Here Comes the Hate: Why an Automatic Z06 is a Good Thing

2015 z06 Detroit
Okay, so the new Corvette C7 Z06 has finally been revealed and it is, as everyone predicted, stunning. But if you read some of the comments—see Slushbox Supercar—on the Forum, people are already bitching about how buyers will have the option of an eight-speed automatic.

Are you kidding me?

First, the General isn’t forcing three-pedal fundamentalists to convert—that’s what optional means. And while the 8L90 transmission uses a torque converter, not a dual-clutch unit as found in uber exotics, it will incorporate shifting via steering wheel mounted paddles—and it’s exactly what guys like me have been looking for.

Americans have always been the best at using existing, albeit ‘low-tech’ technology to get the job done.

The fact that the Z06′s engineers decided to go with paddles, despite the use of a conventional torque converter, is key here. While the old automatic in the C6 was lazy to say the least, Chevy engineers told Autoblog that “wide-open-throttle upshifts executed up to eight-hundredths of a second quicker than the dual-clutch in the Porsche 911.” Tell me that won’t curdle the cream on some strudel in Stuttgart? It’s not like they grabbed the gearbox from a Silverado and called it good.

So enough already with the manual tranny hoopla. Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t the ’60s.

While manual transmissions are fun on the street, they simply cannot compete on the track. Porsche and Ferrari dropped sticks in favor of paddles for a reason. They’re faster, more reliable, and, if you’re looking to get around the racetrack in the quickest way possible, the only way to go. Incorporating paddles shows GM is serious about conquering the world’s best with the Z06.

Honestly, I don’t think it matters if  the Z06 gets the dual-clutch or not—as long as the system works. Americans have always been the best at using existing, albeit “low-tech” technology to get the job done. The creaky 6L80E in the old C6 has been tossed, and the new 8L90 allows for much easier programming and tuning. I think this “slushbox” may actually cause some manufacturers to rethink a few things.

Performance numbers have yet to be released, but you can bet Chevy’s latest and greatest Vette is going to be an extremely serious automobile. Stay tuned.

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