As a fan of rowing my own gears I have to throw my support behind manual transmissions.
I’m a fan, but many aren’t. When I bought my last two used cars I had to cast a very wide net to find a manual transmission. They don’t have a high “take rate” and some vehicles don’t even offer a manual transmission to reduce development and manufacturing costs. I can’t argue with the manufactures logic – but I do have to wonder why drivers don’t want more control.
I know what gear ratio I want and far too often an automatic transmission doesn’t, and beyond that changes the ratio when its not wanted and not change it when its needed. Some vehicles allow drivers to use things like paddle-shifters to control what gear they are in, but the shift often takes longer than a second and that’s way too late.
Porche’s PDK and VW/Audi’s dual-clutch systems amongst others use a clutch and gearbox, not an automatic transmission, to remove the need for the driver to operate a cluch and have a computer control the it for you. Porche driver’s appreciate more control over their transmission than an automatic can provide, but they can’t be the only ones.
One of the most enjoyable cars I’ve ever driven is an 80s Ford Fiesta with three cylinder with a 5spd manual. I’m certain that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy that car as much without being able to ring all I could have out of the engine.
Long live the manual transmission! We let ignition timing and choke operation slip out of our hands – lets not give up the manual transmission too!
More at www.caranddriver.com/features/10q3/save_the_manuals!-car_and_driver