The DCT offers higher performance at a lower cost.
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is the first generation in the car’s 67-year history to not offer a manual transmission. Don’t expect to see such a box on future performance models, either – the C8’s Chief Engine Tadge Juechter has said repeatedly that a manual won’t come to the C8, specifically calling it “a dying business.” This video from Morgan Crosbie on YouTube goes a bit further in explaining that decision, with insight from his perspective as both a new C8 owner and a sales associate at a GM dealership in Canada.
It’s likely you already know much of what’s mentioned here, but this video goes a bit further by addressing some statistics. It all starts – as do most business decisions – with money. It’s no secret that very few people buy cars with manual transmissions in the U.S., and that applies to the Corvette. Specifically, Crosbie says 23 percent of C7 Corvettes were sold with a manual. That’s actually well above the U.S. average of just 1.1 percent for all cars in 2019, but it was hard for Corvette engineers to justify adding a manual option when the vast majority of buyers don’t want it.
That’s especially true when considering the extensive changes brought about by moving the engine behind the driver. Crosbie explains that the C8’s center-spine chassis design simply didn’t allow space for mechanical linkages without adding significant production costs. Structural rigidity aside, the engine placement also made it hard to run mechanical linkages. Drive-by-wire components could’ve been substituted, but that’s basically what a DCT is anyway.
Gallery: Corvette C8 DCT Deep Dive Screenshots
Crosbie confesses that he didn’t go into the DCT world lightly, having previously owned a C7 Corvette with the seven-speed stick. He spends the second half of the video talking about the benefits the dual-clutch setup offers over the traditional manual, focusing primarily on the speed of the shifts. He demonstrates how the transmission operates, with the driver able to shift gears anytime without engaging manual mode. Flipping the full-time manual switch, however, keeps the C8 in manual mode whereas it would otherwise revert back to automatic shifting six seconds after using the paddles. The eight-speed also offers a better range of cogs for acceleration and low-RPM highway cruising.
We know there are plenty of enthusiasts out there who lament the death of the traditional manual transmission. This clip makes a pretty good case for the dual-clutch gearbox, and there’s certainly no denying the performance advantages it offers. Still, might Chevrolet lose customers by not offering an old-school manual? The first-year C8 sales suggest that’s not an issue, but what about in later years when the new-model excitement wears thin?