The Old Corvette Conundrum: Automatic Or Manual Transmission?

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The shifter for the C7 Corvette's seven-speed manual transmission

Do you prefer to row your own gears or let your Corvette shift the transmission shifting for you?

It’s an age-old question for sports car drivers: Do you want to be in control of your own gear changes with a stick in the center console and a third pedal on the floor or would you rather just stick the shifter in drive and be done with it. There are pros and cons to either, and obviously, in the case of disability or advanced age, sometimes the choice is made for us. Some of us are perfectly capable of shifting gears on our own but live in areas with heavy traffic. Basically, everyone on the Corvette Forum staff agrees that driver-controlled manual transmissions are the best way to drive a Corvette, but what is your preference?

The shifter for the C7 Corvette's automatic transmission.

In our humble opinion, there is no feeling like a properly executed downshift into a corner to really get your blood pumping behind the wheel. A manual transmission connects the driver to the car much more than any automatic ever could. Even a near perfect dual-clutch like Porsche’s PDK can’t match a clutched manual for driver excitement.

We like being in complete control of the shift, even going so far as having the option to completely skip a cog or two on the up or down shift cycle. Need some extra engine braking? Just downshift. It might not be the fastest way to produce lap times, but it’s a whole lot more fun. We’re never going to set any lap records anyway, leave that to the pros.

We will concede that an automatic Corvette would allow us to keep our hands on the wheel at all times for more secure driving. Additionally, it takes much less effort to drive an automatic equipped car quickly. Traffic driving with an automatic is practically too easy; stop and go are literally all you have to worry about. With the advent of quick shifting multi-gear transmissions, they’re also significantly faster shifting than any pro with a manual box could ever hope to be.

Talk transmissions with other Corvette owners on the forums.

What do you look for in a Corvette? Ease of use, or driver engagement? Chime in on the forums, we’d love to hear your opinion.

Bradley Brownell is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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