More and more manufactures are producing vehicles with what I call fake manual transmissions.
Manual transmission have a clutch and provide the driver with the ability to use all of the engines potential through a whole range of situations including the higher revs past the peak torque of the engine. A manual transmission is pure mechanical coupling of the engine to the drive train in a very efficient manner. For even more fun try some of the new sequentially shifter manual transmissions, actually makes more sense to drive.
An Automatic transmission is not so efficient converting the engine output to hydraulic energy, then to the drive train. An automatic transmission slips, looses energy to heat and in modern cars a computer determines what gear you should be in, not what gear you want or shift when you want it.
Automatics are great for freeway driving, they provide a smooth transition from stop to cruising speeds and it’s one less distraction for the driver to attend to. Manual transmissions are great for fuel economy, a blast for “spirited” driving and in my opinion should be mandatory for a true sports car.
Many manufacturers try and bridge from Luxury to Sports cars and provide fake manual transmissions. You can shift them manually or put them in auto, but provide no clutch pedal. If you are in the shift mode and forget to shift it will shift for you. If you put it in Sport mode it will just shift at a higher RPM. I’m sorry, but that’s not a manual transmission.
Fewer than 10% of the cars sold in the US last year had a manual transmission, so it’s easy to see why manufactures would move to this trend of fake manual transmissions. Granted Americans are advocates of waste and excess so why not drive an inefficient higher resale car equipped with an automatic?
American drivers are too busy texting and talking on their mobile phones to be bothered by shifting the gears, so I can now foresee a time when my kids ask me what that extra pedals is for and a real manual transmission will be worth more than an automatic transmission. Electric cars don’t even have a transmission.
It’s a sign of the times and along with rotary telephones and vinyl records, the extra pedal will soon be a thing of the past and my grandkids will laugh at, but I wish they would stop calling these semi-automatics “Manual Transmissions”, because they aren’t.