update 10/27/21: this story has been updated to clarify technical details of the exhaust system.
a lot of the excitement surrounding the launch of the 2023 chevrolet corvette z06 is understandably about the 8600-rpm screamer of a v-8 nestled between its 3.6-inch-wider rear flanks. and a key piece of the return to a stonking naturally aspirated v-8 is about the experience. it sure sounds great from the outside, like when we caught it ripping off launch-control starts, but what about from the driver's seat? unfortunately, that's a question we can't fully answer just yet.
when we asked the corvette engineering team if they could quantify how much louder the z06's 5.5-liter dohc v-8 is, compared to the 6.2-liter pushrod v-8 in the stingray, they told us that the sound level at the exhaust exit is essentially the same, as, in both cases, they're at the limits of noise pass-by requirements. in the stingray, it was a bit of a letdown that the move to a mid-engine layout coincided with a slight reduction in the small-block's roar at the driver's ear. however, in the z06, there's a trick that should get more of its shriek into the cabin.
as you can see from the above photo, what look like quad tips are actually just finishers behind which the actual exhaust pipes are hiding. according to vehicle-performance manager alex macdonald, these bezels are actually shaped like "reverse trumpets" that are used to reflect the engine's high-pitched anger back into the cabin. this is part of an extensive effort to perfect the sound of the highest-output naturally aspirated v-8 ever. moving away from having the actual exhaust pipes come all the way through the rear end and to this inventive solution with the sound-reflecting tips involved retooling the rear fascia during the development process, according to executive chief engineer tadge juechter, something made possible by the delay to the z06's launch caused by the covid-19 pandemic and subsequent supply-chain issues.
in addition to hearing more of the lt6, you'll also feel more of it: its mounts, stiffer than the stingray's, "bring the engine into the car," according to macdonald. we can't wait to experience it for ourselves, and, don't worry, we'll be bringing our sound-level meter when we do.