Chevrolet Says the Camaro ZL1's 10-Speed Automatic Is Faster than Porsche's PDK

Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 is available with an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission called Hydra-Matic. The Bowtie brand says their new automatic unit is faster than a dual-clutch, and comes with the optimal gearing spread for best performance and efficiency.
2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 4 photos
Photo: Chevrolet
2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL12017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 10-speed transmission
Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 is claimed to be the world’s first volume production car to be available with a 10-speed automatic gearbox, an accomplishment which appears to be accurate, as there is no another passenger car with such a transmission available today.

While some automakers provide their sports cars with dual-clutch automatic transmissions or sequential-manual units, General Motors chose a conventional torque converter solution, but utilized a new design from scratch to develop their fastest gearbox ever.

General Motors engineers focused on a gearing combination that would allow the supercharged LT4 V8 engine to be in the best rpm range both in corners and in straight lines. Furthermore, Chevrolet claims the automatic has been optimized to maintain optimum engine speed at almost all vehicle speeds, particularly when exiting a corner on track.

The transmission has four gearsets and six clutches. Out of these, two are brake clutches, and four are rotating ones. Compared to the eight-speed automatic on the Camaro, it only has one more clutch, in spite of the fact that it features two extra gears.

Naturally, the top gear ratio is lower than the eight-speed automatic on the Camaro, which provides a lower rpm range at highway speeds, an element which improves fuel economy when the car is in regular driving conditions.

Chevrolet’s internal testing revealed that a Camaro ZL1 with a 10-speed automatic transmission is faster than the equivalent Porsche PDK dual-clutch unit. While not mentioned in the press release, we presume General Motors has benchmarked it with a comparable Porsche 911.

According to Chevrolet, the upshift action from 1st gear to 2nd is 36% quicker on the Camaro’s 10-speed automatic than on Porsche’s PDK unit. The PDK transmission from Porsche is only 27% slower than Chevrolet’s 10-speed automatic on the shift from second to third gear.

Meanwhile, the shift from third to fourth is 26% faster on Camaro ZL1’s 10-speed gearbox than on the Porsche PDK, Chevrolet claims.

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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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