Chevrolet’s Off-Road Concept Actually Has Some C8 Corvette DNA
Chevrolet turned some heads in November at the 2021 SEMA Show. The automaker offered a handful of mildly upgraded trucks and SUVs, but it was the Beast Concept that had off-roaders positively giddy. Actually, it’s not called the Beast anymore after a complaint from an unnamed entity, but whatever you call this Off-Road Concept, it looks ready to kick ass and take names on any terrain.
What could possibly carry over on this rig from the Chevrolet Corvette? It’s true that both vehicles rely on a 6.2-liter V8 for power, but they are different versions of the enduring pushrod engine. The concept gets the same supercharged LT4 V8 from the Camaro ZL1, churning out 650 horsepower sent to the wheels through a 10-speed automatic. The Corvette’s 6.2-liter engine is the naturally aspirated LT2, developing 490 hp (495 with the Z51 package) that’s managed by an eight-speed gearbox.
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It’s certainly not the chassis either, which is basically a Silverado pickup truck beneath some barely-there body panels. Curiously, the connection between the Corvette and the Off-Road Concept is the same item that connects the driver to the vehicle. The steering wheel.
It’s a similarity that Muscle Cars & Trucks picked up on some time ago, but there’s no mistaking the squared-off rim and the downturned spokes of the ‘Vette’s wheel. It’s missing the wheel-mounted controls found in the C8, and the Corvette crest in the center is obviously replaced with a simple Bow-Tie badge. The materials look far more utilitarian as well, but it’s definitely a Corvette steering wheel.
Presumably, Chevy went with the sporty wheel because, well, it’s sporty. However, in a real-world application we aren’t sure this is the best choice. Quick hand-over-hand steering inputs aren’t handled as easily on a squared-off wheel, and with the Off-Road Concept clearly designed to tackle loose terrain at higher speeds, we’d prefer something more conventional to saw back and forth.
But hey, at least it’s still a wheel and not a yoke.