The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is already one of the best performers in its class and price range, and Chevy is making it even better for the 2015 model year with the introduction of a new, eight-speed automatic to replace the previous six-speed. The updated transmission isn't exactly news, but the Bowtie brand is finally telling customers why the two extra gears are so important. Autoblog will have driving impressions of the 2015 up later today, but for now, you can snack on this delicious morsel of info as an amuse-bouche ahead of our full impressions.
The eight-speed carries an EPA-estimated rating of 29 miles per gallon highway, a 1-mpg improvement over the previous automatic, and the 16-mpg city and 20-mpg combined figures remain the same as before. According to Chevy, part of the improvement comes from a new 2.41 rear axle ratio that has the engine turning 8 percent less at 70 miles per hour. Though, Z51 models keep their 2.73 ratio at the rear.
However, it's not all about eking out slightly better economy, as the eight-speed also makes the Stingray even quicker than before. The gearbox hustles the 2015 'Vette to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, a tenth better than with six gears. The run through the quarter mile also drops a tenth to 11.9 seconds. The boost in performance comes thanks to a more aggressive first-gear ratio than before, the company claims.
Of course, not everyone wants an automatic, even an improved one, so for those who want to row their own gears, the seven-speed manual is still available too. Scroll down to read Chevy's full announcement and look forward to our Quick Spin coming soon.
DETROIT – The all-new, paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission makes the 2015 Corvette Stingray faster and more fuel efficient, with 0-60 acceleration of only 3.7 seconds and an EPA-estimated 29 mpg on the highway.
"The Corvette Stingray is a great example of how we are leveraging engineering and technology to improve both efficiency and performance," said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain. "No other car can match 460 horsepower, 0-60 mph in better than 3.7 seconds, and 29 mpg on the highway."
The Stingray's 0-60 performance is 0.1-second quicker than the previous six-speed automatic, contributing to a quicker quarter-mile elapsed time of 11.9 seconds – a 0.1-second improvement over the six-speed auto.
Its 29-mpg highway rating represents a 3.5-percent increase over the six-speed. New eight-speed models are EPA-rated at 16 mpg in the city and 20 mpg combined.
In fact, the Stingray's stingy fuel consumption on the highway is not only better than sports car competitors such as Porsche 911 Carrera (28 mpg), Audi R8 V-8 (20 mpg), Jaguar F-Type R (23 mpg) or Nissan GT-R (23 mpg), it tops conventional cars with smaller engines, like the Subaru Outback six-cylinder (27 mpg), Volkswagen Passat six-cylinder (28 mpg) and Mercedes-Benz C350 coupe (28 mpg).
The greater performance and efficiency enabled by the available, GM-developed Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic is due primarily to its 7.0 overall gear ratio spread, which enhances off-the-line performance with a more aggressive first gear ratio – 4.60 vs. 4.03 on the six-speed – helping achieve the quicker 0-60 time. It also delivers world-class shift times that rival the best dual-clutch design.
Combined with a new, numerically lower 2.41 rear axle ratio vs. the 2.56 gear used with previous six-speed automatic models, engine rpm is reduced by 8 percent (123 rpm) on the highway at 70 mph. The lower engine speed reduces fuel consumption. Z51-equipped models retain a 2.73 rear axle ratio.
The new paddle-shift eight-speed automatic complements the performance generated by the Corvette Stingray's LT1 engine – rated at 455 horsepower or 460 horses with the available performance exhaust system – which uses advanced technologies including direct injection, variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) to make more power with less fuel.
Advanced composite materials in the body structure and a lightweight aluminum frame, as well as aluminum and magnesium suspension components, support the Corvette's efficiency with a low curb weight of only 3,298 pounds /1,499 kg (Stingray coupe). They also enhance performance by giving the Stingray an excellent power-to-weight ratio of 7.25 – or one horsepower for every 7.25 pounds of mass. That's better than Porsche 911 Carrera's 8.7 ratio and Audi R8 V-8's 8.3 ratio.
For those who prefer a traditional manual-shifting driving experience, the 2015 Corvette Stingray is available with a seven-speed manual that delivers 0-60 times of 3.8 seconds and EPA-estimated 29 mpg on the highway.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
# # #