There are so many rumors about the upcoming C7 Z06. First, even it's name is being questioned. Car and Driver says it will instead be called a Z07. Others insist that it will keep its Z06 name. Still others believe GM has a brand new name for the high performance model. Or, perhaps more to the point, will there be an upcoming high performance version, for GM steadfastly states "we do not comment on future potential product?" In spite of those "denials," including GM's President Mark Reuss saying, just a few weeks ago, that "we have not had conversations about a Z06," (maybe his statement supports that an upcoming high performance version has a brand new name), almost everyone believes there will be an upcoming more powerful version of the C7.
When will it appear? Car and Driver says that it will not appear until the 2016 model year. Almost everyone disagrees with this assessment, feeling that it will appear as a 2015 model year car, just 112 days from now, the day before Detroit's North American International Auto Show -- just like C7 Reveal. There are many reasons for believing this, including: 1) this was the pattern in the C6 to C6 Z06 introduction; 2) new, high performance cars like the Porsche 911 Turbo are here and GM's needs to have a competing product; 3) GM needs a car to incite "car show buzz" to offset the expected NAIAS debut of the 2015 Mustang; and, 4) GM is spending millions to build a "high performance engine build center," which will start producing such motors next Spring at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant. Perhaps the closest GM has come to hinting that a high performance model might be coming, was the statement made by Corvette Product Marketing Manager Harlan Charles, in a "CorvettewebBlast" video interview, that we like to introduce a major Corvette new model introduction once every year.
What will the Z06/7's motor be? Again, lots of rumors, few facts. Here are some of the leading contenders. It will have approximately 600 HP. It will be supercharged.
"No, no" it will be twin-turbocharged, just as some of Cadillac's new motors have changed from being supercharged to being twin-turbo'd. Car & Driver says that it will be the latter, but no proof is offered. And, yes, there are also some who think that, just like the C5 and C6 Z06 variants, it will be naturally aspirated...
As interesting, are the recent rumors that the car will look significantly different from the StingRay. One person stated that he talked with Jim Miller (Pratt and Miller fame) and that Jim said it will look significantly different from the StingRay. Of course that is not yet corroborated (nor that he made that statement). Historically, the Z06 variants have looked more aggressive than the regular Corvette, pioneering the "wide bodied" look and more "aggressive looking" grills, spoilers, etc. That it will look "more race-car purposeful" is the only sure bet . Here is a grill is being made at GM's Ontario, Canada plastic plant that supposedly is for the C7 Z06.
The high performance version will need/have wider tires, i.e., a Michelin tire engineer stated in a hallway conversation months ago, one I was present at, that they already have successfully tested a 300+ section tire, but then quickly realized that he should not have said that much. Wider tires, at least those more than one width wider, require wider fenders than the current StingRay, so here's an internet picture that supports that view.
The most recent rumor is very intriguing. That "surprise" is that the Z06/7 "greenhouse" may be "bobbed" as in the C5 Z06, consistent with a statement made by Executive Chief C7 Engineer Tadge Juechter in the December, 2013 (not a typo) issue of "Magazine Corvette," when he responded, when asked about future Corvette improvements he'd like to make, "we would like to make it lighter." Could the below rendering, echoing the C5 Z06, be one way that happens (along with the C5 Z's titanium exhaust, the C6 Z's additional carbon fiber body panels and carbon-ceramic brakes)?
That rendering and the converitable mule pick up on the wider-tires and unique wheels common to all these C7 high performance mule pictures.
One more question, since the C7's convertible chassis is 20% stiffer than that of the C6 Z06, might the C7 Z06 have a removable top? The rumors are flying. The reality will probably not be revealed, unless some slips up, until January 12th (if then).