Chevrolet Corvette Tech Official Explains Why the New C8 is Automatic Only
It seems like dedicated fans of the Corvette
family put up with the fact that there won’t be a manual option for the C8
generation of the Chevrolet Corvette. Despite some criticism from
traditionalists who could not imagine the new C8 model without a classic stick
shifter, it should be admitted that the new automatic Corvette is really good. The
8-speed DCT transmission (labeled M1L) installed in this model promises to be a
significant boost to performance capacity of the vehicle.
In a recent interview, Tadge Juechter, the head of the Corvette Engineering Department, confirmed that the decision to stick with the automatic transmission option only for the C8 is backed by vital arguments. In response to a direct question on the lack of the manual option, Mr. Juechter said that the demand dictates terms on the automotive market and currently it is not in favor of manual models, especially on the US market.
powertrain (LT2 engine coupled with M1L transmission)
Statistical comparisons of take rates for automatic and manual models make it sufficiently clear that manual models become just economically unviable. For instance, Chevrolet previously sold Z06 and ZR1 models equipped only with a manual unit, and when the automatic option became available, it instantly became the primary choice among customers (70/80% of the volume).
Mr. Juechter pointed out that the decision to stick with the DCT as the only transmission option was surprising not only for common car owners, as he himself grew accustomed to driving manual cars. His tastes were shared by many specialists at GM, but it did not affect the final decision on the new C8 powertrain configuration.
In addition to financial considerations, there is also some technical issue. The thing is that it is quite complex to integrate a manual gearbox in the mid-mounted V8 platform. The new C8 has an engine placed between shifter and the gearbox itself, implying that it is impossible to utilize mechanical linkages. Thus, it can be concluded that a 3-rd pedal would compromise the cabin layout.
At the same time, Mr. Juechter mentions that the M1L transmission gives a driver good deal of manual-esque feel, such as the ability to pop the transmission into neutral on the fly, as well as customizability to get it exactly as desired.
Despite numerous arguments against manual
transmissions, car manufacturers should not always blindly follow market
trends, but seriously consider preferences of their customers. For instance, Porsche
also experimented with excluding the manual from its performance-oriented 911
GT3 and it was viewed negatively by buyers, who have since bought the manual in
that car in large volumes. According the official statistics, 2 out of 3
customers gave preference to the manual 911 GT3.