We sure hope so..because a new spy photo showing a Silverado prototype sporting the “SEMA Beast” like the front bumper has been taken. Nearby, we also shot a Sierra AT4X with a different bit of off-roading. We discuss what all this means and show you all the photos.
Our spy photographer reports:
GM has stepped up its off-road truck game with the Chevy Silverado ZR2 and GMC Sierra AT4X, but a new, disguised prototype suggests that more extreme variants are now being tested around the GM Proving Grounds. The new prototypes demonstrate distinct design differences from their officially released counterparts, with a focus on a more aggressive look and better off-road clearance.
GMC Sierra AT4X-Based Prototype Gets Style Change ZR2
We got our first whiff of the upcoming changes a few weeks ago, with a glimpse of the GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X showing signs of a new front bumper and camouflaged wheels. We now have more open shots showing the ZR2-inspired front bumper treatment, but with a new front skid plate design that should result in better approach angles and clearances.
We originally chalked up the revised Sierra AT4X’s front fascia as a possible upgrade to address the model’s rather mundane and unmodified front bumper — unlike the aggressive high-range design implemented on the Silverado ZR2. Now, that theory has been thrown into serious doubt, with the emergence of a newly-disguised Silverado ZR2-based prototype. Now it seems that something much broader is possible at GM’s truck development group.
Silverado ZR2 Based Prototype Featuring Minimalist Front Bumper Design, New Skid Plate Design
The new Silverado ZR2 based test truck has everything in front of the A-pillar covered in camouflage, and we can see a completely different approach to the front skid plate design compared to the officially released model. The bumper on the current Silverado ZR2 appears to have a heavier chin, with the skid plate integrated into the bottom of the front bumper design. The new prototype appears to have a simplified front bumper—with better front clearance—and a narrower skid plate that is more distinct from the front bumper design. The result looks to have a better angle of approach than the “standard” ZR2.
New Silverado Prototype Featuring Some “Beastly” Tones?
In analyzing the Silverado prototype in detail, we noticed that the shape and orientation of the front bumper and slip plate appear to resemble the Chevy Beast concept that debuted at the 2021 SEMA show. The Beast concept started with the Silverado, and was modified into a full SEMA outrageous. The end result is a crazy buggy, over-the-top side-by-side/dune, but there are definite links to the Chevrolet Performance parts catalog (and certain recently announced engines). What if some simple elements of the Beast’s design were applied to the more extreme Silverado ZR2? Looking at the front bumper design and the prototype skid plate stripped through the “animal-colored lens” one might see some similarities. What if Beast foretold some things for GM’s newest off-road truck?
What Machines Are in The Beast Concept Again?
The Beast Concept is equipped with GM’s supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V8 engine—the same engine that powers the recently launched Cadillac Escalade V. Given that the supercharged LT4 has likely been adapted for more truck-focused tasks in the Escalade V, converting the engine to a high-performance variant of the new Silverado ZR2 just got a whole lot easier. Maybe the Chevy Beast concept engine choice does double duty: 1) Get lots of attention for the Chevrolet brand at the buzzing SEMA show, and 2) Give it a little foreshadowing of what GM’s line of trucks will hold next year, or so.
Our encounters with these new prototypes based on the Silverado ZR2 and Sierra AT4X haven’t yielded any audible evidence of what’s under their camouflaged hoods, so we’ve been left embroiled in some speculation. This new prototype tells us something exciting is in the works — likely above and beyond the standard Silverado ZR2 and Sierra AT4X. Given that the Escalade V has paved the way for a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 to enter the truck segment, the more powerful ZR2-based variant is more viable than ever, and will provide some sort of answer for the Ram TRX, and those to come. Ford Raptor R. We’ll shoot for some audio and video the next time we come across this oddly modified prototype truck.
Here’s each spy photo from this session: