My first name dictates I have to be a manual transmission fundamentalist, yet it saddens me to hear that the fast-shifting 8L90 eight-speed transmission destined for the Z06 options list next year, will not be offered as an option in the base 2015 Corvette.
Why would that make me sad? Because the new automatic transmission represents a higher dimension of speed for the Corvette brand. This new eight-speed automatic can shift eight-hundredths of a second quicker than the Porsche 911’s seven-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (dual-clutch gearbox) … and the Porsche PDK is widely regarded as the best transmission in the industry.
This is not to say the eight-speed auto is staying out of the base Corvette forever; it just means we’ll probably have to wait until the 2016 model year. Still, waiting sucks. If you think about it, waiting is like being waterboarded by the time-space continuum.
Tadge Juechter told AutoGuide the hold-up derives from a load of electronic calibration that must be done to match the 8L90 to the Stingray’s motor. “You would think, ‘OK, you’ve validated the high-horsepower one, so validating the low-horsepower one is like falling off a log, you just judge it.’ But that’s not true,” Juechter said.
Juechter’s team is already tasked with getting the 2015 Z06 ready for production, leaving little time to calibrate the 2015 Corvette Stingray for the 8L90.
You may have to wait another year for an eight-speed automatic in the base ‘Vette, but at least it’s on its way. The 8L90 is also on its way to other GM vehicles to help amortize the transmission’s development costs. Juechter said repurposing the 8L90 for non-transaxle applications will be relatively simple. The eight-speed automatic is pretty much confirmed for use in GM trucks to help Chevy and GMC compete with the much lighter, and thus more fuel-efficient, aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150.