Look at that guy on the stock image who runs the new Chevrolet Corvette by 2020. He knows the excitement with 495 horsepower right behind the back. He bask in the sun while it shines on his face. What he does not – what he unfortunately will never do – is to shift gears with a stick and a clutch pedal.
Thanks to the Motor Authority, we have now confirmed that the new mid-engine Corvette's only gearbox selection will be its eight-speed dual-clutch unit and not a traditional manual transmission. This probably comes as a blow to Corvette's faithful, who have always had the choice of a stick or a machine.
But that's not very surprising. Since we got hold of a nice order guide several months ago, it has easily appeared that there was no true manual in the cards for the new C8. It has basically been DCT or nothing since it came.
But please, let Corvette engineering chief Tadge Juechter lay out in sharp terms:
When I asked Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter at the disclosure of Corvette 2020 on Thursday, if there is any chance that the manual will come back, he simply replied, "No."
Juechter said that a manually-equipped Corvette would not sell well enough to make it worth a vendor's effort to develop.
"We couldn't find anyone honest who would be willing to do that. Just like the automation, DCT, it had to be a tailor-made manual," said Juechter. "There is little volume, very expensive. The reason is that it is a low volume industry. That industry is about to die – to build manual transmissions. "
Dying," he says! There are no chords here. As DCTs and even torque converter-based automobiles get better and
run and nail lap times that are so important to the marketing copy, and since electrification makes them increasingly irrelevant, we're really in a time where manuals are an endangered species.
It's even true to legitimate sports cars like Corvette. Juechter told the site that the manual usage rate of "Vette fell to only 15 percent, and it is true even on really hardcore models like Z06. Fifteen percent! On the Z06! "And as soon as we offer the automation, all the machines buy," said Juechter.
Well, we have no one to blame ourselves, I guess.
But as cool as a manual, naturally aspirated, the V8 mid-engine car would be in 2019, I'm not very sad. I'm sure DCT will do the job just fine. Almost all supercars roll like this anyway anyway. If you don't like it, you should have purchased several manual Corvettes.
Continue to the Motor Authority for more information, including the challenges of building and placing the transmission in the new car.