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GM expects most 2012 Camaro ZL1 buyers to pick auto trans

The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will hit the streets early next year as the most powerful Camaro in the Chevrolet brand’s storied history of high performance models and while a proper 6-speed manual transmission will be offered in the ZL1, General Motors expects that more than 50% of these super-Camaros will be fitted with the 6-speed automatic transmission.

Historically, models that boast performance levels like the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 came strictly with a manual transmission as your common fluid driven automatic transmission offers too many compromises for the ease of not having to shift with some examples being the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and ZR1 – both of which only come with a manual transmission. However, thanks to the advances in transmission technology, the modern automatic transmission can be more accurately tuned for high performance so that you can have quick, precise shifts rather than the lazy gear changes that have earned these self-shifting transmissions the nickname of “slushboxes”.

The Hydra-Matic 6L90 6-speed automatic transmission offered in the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 made its debut in the 2011 base model Corvette and Cadillac V-Series vehicles, using advanced electronic controls to combine smooth shifting under normal driving circumstances with hard, crisp shifts when the car is being run hard. In the 2012 Camaro ZL1, this high tech automatic transmission will be mated with GM’s steering wheel mounted paddle shifting system which works in conjunction with the console mounted shifter – both of which can be used by the ZL1 driver to manually select gears. The combination of race car inspired paddle shifters and these performance oriented transmissions has made the automatic a far more reliable choice for those new high performance car buyers who don’t want to compromise performance for ease of use.

According to Ward’s Auto, the current Chevrolet Camaro SS has an automatic transmission take rate of 70% while the base model Chevrolet Corvette sees roughly 65% of new models packed with the Hydra-Matic 6L90 6-speed. The upside of these new transmissions are cars that are more well equipped for a combination of weekend track time and every day driving in stock form. The downside is that as more and more automatic transmissions are offered that remove the traditional compromises expected of the “slushbox” transmission, less people buy manual transmissions and as less people buy them – less companies offer them. I shudder to think of an automotive age where the fun of banging through gears is gone due to the brutal laziness of the average consumer but the improvements made to automatic transmissions, both from a performance and fuel economy standpoint, have made manual transmissions a far less appealing option to many new car buyers. Luckily, there are enough hardcore drivers who want to row their own gears to keep these transmissions alive; countering the likes of Paris Hilton who is quick to snatch up high performance, automatic shifted cars and sentence them to a life of hitting curbs and sitting in a garage.

Source: Wards Auto

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