Chevy Camaro ZL1 Automatic Faster than Manual

Industry News

For the Camaro ZL1 a new algorithm improves the 0-62 time by a few fractions of a second.

It was once common knowledge that accelerating through a manual transmission is faster than doing so through a lazy automatic one. However the rapid changes in technology are changing well established concepts. Take the Camaro ZL1, with its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 582hp engine arriving at showrooms in a few weeks' time. Its TapShift version, operated by steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters will scoot to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds, a tenth faster than in its manual equivalent.

Top speed is 184 mph, which will make it the most powerful and fastest Camaro ever. The TapShift system was introduced several years ago. For 2012, GM powertrain engineers implemented a software algorithm that improves tap response time by up to 60 percent compared to the previous system. No hardware changes were required for the upgrade. "The faster you can get to the next gear, the better, and from the sound of it, the ZL1 automatic's performance is going to make paddle shifting more exhilarating and satisfying for drivers of all skill sets.

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"We're seeing a trend toward more manual-mode-capable, fun-to-drive automatic transmissions across all vehicle segments," said Eric Fedewa, director of Global Powertrain Forecasting at IHS Automotive. By staging hydraulic pressure in the clutch for the next gear, the new control module algorithm reduces tap delay for the 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5 up-shifts by 200-300 milliseconds. The system anticipates shift requests based on current gear, throttle, torque and speed. By pre-filling the clutch for the next gear, the tap up-shift response is near instantaneous.

The Camaro ZL1 Coupe will go on sale this spring as a 2012 model and the Convertible variant will go on sale this summer as a 2013 model. Chevrolet expects the automatic transmission to command up to 50 percent of ZL1 sales.