With an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission, the 455 horsepower 2015 Chevy Corvette could deliver up to 30 MPG on the highway. The new transmission has plenty of help from other efficiency technologies on the Corvette, but the two extra gears provided by the 8L90 transmission is a big step forward for the Chevy supercar.
This transmission first debuted in the 2015 Corvette Z06, though it has been detuned to handle the lighter power load of just 455 horsepower, rather than the 630+ horsepower off the Z06. That said, the two extra gears and reduced internal friction makes for a 5% improvement over the outgoing model. In the real world this should translated to about 1 MPG, which would boost highway driving to an even 30 MPG.
An extra two gears is nice, even if I don’t understand the logic of buying a car like the Corvette with a transmission that does the fun stuff for you. That said, GM claims their new eight-speed auto is eight-hundreths of a second faster to upshift at wide-open throttle than the dual-clutch transmission found on the Porsche 911.
The C7 Corvette also offers efficiency-improving features like Active Fuel Management, which shuts down unnecessary cylinders at highway speeds, and an all-aluminum chassis that keeps the pounds off. And while it hasn’t happened yet, a hybrid Corvette could be in the works as well.
It’s about time if you ask me though. The Corvette first offered a six-speed transmission (albeit a manual) back in,,,wait for it…1989. In the interceding 25 years, other automakers the world over have offered all manner of manual and automatic transmissions with more gears and better efficiency, including crosstown rivals Chrysler, but the Corvette just sort of muddled along, good enough being good enough.
With the new eight-speed auto, the Corvette C7 feels a lot more like the 21st century supercar it is.