SEMA 2012: Chevrolet 2014 LT1 V8 Engine

You may have heard that Chevrolet will be unveiling the new seventh-generation Corvette in 2014. What you may not have heard is that it will also be packing an all-new powerplant: the LT1.

We got a sneak preview of the new engine at SEMA 2012. Chevrolet had a completed engine on a stand as well as a display showing each of the engine’s internals. Before we go into what’s new, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the history of the LT1 name.

The first-generation LT-1 engine was available from 1970-1972 in the Corvette and Camaro Z/28. This all-aluminum powerhouse was a serious high performer and is highly sought after by muscle car collectors.

The second-generation LT1 engine made its debut in 1992 and was produced through 1997. This engine was used in the Corvette, Camaro, Firebird, the entire B-Body family (Roadmaster, Caprice, and Impala SS), and even the Cadillac Fleetwood.

This engine was notable for its reverse-flow cooling system which sends coolant to the cylinder heads before the engine block. The theory is that this allows the engine to run cooler. This is a different design than what GM has historically used in their other small-block engines.

The new LT1 will serve as the replacement for the LS3 V8, which has been the standard engine for the Corvette, Camaro, and in the short-lived Pontiac G8 GXP since it debuted in 2008.

So what makes the 2014 LT1 better than the LS3? The key word is: more. This engine is all about more power and more fuel economy.

The LS3 isn’t a bad engine: it makes 430 hp at 5900 rpm and 424 lb-ft of torque at 4600 rpm. It features a 10.7:1 compression ratio and a 6600 RPM redline.

The new LT1 offers 450 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, a 20hp/26 lb-ft improvement over the old engine. It offers a higher 11.5:1 compression ratio and offers an optional dry-sump oil system.

More power is always a good thing, but the real improvement will be the engine’s fuel economy. GM has pulled out all the stops in order to wring every last bit of efficiency out of a gallon of gasoline.

The new LT1 features direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management (AFM). This technology shuts down half of the engine’s cylinders during light driving to save fuel. The result? An impressive 26 miles per gallon highway, the best ever for the Corvette.

I am excited about the new engine and I think that this advanced, high-tech V8 will do a lot to carry GM forward into the future.

You can read more technical details about the engine in the Official Press Release.