Pulling through the gears under wide-open throttle is an awe inspiring, adrenaline releasing experience for just about every performance-loving guy, or gal. However, drivers and vehicles alike have limited capabilities thanks to the technology transferring the drivetrain power all the way down to the ground, known as the transmission. From automatics to manuals, and even the paddle-shifted hybrid boxes, the standard rowing equipment has been vastly altered as technology advances. Hell, four-speeds are almost extinct. Each year more efficient transmission platforms are introduced. Following suit this year, the 2014 Corvette Stingray has once again extended the bar, or the gears for that matter, making seven-speeds the new standard ‘Vette platform. The technologically advanced tranny by Tremec, dubbed the TR6070, will easily accommodate GM’s new 6.2-liter small-block LT1, boasting 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque in its most potent form.
The successful partnership between Tremec and GM is evident in the products produced and implemented in past vehicle lineups. The additional seventh gear brings along some added bonuses, but is it completely worth the extra shift? Why not just use a six-speed transmission, like the successful and strong TR6060 found in the C6 Z06? Well, it appears that GM has decided to incorporate a new seven-speed for a number of reasons, just as many other automakers have. For instance, the new C7 Corvette will benefit from increased gas millage, while still maintaining a competitive zero-to-sixty time of 3.8 seconds (Z51 Package). Thanks to perfect ratios for acceleration and a seventh gear for cruising, the ‘Vette can still do a quarter-mile in a quick twelve seconds flat while knocking down over 26 miles per gallon. With gas prices rising and never looking back, added miles between fill-ups is a welcomed benefit, especially when speaking of a high-performance sports car. However, simply getting better gas mileage isn’t convincing enough. The TR6060 was a capable transmission. What makes the TR6070 better than the TR6060?
When compared to the TR6060, the TR6070 has improved on a few components. For starters, the TR6070 synchronizers feature “hybrid” friction elements, for increased capacity, and faster synchronization time. In order to achieve an improved shift performance over the previous transmission, speed gears and shift collars have altered, asymmetrical “advanced clutching teeth.” The new TR6070 is only 42-millimeters longer than the TR6060, and weighs only 4-kilograms more, thanks to enhanced gear cross sections and hollow shaft technologies.
The new TR6070 is following in the footsteps of the TR6060, found in a few General Motors’ applications, like the C6 Z06. The TR6070 really does have the same DNA as the TR6060, if you will, coming from the same family bloodlines, and the same machinery. Both are aluminum cased, and considering the TR6060 is good for at least 600 pound-feet of torque, and the TR6070 has to be right there too. The new TR6070 still has the same electronic reverse inhibitor, output speed sensor, 1-4 “skip shift” solenoid, a reverse lamp switch, and a transmission temperature sensor. With that being said, instead of completely throwing away what was learned from the efficient TR6060, it looks like GM has simply expanded on the successes.
The gear ratio setup in the TR6070 C7 follows the TR6060 in the C6 Z06, but with an additional seventh-gear (see ratio chart). The triple overdrive tranny has close ratios and the final gear will help the new Stingray exceed the previous generation in fuel efficiency. The gearing changes slightly in the Z51 performance package C7 Stingray, having the same final drive, but slightly different ratios. The automatic version of the C7 will (again) have a six-speed paddle-shift Hydra-Matic 6L80, just for comparison sake, and the final drive ratio will be 2.56 (and 2.73 for the Z51 package).
The new Stingray shifting experience offers other great features for the driver too. For starters, the new seven-speed will be enjoyable and entertaining for the new owner to navigate, thanks to the integrated auto-blip technology. The TR6070 has an added gear position sensor, assisting in the new shift feature – rev-matching has never been easier. Whether on the upshift or downshift, the computer-assisted program will perfectly and smoothly rev-match the selected gear, making changes nearly seamless. Thankfully, the driver-assist can be switched off with the buttons on the steering wheel, for the true enthusiast, still looking to accomplish an equally revved, heel-toe gear transfer. The lightning fast gear changes are made possible by the dual-mass flywheel, coupled with the dual disc clutch, resulting in a solid shift quality and feel through a lower inertia.
Since the transmission has already been picked for the upcoming Corvette, why did Chevrolet stop at seven gears, instead of eight? Herein lies the debate. One would only image how much time and money went into the development of the Tremec TR6070. Speaking from the monetary perspective, increasing the components, gears, and other necessary hardware involved with the transmission almost always has to increase the cost of owning one. Sure, you could have the Ferrari of speed shifting and gear changing, but get ready to pay an all-out fortune for the setup. With that being said, it appears that GM and Tremec have provided a great platform for the newest ‘Vette, thankfully so, leaving it at a far more affordable starting price than similar performing cars. The TR6060 is still in production on the fifth-gen Camaro SS and the second-gen Cadillac CTS-V, and it may be a while (if at all) until this new tranny trickles down to other vehicles. So for now, it is an exclusive on the 2014 Corvette Stingray, on sale in the third quarter of 2013.