2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Eight-Speed Automatic Review

MILFORD, Michigan -- Here’s the thing about driving a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray around the Milford Road Course at General Motors Proving Ground: It’s hard. The car is blistering fast, and the course is incredibly tight -- 2.9 miles of blind corners, hills, and chicanes, with practically no straightaway. We have enough to worry about without ever thinking about shifting. Good thing we don’t have to: This 2015 Chevrolet Corvette is equipped with an eight-speed automatic.

Automatics are nothing new to Corvettes, of course. The car debuted in 1953 with a two-speed Powerglide, and two-thirds of Corvettes sold these days have two pedals. GM’s new eight-speed, however, essentially erases any remaining performance gap with the stick shift. It hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, a tenth of a second faster than what GM achieves with the seven-speed manual. The transmission weighs about the same as the old six-speed automatic, which means it’s still heavier than the manual gearbox. It’s also a bit heavier than a comparable ZF eight-speed automatic, which GM engineers attribute to the fact that their new transmission must stand up to towing in full-size trucks. It also will have to handle the 650 lb-ft of torque produced by the upcoming 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The Corvette team says it passed on a dual-clutch automatic because it needs the high-torque capacity, and must spread the cost of transmission development by sharing it with the high-volume trucks.

Despite its torque converter, the new eight-speed shifts very fast -- faster than some dual-clutch transmissions -- GM says. Full-throttle shifts have that near-instantaneous quality we’ve come to associate with Porsches, only here, the soundtrack is of a mighty 460-hp V-8 ripping through gears. Even more impressive is the transmission’s performance on the track, where the shift logic is unimpeachable. We just put it in drive and go, and let the software figure out where and when to downshift for us. At times, we can feel some hesitation as various computers and sensors -- in the engine, the transmission, the active differential, the dampers, the brakes, etc. -- figure out exactly how much power to deliver to the rear wheels. But we’ve observed the same sensation in manual transmission cars, which are nearly as computerized.

Later, we hit the highway for a fuel economy test. The additional gears, coupled with a slightly lower axle ratio, improve fuel economy from the ’14 C7 six-speed automatic’s 16/28 mpg by 1 mpg highway, to an EPA-rated 16/29 mpg. The seven-speed manual is rated 17/29 mpg. Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter notes the eight-speed’s highway mileage is actually within a whisker of 29.5 mpg and suspects his team will find a way to round up to the coveted 30 mpg rating next year. Cool. We worry more about testing 50 to 90 mph acceleration and thus see 14.1 mpg during 40 miles of mostly highway driving. The transmission quickly serves up full throttle downshifts except when you’re in Eco mode, where you must wait an additional split-second as deactivated cylinders come back online. Eco mode is also quicker to return the transmission to a higher gear.

In manual mode, the transmission responds quickly and immediately to driver commands, including multi-gear downshifts. The paddles themselves feel cheap and flimsy -- yes, they’re in the manual transmission cars as well, but are rarely used, as they toggle on and off the auto rev-matching feature. The Corvette team should hit up Cadillac for the magnesium paddles used in the ATS.

We do miss the manual at times -- like when we press the imaginary clutch to execute a heel-to-toe downshift on an exit ramp -- but the Corvette assaults the senses in so many ways that losing one input doesn’t ruin the experience.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Base Price: $55,820
Price as Tested: $65,680
Engines: 6.2-liter V-8
Power: 460 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 465 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
Fuel economy: 16/29 city/hwy
0 to 60 mph: 3.7 seconds
John Bunch
It is funny to read the negative comments. They define those who will be tire kickers/dreamers their entire lives. For the scratch, the new Corvette is quality and value. This observation from a man who has owned 13 Porsche 911's and one Boxster "S" (Big Mistake)  
Robert Nelson
Raced one of these with my Roush charged 2011 Mustang . Did a fast walk away from the Vette. Sorry Chevy.
Shahed Attar
nice pics...
Roberto Estrada
red is a girly color..
1LEhunter
This sounds great, maybe at last I will get my hands on a '16 1LE Camaro with this new auto transmission. Shake & Bake.
Sicelo 'dibaba' Nkabinde
Beauty @ its best
Stan Smith
real world driving tends to favor manual driving for mpg, since you can skip gears and semi lug if you want.
Preston Walk
Oh it's mean. Drove an auto today, I was impressed. Still though, I'd probably end up with a manual just for the fun of it!
Sk Rabbani
Wow
Robert May
Unfortunately, most corvette buyers are automatic gearbox people. It's been like that for many years. But if you're referring to the corvette vs. 911 video Chris Harris did back in January, then he was driving the original 6 speed autobox that was offered on the 2014 vette. This new 8 speed autobox is the one offered on the 2015 vette. It should be much improved, but yes, stick is the way to go.
Lee Klein
Chris Harris hated it, That's enough for me. Shift it yourself or don't call yourself a car enthusiast. But that's just me.
MuscleCars Power
more efficient ? OR NOT !
Andrew Aslanidis
why wouldn't anybody want a rev-matching 7-speed manual gearbox? Might as well get the ultimate driving experience
Stefan Takacs
Waiting to see how the ZO6 fairs.
Chris Prather
No clutch = no buy
Eman Tan
#savethemanuals
Ricky Smith
I don't care if it's faster. I still wouldn't want it.
Fatih Sari
Bu araba sadece $55820 !! Inanilmaz ...
Roshan Deshbharatar
Nice car
Tom Champion
My favorite color is dark gray with black trim.
Sourena Afshari
I dont care how fast it is. As long as it has no clutch you you can't have the joy of "driving" in it. I dont want computers and other automated stuff to drive for me.
Bhatta Aasis
Its sooo girly colour.... It would hav been much better in black or red.... Bt still the design is breathtaking.... I loved it...
Sanju Maity
ki
Wolf47
I'm chomping at the bit to own one of these.  Unfortunately, I would also need to keep my Jaguar sedan, so no more room in the garage.  If only it had a small back seat I could justify it.  

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