2012 Camaro ZL1’s TapShift Automatic Transmission Explained‎ image

General Motors is promoting its newly improved TapShift technology in the 2012 Camaro ZL1 that the American automaker is claiming is better than the manual. But what it is?

On the face of it, it’s a normal automatic transmission with paddle shifters. What give it the edge is a unique software. The improvement in delay between shifts is about 200-300 milliseconds, according to Chevy, but only in sequence up the range.

By staging hydraulic pressure in the clutch for the next gear, the new control module algorithm reduces tap delay for the 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5 up-shifts by 200-300 milliseconds. The system anticipates shift requests based on current gear, throttle, torque and speed. By pre-filling the clutch for the next gear, the tap up-shift response is near instantaneous.

Staged up-shifts will help drivers of the 2012 ZL1 – the most powerful production Camaro ever – get the most out of its supercharged 6.2L engine that is SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm).

That’s the reason Chevy is claiming that the 2012 ZL1 six-speed automatic can deliver a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, which is a tenth of a second faster than the manual transmission-equipped ZL1.

The new ZL1 Coupe will go on sale in spring as a 2012 model with the Convertible following in the summer as a 2013 model. Chevrolet is expecting that half of the ZL1 vehicles sold will be with an automatic transmission.