Back in the 1960s, automakers were excited to offer four-speed manual transmissions that boosted both horsepower and fuel economy. These days though, any automaker worth its logo better offer at least a six-speed automatic in even its most basic, compact cars. Meanwhile, halo vehicles like the Chevy Corvette need more and more shift points as the competition (ahem) gears up.
We’ve already written that GM is working on an eight-speed automatic transmission for the Corvette Stingray, and GM Authority reports that with this new transmission, the Stingray could get as much as 30 MPG on the highway.
While we usually don’t get excited about things like fuel economy, keep in mind we’re talking about a cutting edge sports car with a 450 horsepower… and it returns the same fuel economy as many family sedans. Granted, you’ll have to find a way to keep your foot off of the accelerator, but if you can manage that, you’ll get some decent fuel economy.
The 8L90 transmission, as its been designated, was definitely designed for the new Corvette, but it will eventually work its way into other applications like the Camaro. Not only is the 8L90 eight pounds less than the six-speed automatic it replaces, but it also shifts 0.8 seconds faster than the dual-clutch transmission found in the Porsche 911, at least according to GM engineers.
A faster transmission that also improves fuel economy? Sign us up.