Why the Camaro and Corvette Don't Share Every Transmission
The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro comes standard in every trim level with a 6-speed manual transmission with an optional 8-speed automatic transmission for all models except for the ZL1, which comes with the new 10-speed automatic transmission as an option.
The 2018 Chevrolet Corvette comes with a standard 7-speed manual transmission or an optional 8-speed automatic in every trim.
These features have been the same since the C7 Corvette was introduced for 2014 and the Camaro for 2015. While the Camaro has the turbo-four and V6 engines not offered in the Corvette, the two Chevy performance cars share the LT1 and LT4 V8s, leading many people to wonder why those V8 engines aren’t mated to all of the same gearboxes.
Some people speculate that it is due to the fact that Chevy wants to have some differences between the two cars, but the more obvious reason that GM doesn’t just stick the same transmissions in both cars comes down to packaging.
Camaro and Corvette Driveline Differences
The Camaro and Corvette are both front ending, rear-wheel drive models, but there is one key difference between Chevy’s performance cars.
The Chevrolet Camaro uses a traditional engine-mounted transmission with a driveshaft sending the power from the transmission to the rear differential. The Chevrolet Corvette uses a rear-mounted transmission (shown above) with a "torque tube” that channels power from the engine to the transmission and that power is transferred directly from the transmission to the differential.
This physical difference between the driveline layout of the Camaro and the Corvette is the clearest reason why GM can’t just stick the 7-speed manual from the Corvette in the Camaro or the 10-speed from the ZL1 in the Corvette. This also likely plays a role in explaining why the 2019 Corvette ZR1 has the 8-speed automatic rather than the new 10-speed automatic from the ZL1.
Of course, GM could develop a rear-mount transmission for the Corvette that incorporates the technology of the new 10-speed that was developed in conjunction with Ford Motor Company and the automaker could develop a version of the Corvette’s 7-speed manual that bolts up to the back of the Camaro’s engine. However, in terms of the components currently at use in the Camaro and Corvette, the two cars don’t share their gearboxes because they have completely different driveline layouts.
Rumors of New Transmissions
While the 5th generation Camaro has relied strictly on the 6-speed manual, there are rumors that Chevrolet will eventually offer up an engine-mounted 7-speed similar to the gearbox used in the C7 Corvette. Adding a gear to the Camaro would make it a bit more efficient on the top end while also allowing the engineers to gear it more aggressively for low-end acceleration.
It had long been expected that the new Corvette ZR1 would come with a rear-mounted version of the Camaro ZL1’s 10-speed, but when it was introduced, we learned that the 755hp Vette still has the 7-speed manual or the 8-speed automatic. If GM didn’t bother to engineer a rear-mounted 10-speed for the new ZR1, it seems unlikely that they will make one anytime soon.
Of course, if the rumors are true that the C8 Corvette will transition entirely to a mid-engine design – which I do not believe is true – the company might be focusing on an entirely new gearbox design for their next generation supercar.