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The Future Of The Manual Transmission

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  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    I've said all along, I think the manual will gradually disappear from "mainstream" cars...eventually cars like an Accord or Camry will be all auto or some type of paddle shifer (2 pedals). But, you'll be able to get a stick in "specialty" cars like a Porsche or Ferrari or BMW M5 -as long as the market demands it.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    And that's precisely the market I'd think would demand it.

    Good, they're not all poseurs like me...

    [-)
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,705
    But, you'll be able to get a stick in "specialty" cars like a Porsche or Ferrari

    I think somebody posted that 80% of all Ferraris are ordered with the 2 pedal F1 paddle-shift, sounds about right.

    Stick shifts are hard to come by in the extreme exotica category (supercars)-Ferrari Enzo and Saleen S7 have paddle-shifts only, Mercedes SLR has a TC-based automatic (Manumatic I assume). The Porsche Carrera GT does have a lever and three pedals.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    If 80% are paddle, that means the 20% are stick...

    I'm just saying, I don't think the stick will ever totally go away ....it might eventually be viewed as an anachronism and only available on something like a Morgan, (just like side curtains), it might get harder and harder for the "average" person to buy one, but it won't totally go away.

    I look at it almost like convertibles....30,40 years ago just about every car on the road had a convertible option. Now, very few do....most convertibles are "specialty" cars.... I think you'll see something similar with a "3 pedal" manual... the "average" car will have some type of auto or CVT (or maybe some SMG type thing)...the "pure" manual will be in cars like a Porsche or Miata, not many others.
  • shiphroshiphro Posts: 62
    I saw that Kobe Bryant had an automatic transmission put into a yellow Lamborghini Murcielago for his wife since she can't drive stick. I think the modification ran $100,000. :lemon:
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    You'll have to pry a manual transmission from my cold dead hands.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    ditto

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    Manual trannies, and clutches in particular, get a lot of bad press for wearing out and being a general pain. Well, I'm here to tell you that well-made manual gearboxes with clutches are cheaper, more efficient, and last longer than auto trannies. I have 181K miles on my '95 Mazda Protege (bought new) with both the original clutch and 5 speed manual transmission and both still work great. The car gets 38 mpg on the highway, cost $1,000 less than the auto option, and I can even pull a 400 lb. ATV/utility trailer with it. I have been pulling this ATV since 67K miles and it gets 25-30MPG with trailer in tow. All this from a very meager 1.5 liter engine. In fact, the low gearing of this manual makes it the ONLY desirable choice to fully utilize the engines power and torque. So for small cars and small engines, long live the manual!
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'll second that.

    I have a 1995 Maxima SE with 154,000 miles on the original clutch. And I haven't babied it. If it ever becomes necessary to replace the clutch, it's less than a $500 repair, parts and labor.

    I also have a 2004 Acura TL 6-speed. Exceptional short throw and smooth clutch. Two friends have 2002 TL's and they are on their 2nd and third automatic transmissions in less than 45,000 miles each. Acura is covering them under warranty - for now - but what a pain in the rear.

    A third friend mistakenly bought a new 2004 BMW M3 SMG. The car has been back to the dealer at least 5 times for everything from standing start hesitation to 1-2 and 2-3 gear shift "shudders". He is in negotiation for them to give him his money back and sell him a 6-speed manual. A REAL 6-speed manual.

    That's great news that somebody posted regarding the M5 being offered in a manual 6-speed due to US demand. I am seriously going to get my name back on the list.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,965
    My wife INSISTS that all our cars have a 5 speed! :)

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  • black_tulipblack_tulip Posts: 438
    My wife INSISTS that all our cars have a 5 speed!
    Yes, but does she want autos or manuals? :D
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,965
    She like 3 pedals!

    Her words... she feels like she has more control, especially in the winter!

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  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,306
    I would concur on the winter thing, feel much better in control. My 96 MT GA with 230K + on the odo has seen a lot of greasy weather. (still original clutch also, must have got a good one)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,965
    With an automatic, as soon as you put it in gear, the car wants to go 5mph if you're not holding the brake. When you find yourself of VERY slick surfaces, being able to toy with the clutch can make all the difference in being able to move in a direction that YOU would like to!

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  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    I think probably 95% of people here prefer a stick.... you're preaching to the choir... the problem is, the 90% of the public that aren't car nuts usually prefer an auto.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,965
    I wouldn't call my 16 year old daughter a car nut, but I've certainly infected her with an appreciation of driving stick! She just got her license about a week ago, taking her road test at school with the instructor there. But after six months of learning on our manuals, the in-car portion of driver's ed was conducted primarily in cars with automatics. She complained that her left foot didn't know what to do with itself...LOL

    The school does have one vehicle with manual in the driver's ed carpool. I think it's a new Beetle, and they do get everyone to at least learn how to operate it so the kids will have experienced stick at least once!

