Remember the years when automatic transmissions took all of the fun out of cars, reduced their fuel economy and we called them “slushboxes?” Well, that was then and this is now, as automatic transmissions are now typically equal or better performing than their manual counterparts, and extra gearing allows them to be more fuel efficient than ever too. That said, when Chevy released the Corvette Stingray in 2014, it surprisingly debuted it with an old and outdated, six-speed auto gearbox, resulting in grumbling from some buyers.
As we roll into the 2015 model year for the new Stingray, things are already starting to change. One of the changes for this new model year, which will likely anger those who bought an automatic 2014 model, is that the 2015 Corvette Stingray will feature an eight-speed auto transmission with paddle shifters. As if not having the latest and greatest isn’t enough to anger a 2014 automatic-equipped Corvette owner, the eight-speed transmission is also quite the performer.
This transmission — dubbed the 8L90 — features a revised first-gear ratio, which allows it to shave 0.1 second from its 0-to-60-mph and quarter-mile times, dropping them to 3.7 seconds and 11.9 seconds, respectively. That 0-to-60-mph time actually betters a 2015 Stingray with the seven-speed manual by 0.1 seconds. This transmission delivers power to a 2.41-to-1 ratio rear axle, which replaces last year’s 2.56 gearing and drops the revs at 70 mph by 123 rpm. This helps increase its fuel economy on the highway by 1 mpg to 29 mpg.
I can’t describe well enough in a PG-13 manner how upset I would be if I had bought an auto-equipped 2014 Corvette Stingray only to learn that this new, eight-speed unit came out this year. Let’s just say I would be rather upset and my reaction may include pitchforks, torches and a journey to GM’s headquarters in Detroit for a little pow-wow session…
GM really should have simply skipped an automatic version for 2014, and let buyers know that one would likely come in 2015 instead of offering the six-speed auto for only one year.