Chevy's K5 Blazer Concept:Cutting-Edge Styling, Performance V-8 Power, And Features That Draw A Direct Link To The '69-'94 K5 Blazer
When the name K5 Blazer was unceremoniously dropped from GM's popular fullsize SUV and replaced with the moniker Tahoe, something was lost. Generations of off-road enthusiasts had owned - or wanted to own - one of the General's pop-top, straight-axle 'wheelers, although by the late '80s, the K5 was void of both the solid front axle as well as the removable roof.
When Chevrolet designers took pen to paper and redesigned an all-new K5, they did so by using a two-door Tahoe as a starting point. It's anyone's guess as to whether or not the K5 concept could be manufactured today, given the fact that the two-door Tahoe has been discontinued.
Still, the K5 concept is an interesting, umm, concept. The Sport Utility Truck design, used with apparent success on the Avalanche, is taken to its zenith with the K5, including such features as an open-air rear cargo bed with a removable carbon-fiber top, reverse-opening "suicide" rear doors that swing rearward a full 180 degrees, external rearview mirrors with integral turn signals, and a modified front fascia with re-positioned foglamps, exposed tow hooks, and a special nickel-plated grille.
The K5's interior is a mix of gray and graphite leather, carbon-fiber trim, and a dash layout that's similar to the one used in the Avalanche. As you would expect, GM's OnStar electronic communications/security/information system is part of the K5's interior package.
When the guys charged with building an engine for the new SUT caught a glimpse of the K5 concept's radically styled body, they knew that no ordinary powerplant could live in the engine bay. So they pulled out all the stops, assembling a heavily modified Vortec 6.0L V-8 with such go-fast parts as CNC-ported, LS1 high-airflow cylinder heads with way-large combustion chambers and 2.02-inch intake and 1.57-inch exhaust valves; titanium valvespring retainers with Comp Cams' valvesprings; forged flat-top pistons with a compression ratio of 10.5:1; Crower con rods (6.125 inches long); and a Corvette windage tray. A healthy bumpstick is at the center of the Mouse engine: Lunati's dual-pattern hydraulic roller cam with an 0.539-inch intake lift at 209 degrees duration and an 0.558-inch exhaust lift at 216 degrees duration. It should be no surprise that the hot-rodded bent eight would produce gobs of power, and that it does: 440 hp at 5,700 rpm and 450 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 rpm.
The GM team given the assignment of reviving the K5 certainly did their job well. If only the General had seen fit to keep two-door Tahoes in production, the K5 could have been an excellent stablemate to the Avalanche, giving Chevrolet two radically styled, strong-performing SUTs - kind of an automotive one-two knockout punch. Sadly, there are no plans to revive the two-door Tahoe; hence it's likely the K5 Blazer Concept will become just another footnote in history.
XV8 Power: Another Intriguing Concept Engine From The General
As reported in the Dec. '01 issue of Insider, General Motors has an innovative concept engine - the XV12 - that boasts 12 cylinders and overall dimensions that make it shorter in length than a Vortec big-block and narrower in width than a small-block. Designed with the same focus on a compact overall size is GM's new XV8, which will see initial duty in Opel's Signum2 V2 concept car. As with the XV12, the XV8 boasts exterior dimensions closer to a V-6 than comparable V-8s; in fact, the XV8 will fit into an engine bay designed for the width of a V-6 and the length of a four-cylinder.
The all-aluminum V-8 is 4.3L in displacement, uses two intake valves and a single exhaust valve per cylinder, and boasts a trick, air-pressurized direct fuel-injection system that places an injector in the center of each combustion chamber's roof. Fritz Indria, Director of Advanced Engineering for GM Powertrain, stated: "It was our goal to create a compact, fuel-efficient V-8 that would showcase many advanced technologies all working together...many of the [XV8's] technologies are under development for future engine programs."
Much of what's neat about the XV8 is a direct result of the engine's clean-sheet design, which meant that the new technology and components used didn't have to be adapted to an engine of previous design - every segment of the XV8 was optimized specifically for the new engine. To achieve the XV8's output - more than 300 horsepower - GM engineers integrated multiple advanced technologies.