeks, a different Automobile editor plays “Barenaked Ladies” and reveals what they’d buy “if they had a million dollars.” Of course, the whole budget has to be used to fill a hypothetical dream garage. Now, each of the editors has put together a fine list of vehicles but, like everyone who doesn’t actually have a million dollars, we thought we could spend that amount better than others could and so, the author of CorvetteBlogger’s renowned Quick Shifts column is ready to accept the challenge! I’ll even do one better and include direct links to actual cars for sale that I’d snap up today if I suddenly found myself with a rich benefactor. After clicking through all six of the Automobile staff picks, you can read about my choices, later today, in the first-ever QS appendix!
This month’s print issue of Car and Driver arrived in my mailbox with dueling red cars on the cover. C&D pitted the 2020 Corvette against the latest Porsche Cayman GT4, which they say is a better rival for the ‘Vette than the 911 now that they share an engine location and the new 911 “has gone soft.” Look for our link to their story once it hits the web (no need to seek it out on your own, we’ve got you!), but for now, we have a little throwback to the last time a new Corvette hit the scene. Back in 2014, Richard Hammond, then, still of Top Gear, also thought that the Cayman was a good match for America’s sports car. Old TG clips never get old, and the Hamster’s enthusiasm while driving the reborn Stingray is infectious! Enjoy this three-minute clip while you wait to see what American journalists thought of the updated version of this matchup.
Because of all the excitement surrounding the upcoming Z06, we will also include a slightly longer and more obscure clip of the former Top Gear trio (featuring the return of the long-time Stig, Ben Collins!) testing the C7 version (God, it sounds good!) against the AMG GT S and 991-Generation 911 Turbo from Clarkson, Hammond, and May Live!
As always, thank you for reading, Corvette Nation! We will see you in the same Crossed Flags place at the same Plastic Fantastic time next week!
Previous Quick Shifts:
Sam Schmidt’s C8 Corvette, a New Ride for GTA Fans, DIY C8 Engine Cover Swap, Vintage Corvette Racers, and More!
C8 Corvette vs Shelby GT500, C8 Tops 911, C8 Review, Shark Week, Corvette Nomad, and More!
New C8 Corvette Reviews, Ask Jack, Cadillac Lyriq Revealed, Ferrari Challenge, Farley to Lead Ford, and More!