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The 2017 ZL1 Camaro’s 10-Speed Transmission Shifts Lightning Fast

Camaro ZL1’s Transmission is a Perfect 10: New 10-speed auto offers quicker shifts than DCT

May 12, 2016
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With faster upshifts than a dual-clutch transmission and a wider overall gear ratio spread to optimize performance and efficiency, the all-new available Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission sets a new performance standard in the 2017 Camaro ZL1.

The ZL1 is expected to be the first volume production car to offer a 10-speed automatic. It builds on the established legacy of Hydra-Matic eight-speed transmission family offered on other sixth-gen Camaro models to deliver higher thresholds of capability, refinement, and efficiency.

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“There is simply nothing like the new 10-speed automatic in the Camaro ZL1,” said Aaron Link, ZL1 lead development engineer. “It delivers nearly instantaneous, lightning-fast shifts that alter your perception of what an automatic transmission can offer in a high-performance vehicle – whether you’re on the street, drag strip, or road course.”

The greater overall performance and efficiency are due primarily to the 10-speed’s wider 7.39 overall gear ratio spread, which enhances off-the-line performance with an aggressive first gear ratio of 4.70. Smaller steps between the gears also help the engine maintain the optimal speed for maximum power at almost all vehicle speeds, especially upon corner exit of a track.

“The gear ratios are so tightly spaced that the transmission is in the right gear and the engine is at the best rpm for transitions from corners to straights,” said Link. “And with the power from the ZL1’s supercharged LT4 engine, the force you feel in your seat as you accelerate out of a turn will put a grin on your face every time.”

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Chevrolet testing has shown the ZL1 with the available 10-speed has faster shift times than the Porsche PDK dual-clutch transmission. In fact, the 1-2 upshift is 36-percent quicker than the PDK, while the 2-3 and 3-4 upshifts are 27-percent and 26-percent quicker, respectively.

Hundreds of hours were spent integrating the 10-speed’s shift performance with the unique power band of the ZL1’s supercharged 6.2L LT4 engine, which is estimated at 640 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque.

The 10-speed also has a numerically lower top gear ratio than Camaro’s eight-speed automatics, which allows the engine to run at a lower speed on the highway, enabling even greater efficiency.

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Creative packaging solutions, which had to accommodate another clutch in comparison to the eight-speed, allow the 10-speed to be the approximate size of Camaro’s other eight-speed transmission. It uses four simple gearsets and six clutches: two brake clutches and four rotating clutches. That’s only one more clutch than the eight-speed, despite having two more forward gears.

It is also the latest transmission with an all-new, proprietary electronic control system and performance calibrations. The calibration is unique for the ZL1’s high-performance-oriented driving experience, while additional applications will feature calibrations matched to their respective performance ranges.

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