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The XT-2 was powered by a cutting-edge 360-horsepower / 315 pounds-feet of torque 4.5-liter TPI V-6 engine with a 6 speed manual transmission and Corvette suspension. In comparison, a 1989 Chevrolet IROC Camaro with a 5.7-liter L98 V-8 was rated at 240-hp / 345 lbs.-ft.
Performance-wise, The XT-2 was capable of zero to 60 mph in 6-seconds and running the ¼-mile in 13.1-seconds. That's about average performance for a V-6 sports car today but it was stupendously fast for the late-eighties.
Twenty years after its debut we take the XT-2’s engine power for granted. The new entry-level 3.6-liter direct injectionV-6 under the hood of the reborn 2010 Chevrolet Camaro is rated at 296-hp. That’s 82-hp per liter versus 80-hp per liter in the XT-2 concept.
To become race ready, Chevrolet built a tubular space cage to protect the XT-2's occupants and surrounded the frame with a sleek fiberglass skin. It was also equipped with fire extinguishers, dual batteries and fuel tanks, strobe lights and racing seats with 5-point safety harnesses. An independent coil-over-shock 5-link rear suspension kept the 18-inch rear wheels in contact with the track at all times. The front suspension was also a coil-over setup, with 17-inch wheels.
The XT-2's aerodynamic windshield was also its hood. The glass flipped up on pneumatic struts to provide access to the engine compartment. The cockpit was insulated from engine heat by a firewall made from "special space-age materials."
The interior looks straight out of an H.R. Geiger painting. All the shapes are organic. Power buckets enabled the driver and passenger to recline like a lounge chair with full power controls and adjustable lumbar and calf support. It even had air conditioning. The XT-2's press release called its cabin “womb-like”. The first and last time that descriptor has been used for a pickup truck.
The cargo box? Well, let's just say it looks like it was inspired by a disco-era hot tub.
When it took to the track, the XT-2 looked like nothing that had come before it. It reinvented almost every rule about what a car or truck could do.
Today, with high fuel prices and CO2 emissions creating almost the same concerns that led to the stunted powertrains of the seventies and early eighties, looking back at the XT-2 is like looking forward to similar radical technical changes that may happen with cars and trucks over the next twenty years. If that's the case, the best could be yet to come.
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