Designed to dominate the desert.
High-performance desert running will never be the same, according to Chevrolet Performance. Making its official debut this week at SEMA in Las Vegas is the Chevy Beast concept, a four-passenger off-roader that rides on a modified Silverado 1500 chassis and is powered by the LT4 supercharged 6.2-liter V8 crate engine rated at 650 horsepower.
With an overall length of 204 inches and a 126.87-inch wheelbase, the very appropriately named Beast concept has a custom-designed Chromoly tubular safety structure and a lightweight body. Chevy says the off-road suspension was made especially for the off-roader which also has a five-link rear suspension. It also received a 91-inch widened track for more stable handling and better overall control during high-speed desert runs.
A 10-speed automatic transmission sends torque to a two-speed transfer case which then routes that power to all four 37-inch off-road tires mounted on 20-inch beadlock wheels. Stopping power comes courtesy of the Big Brake Upgrade System. The exterior styling very much looks the part. Aside from the tubular doors, there's a clamshell-style front end and a set of spare tires are mounted in the bed. Designers purposely kept the rear left open to help draw out dust. There's also a custom-designed grille, front and rear bow tie emblems, off-road lighting from Baja Designs.
The interior is very appropriately described as "minimalist" and "functional." Four Recaro performance seats each with four-point harnesses will keep occupants firmly in place during all sorts of off-road craziness.
A pair of 7-inch LCD screens monitor all vehicle functions and provide performance data, such as pitch and roll. "There's nothing else like The Chevy Beast," says Jeff Trush, GM program manager, Pace Car and Specialty Show Vehicles. "It delivers a ton of performance and capability, which makes it adept at conquering rough terrain - and it flat-out flies in desert running."
Unfortunately, the Chevy Beast will probably remain a concept, but several critical elements - such as its upgraded suspension - could find their way to a production-spec model. One obvious idea: a Silverado desert runner that'd be unique from the recently revealed Silverado ZR2.