In Chevrolet's upcoming midengine Corvette, there's no need to ask what's under the hood. Its engine is visible through a clear hatch in the body. That meant engineers not only had to put up impressive horsepower and torque numbers, but also they had to make sure the looks of the V-8 matched its performance. If the Corvette were a ring, its designers said, the engine would be its jewel.
"The engine really was intended all along to be a kind of showpiece of the car," said Mike Kociba, General Motors' assistant chief engineer for small block engines. "There is now a window. You can see into our world directly for the first time."
A polycarbonate insert in the engine compartment cover behind the driver exposes the 490-hp, 6.2-liter V-8, which means every part that can be seen had to be painted and finished.
"Engineers, we're very functional. Every feature, facet you see of course is purposeful, but generally in our mindset, it's just purposeful," Kociba said. "Now you want to take that extra step and say it not just has a function, it has a style. That really takes us out of our comfort zone."