Camaro, Corvette Auto Transmissions Faster than Manuals

AutoInformed.com

Chevrolet expects the automatic transmission to comprise as much as 50% of ZL1 sales. That’s still a lot of manuals, and many enthusiasts still won’t consider a slush box.

Automatic transmissions continue to grow in sophistication as automakers increase the use of electronic controls and drive-by-wire technology that removes less than sophisticated driver inputs from the shifting schedule. Eventually manual transmissions – now missing from whole segments of vehicles already – will go the way of the hand crank in automotive applications, but it’s going to take a long time.

The latest evidence against manual shifting comes from Chevrolet whose paddle shifter automatic transmissions on Camaro and Corvette models in 2012 have a new software algorithm that improves tap response time ~60% compared to the previous system. As a result, the 2012 Camaro ZL1’s six-speed automatic transmission has a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds – a tenth of a second faster than GM’s official manual transmission time.

By staging hydraulic pressure in the clutch for the next gear, the new software reduces ‘tap delay’ for the 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5 up-shifts by 200 to 300 milliseconds. The computer anticipates shift requests based on current gear, throttle, torque and speed. By pre-filling the clutch for the next gear, the tap up-shift response is close to instantaneous.

Staged up-shifts will help drivers of the 2012 ZL1 – the most powerful production Camaro ever – get the most out of its supercharged 6.2L engine that is SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm). Top speed is said to be 184 mph,

The Camaro ZL1 Coupe will go on sale this spring as a 2012 model. The Camaro ZL1 Convertible will go on sale this summer as a 2013 model. Chevrolet expects the automatic transmission to comprise as much as 50% of ZL1 sales. That’s still a lot of manuals, and many enthusiasts of s certain age still won’t consider a slush box, and will likely go to their graves that way.

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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