Chevrolet has released details on the updated 2015 Corvette Stingray which gets the recently-developed GM Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed auto transmission. The new transmission brings improvements to efficiency and performance.
The eight-speed was first announced for the upcoming Z06 Corvette performance variant. It features paddle shifters for the driver, and a shorter first gear ratio compared with the outgoing six-speed to enhance off-the-line performance.
Compared with the outgoing six-speed auto, the Stingray is able to complete 0-60-mph (97km/h) in 3.7 seconds, down from 3.8 seconds, and covers the quarter mile in 11.9 seconds, bettering the previous 12.0 seconds.
It might not sound like much, however, the fuel economy benefits are quite impressive. According to the official EPA rating the new model consumes 8.1L/100km on the highway cycle (US 29mpg). This represents a 3.5 per cent improvement.
Chevrolet points out that this highway economy figure is actually better than some high-end sports cars like the Audi R8 V8 (8.4L/100m; highway). Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of global product development, said,
“The Corvette Stingray is a great example of how we are leveraging engineering and technology to improve both efficiency and performance. No other car can match 460 horsepower, 0-60mph in better than 3.7 seconds, and 29mpg on the highway.”
Thanks to a lower differential gear ratio – 2.41:1, down from 2.56 – the latest Corvette automatic cruises at lower engine revs on the highway. Meanwhile, a more aggressive first gear ensures acceleration off the mark is quicker. The first gear ratio is 4.56:1 compared with the old 4.03.
Now, obviously, what we all want to know is will this transmission reach Australia? PerformanceDrive contacted Holden Australia to see if there is any chance future Commodore V8 models could get the new eight-speed auto. Sean Poppitt, manager of communications at GM Holden, said the company doesn’t talk about its future products.
Given the Corvette is a premium vehicle priced at around $60,000 in the US, the likelihood of this technology trickling its way down into the more humble V8 Commodore is slim, especially considering Commodore production will come to an end in Australia by 2017. There has been no confirmation if the badge will even continue on.
On the bright side, Holden will be introducing rebadged models taken from GM’s global portfolio in the future. This means we could see performance cars being introduced, such as the Camaro and – it’s a long shot – maybe even the Corvette. Ford is introducing the Mustang next year. The local GM arm might want to provide buyers with a worthy rival.
If Australia is ever going to see the new GM eight-speed it is more likely to be seen in a rebadged Chev than a local Commodore. It’s a shame because the new unit seems like it could really help improve economy and performance for the Aussie icon.