Why Lamborghini Trashed the Manual Transmission

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Why Lamborghini Trashed the Manual Transmission

When Ferrari made the move to drop its iconic gated stick shift the Italian automaker boasted that its transmission technology had become so impressive that shifting your own gears was, at best, antiquated and at worst, robbing the car of its performance.

With the launch of the new Huracán and retirement of its Gallardo model, rival Lamborghini has now also sold its last stick shift. Their reason: no one cares.

That’s right, demand for a manual transmission has almost entirely disappeared.

SEE ALSO: Lamborghini Huracán First Look

Lamborghini-Shifter

Badgered about the lack of a manual by journalists during a tech session on the new Huracán at the automaker’s headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese last week, chief engineer Maurizio Reggiani brought up the fact that just five percent of Gallardo orders were for a manual. Mid-sentence, he was interrupted by company CEO Stephan Winkelmann who commented that the 5 percent statistic was ancient.

“Close to zero percent Gallardos were ordered in manual,” he said.

In fact, orders for a manual transmission were so few and far between admits Winkelman that every time one came in they had to go back and re-check the order form, confirming with the dealership that a mistake hadn’t been made.

Adding context Reggiani then went on to outline the complexities of offering a manual, particularly when it comes to the new high-tech control system in the new Huracán.

That car has three settings (Strada, Sport and Corsa) that adjust vehicle responses ranging from throttle and steering response to the stiffness of the magnetic ride shock absorbers. Programmed to work in harmony, taking one factor out of the equation – handing it from the computer to the driver – then makes it exponentially more complex.

Lamborghini currently offers two transmission choices in its lineup. The new Huracán is the first Lamborghini to sport a dual-clutch transmission, with the new unit using seven forward gears. The flagship Aventador makes use of a different 7-speed automated manual transmission, but with just one clutch.

GALLERY: Lamborghini Huracán

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Discuss this story at our Lamborghini forum.

  • Robert

    Anybody that pays money money for an automatic Lamborghini when there is a perfectly fine manual gearbox available is a stupid pussy

  • Andrew

    That’s a pretty ignorant comment… driving a manual is an enjoyable experience but if you’re using these cars for what they’re Intended for, having a standard transmission is nothing but a waste of time. Literally.

  • Naymyo

    The person who do not know how to switch the gear, they are using automatic-gear.
    LoL 😉

  • Steve Moon

    That’s the difference between driving and riding.

  • David P.

    I could never see myself ordering a lambo with a stick shift, it just wouldn’t fit, its like so ancient compared to everything else. I could see a manual on a muscle car but not something like a supercar

  • Bentleydoc

    If you’re stupid enough to be switching gears with a manual stick at 150mph with a $400k car then you sir are an idiot. At top speeds these cars need you to have both hands at the wheel. And if you use these cars for cruising at 80mph then you don’t deserve to drive them.

  • Charcoal Rollins

    The people for whom learning to switch the gears was a major achievement, they are having trouble letting go of their hard won skilz.

  • Charcoal Rollins

    True. An a car is a machine not a horse. Auto with a good manual mode – best of both worlds.

  • 4ArthurDent

    And that pussy is kicking your ass around a track

  • White Shadow

    Last time I checked, not much shifting is required at or above 150 MPH. Do you know how to drive a manual transmission vehicle, Bentlydoc?

  • White Shadow

    The people who never learned to drive manuals are having trouble understanding the driving fun and satisfaction that goes along with a manual transmission sports car.

  • Rickers

    New meme: Do you even know how to shift?

  • Ying Lee

    I agree. It’s all about the latest technology…. and as cool as manuals are… I want a dual-clutch unit on my supercar (not that I could afford one).

  • White Shadow

    Sure bud. Been driving stick for more than 25 years now. No matter what kind of car you drive, you can easily get into top gear at 60 MPH, which means there is no reason to shift at or above 150 MPH on ANY car. My car will drive just fine in top gear (which is 6th gear on my car) at 45 MPH and will pull all the way up to 168 MPH (which is my top speed) without ever shifting out of 6th gear at all. So no, there’s no need to shift when you’re at high speeds. This should be obvious to anyone who drives stick.