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    Get an old MB...with 2nd gear start, the thing barely moves when in the main gear, and on any kind of uphill surface does not move at all.

    A stick can be fun, esp in the right car, but in tight traffic...I do prefer an automatic.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    boo hiss!

    :-P

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    On snow, a torque converter and a second gear start can be your new best friends. OTOH, so can FWD (blecch).

    I got yer control, right here...
    ]-P
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    Give me a ZF 5-speed W112 300SE fintail (rumor has it a few were made), and I'll take it. Let me drive in light traffic with few idiots cutting in front of me etc...and I'll take it. But in my hilly suburban sprawl loaded with frazzled housewives in SUVs and octogenerians in Caddy's, I like one less thing to remember.

    On that note, my 126 isn't bad in snow...take offs from a stop are drama-free with the 2nd gear start and primitive traction control...but some other dynamics are lacking.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Kind of funny; the pictures of the M5 that NewsWheel have on their page show an SMG transmission. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • zillzzillz Posts: 21
    As those of us dedicated to Volkswagen are well aware of, sales have been slipping in the US for 3 straight years, which will likely become 4. The New Jetta V is supposed to thwart this, but it's scary when every other person is comparing its looks to a Toyota Corolla, and although it's only been out just under 2 months, sales are not setting the world on fire. Add to that the former owners who remain sour with the coilpack and window regulator issues of a while ago, and what you end up with are loyal VW people like me who are very concerned. There are some who say that VW's days in the US are limited, which is the last thing peole like me want to read. First of all, out of curiosity, I wondered what others' thoughts are on this site : A) Is this alarmist? or B) Do you agree that VWoA will pull out? I can't imagine there being no Volkswagen here, but I have a couple of other questions: C) If VW pulls out of the US, would a person living here still be able to import one? and D) If VW pulled out, would Audi automatically be gone as well?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,710
    VW's problem here is not styling. Their biggest problem by far is their image of being trouble-prone cars. Whether that is accurate or not is not the issue. The "perception" among many (myself being one, having owned a troublesome VW) is that is the case.

    When the VW Touareg first came out I was very excited and thought it to be a superb addition to the SUV landscape. Well, the longer that vehicle has been out, the more problems have shown up. Also, the Touareg got lousy marks in CR regarding reliability.

    I shouldn't just pick on VW in this respect, as Mercedes also has the reliability image problems. In fact poor reliability seems to be a "European disease," with VW and Benz both having a severe case. Once the customer loses trust in a brand, it is very, VERY hard to get those people back. This is especially true as the Japanese brands just get better and better.

    Frankly, I'm not sure VW can recover.

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,710
    You probably should have started a new thread on this topic, as it really has nothing to do with manual transmissions.

    But to continue on my thought posted above: I think the Europeans and VW have a tough road ahead. Once customers become wary of the product, it will take years for them to get those old customers back—and that's assuming the quality can match or better the Japanese brands—and the jury is still out on that.

    Bob
  • zillzzillz Posts: 21
    Actually, I thought I WAS starting a new thread, and somehow it got intertwined in the manual transmission thread.I apparently did something wrong. Yes, Consumer Reports doesn't help, but they have given VW bad reliability ratings for years, and sales didn't start plummeting until 2002. What the real shame is, is that the average person shopping for a new car doesn't realize that mathematically, CR's reviews are meaningless. So VW gets a black mark in a category such as "electrical." All this means is that over 15% of the Consumers' Union, but probably no more than 20%, which make up a minute percentage of all VW owners, had a problem in this area. This leaves 80% as being fine, but as they say, bad things roll downhill. I will admit that the Japanese deserve credit where credit is due, and their cars cost less, too. I am trying very hard to stay loyal to VW, and just hope enough others do, too.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    As a keeper of the sacred order of the manual transmission ;) can we move this talk to the VW topic in "news and views"?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    that VW's optional automatic in the New Jetta has more speeds than their standard manual? This is the next evolution we are going to see, while the adoption of CVTs continues to trend upwards. Eventually CVTs will be widespread, I think, but that is still 15-20 years distant. And I am sure VW Group will stubbornly hang on to their new DSG for a while (and so they should - it is a technological marvel).

    A year ago, I was much more worried than I am today about the disappearance of manuals. I think traditional manuals will disappear in most of their usual applications, but WILL stick around in sporty cars. Maybe the thing with the M5 has given me false hope, I dunno.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,914
    Merci beaucoup, kev. If it's not specifically about the future of manual transmissions, head over to Reliability and long-term costs of ownership - MB, BMW, VW/AUDI compared

    kirstie_h
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  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,710
    Kirstie, can we get that thread also linked to the "News & Views" area? I think it will open it up to a much wider audience. Thanks?

    Bob
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