The newest and fastest version of the Corvette is the fastest there ever was. In fact, the C8 Z06 Corvette is set to have the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine ever put in a production car. Additionally, its mid-engine layout and track development is sure to guarantee it’s an absolute monster on a race track. However, automotive enthusiasts have asked repeatedly for one feature since the launch of the C8 Corvette. They want a manual transmission. No matter how better the dual-clutch auto is, stubborn manual elitists still suggest the car would be better with a manual transmission. That begs the question; will Chevy give in to their requests?
Chevrolet has no plans to make a manual Z06 Corvette
According to GM Authority, the answer is a pretty definite no. At least, for the time being.
During a presentation about the new Z06 Corvette, a group of Chevrolet executives at Petit Le Mans took questions about the car. People asked the execs if the new Z06 would come with a manual transmission. The answer was a resounding no. However, Josh Holder, Corvette engineering manager, went on to provide a diplomatic “never say never” response.
The Z06 is a road-going version of the C8.R racecar that has now won Chevy back-to-back International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) championships. In the race car, the transmission used is a sequential unit. It uses paddle shifters, too, just like the road-going Z06 will. So, while the purist may demand a manual transmission, the dual-clutch automatic is actually more representative of the race car it is homologating.
All of this, combined with the fact that C8 Corvettes are selling like hotcakes with no manual option, pretty well seals the fate of any hopeful holdouts. Times are changing, and, unfortunately, manual transmissions just aren’t the fastest way around a track anymore.
There are plenty of sports cars that still offer a manual transmission, though. One can even buy a Cadillac CT5-V with a supercharger-fed V8 and a manual transmission. However, alongside the Corvette abandoning its front-engine layout came it abandoning the manual transmission.
Would a manual C8 Corvette even sell?
Yes, but probably not as well as the auto. Often, you’ll find folks complaining the most about the C8 Corvette lacking a manual offering are the ones that can’t afford one in the first place. The manual Corvette was dying long before the C8’s release. So, to think Chevrolet would develop a manual transmission and production technique to sell to a remarkably niche group of folks is laughable. Even more so when considering that the C8 has been titled the fastest-selling car in America multiple times.
According to Corvette Blogger, over 73 percent of all C7 Corvettes sold were automatic. If you’ll recall, all variants of the C7 Corvette were available with a manual transmission. That includes performance variants like the Z06 and ZR1. So, history proves that Corvette buyers want automatics. Ultimately, when combining sales history with the unmatchable performance of the automatic transmission in the C8 Corvette, the murky water seems to clear up quite nicely. The future of the Corvette is automatic, and we’ll all just have to live with that.
It’ll be tough to focus on crying while pinned in the seat, accelerating to 60 mph in under three seconds.