A proper muscle car should have a manual gearbox. But Chevy has its reasons to believe the new automatic Camaro ZL1 is better than the manual.
That’s because of a system called the TapShift. On the face of it, it’s a normal automatic transmission with paddle shifters. What give it the edge is a unique software. For 2012, GM powertrain engineers implemented a patent-pending 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 TapShift results in a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds – a tenth of a second faster than the manual transmission time.
The Automatic ZL1 might be faster, but when you have 580hp and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm), you have to have to the manual to really enjoy it.
The ZL1 is trying too hard to be like European sports cars. What it should be doing is search for another 100 horsepower, so it can match the brute force of the new Shelby GT500.
“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,” said Eric Fedewa , director of Global Powertrain Forecasting at IHS Automotive. “We’re seeing a trend toward more manual-mode-capable, fun-to-drive automatic transmissions across all vehicle segments, and GM’s technology is leading the pack.”