Add Corvette to the GM 8-speed party, but give us the stick

Sections: Fuel Economy, Powertrain

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2015 GM Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed transmission corvette

The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette gets GM’s new Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed rear-wheel drive automatic transmission, if you opt for an automatic. We wouldn’t — give us the seven-speed manual instead. Interesting note, though: Despite its two extra gears over the outgoing six-speed automatic, the 8L90 reportedly is lighter in weight. (Photo courtesy General Motors)

We told you some GM full-size trucks — i.e. only those with the 6.2-liter V8 — would get the GM Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic gearbox. So, too, does the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette.

A press release from GM said the eight-speed automatic transmission helps the car accelerate faster while also returning better fuel economy. The new-for-2015 Chevrolet Corvette so equipped reportedly will reach 60 MPH from a standstill in as little as 3.8 seconds, yet carries an EPA highway fuel economy estimate of 29 MPG.

GM Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain Mark Reuss 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, 0-60 mph in better than 3.7 seconds, and 29 mpg on the highway.”

The zero-to-60 performance is 0.1 second quicker than the former six-speed automatic-equipped Corvette could muster, the release said. Meanwhile, the 29 MPG highway fuel economy figure is 3.5% better, according to GM.

GM took a moment to point out the Corvette’s highway fuel efficiency trump card. Out of many competitors, it tops the list where highway fuel economy is concerned. The Porsche 911 Carrera gets 28 MPG on the highway. Audi’s R8 V10 gets just 20 MPG highway. Jaguar’s stunning F-Type R gets 23 MPG highway — same as the berserk Nissan GT-R. The release also noted how several “conventional” cars — read: not on the same sporting playing field as the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette — get worse highway fuel economy. The Subaru Outback gets 27 MPG highway when equipped with its top-spec six-cylinder engine, while the V6 Volkswagen Passat and the Mercedes-Benz C350 Coupe barely do better than the Scoob, at 28 MPG each.

That’s all well and good. The eight-speed transmission is going to do good things for the acceleration and fuel economy of just about every GM vehicle it gets dropped into, mark our words. But what we’d really prefer to drive, if we get to test a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette, is the also-29-MPG-getting seven-speed manual transmission with slick automatic rev-matching.

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