  • Juan

    Except the car isn’t going to go NEARLY as fast when you start at 6th at 45 MPG. Driving stick: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

  • Old Ted

    There is a Youtube video of a new 2015 Hennessey Corvette running up through the gears to 200 mph. The guy was driving with one hand and held what looks like a deadman switch in the other. No problem for him to drive the car at those speeds. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have put a lot of miles on a ’68 Ram Air 400 Firebird, COPO Chevelle, L35 Chevelle, a couple of L78 Chevelles, a 455 Lermans. Nice mix of stick and automatic. And no, you wouldn’t be driving them at 200 mph. To me, half of the enjoyment of these cars was the horsepower and the other half was the stick shift. The automatic cars were sold because they were automatic. Our everyday vehicle is standard too. With a lifetime of experience shifting a stick car, it becomes second nature. Buy what you like, they all have their positives and negatives. It amazes me that you guys get so wound up about such a simple thing.

  • hdude

    First off…even if you track such cars every so often, chances are that you’ll mostly be crusing at such speeds (120km to 130km) on highways if you drive them on a regular basis. Next….at 150mph (or 240km depending on how you measure your speeds), chances are you’re already in the highest gear remotely possible (even for a 500 to 600+ HP car). So FINALLY….I’m going to assume you have no or little experience with driving a manual transmission anyways, which unfortunately makes you sir an IDIOT for making such a comment.

  • hdude

    I also highly doubt that those that do buy such supercars with these auto-manuals rarely….if ever have them in manual mode anyways.

  • CaptainDingaling

    So few people ordered a stick shift because Lamborghini is just another show car for rich snobs that buy it for what it is rather than enjoying what it can do. No car junky would buy a car like this and want it auto. It’s no fun. Shifting a car is a true test of skill and enjoyment. Oh Well, even if I was rich I wouldn’t buy either brand for the reason they don’t have a stick. I hate paddle shifters. I’m Thankful that American Sports Cars still carry that traditions, still offer more power, and still do it cheaper and plus you can still change your own oil even if the car does cost 150K.

  • Derek Palmer

    When it comes to a manual transmission, versus the automated, computer-controlled, paddle shifted offerings, I’m reminded of the old Woody Allen movie, “Sleeper”. In the movie, people of the future stepped into the “Orgasmatron” and achieved an instant orgasm. While I’m sure that the Orgasmatron was faster and more efficient, call me stupid for preferring to have an orgasm the old fashioned way.

  • hdude

    That’s assuming that driver(s) knows what they’re doing behind the wheel on the track. That being said, those driver(s) with limited and no such driver experience (exp manual transmission or general knowledge of gear changing) very likely don’t know.

  • ForeverOK

    Yeh, Europeans are laughing at Americans because so many Americans don’t know how to drive manual.

  • Jason

    Ok, so I learned to drive on a manual transmission. I can say I have never driven a Lamborghini but I have driven a Corvette ZR1 spec’d out to destroy one. It was a manual. Maybe the technology exists in these super cars to rival the immediate torque you can generate when driving a manual. That for me is the key. You can run gears as high as you want. You have instant torque with a manual that I have never experienced in a automatic. As smart as a car can be it still cannot mimick what your brain wants to do with the manual immediately. Performance wise can they match this? I don’t know. Perhaps they can since F1 cars are paddle shifter. My question is why a Corvette that can dust a Ferrari or Lamborghini (they guy that owns it has had both and the Vette’ out performed both) would go with manual for peak performance. Maybe I change my mind in a test ride but hard to believe.

  • SubAtomicCherry

    Okay, I’m still pretty young, but this upsets me because I’ve always wanted to drive stick, and I’ve never even driven automatic in my life. My dad set me down behind a manual transmission car and told me to learn it. I’m a 17-yr-old girl.

    I’ve always wanted a Lamborghini and to see they’ve trashed stick is like a punch in the heart.

  • Moe Sizlak

    The newer computer controlled automatics have been shown to out perform any manual transmission under any circumstance whether it be the road or track. A brain may think faster, but reaction time to the hand and foot is much slower.

  • RandyPants

    Poor Euro’s are laughing at Americans, well to do Euro’s are opting for automatics more frequently. I picked up my last BMW at the Welt in Munich. The delivery specialist was excited because it was one of the few deliveries he had done with a manual gearbox. I figured he meant that because I was one of the few Americans who takes delivery at the Welt he was excited to see me opt for the manual. Not the case, he clarified that more and more Euro’s are not getting manual gearboxes in BMW’s. Their latest 8 spd auto gearbox is apparently so good that even Euro’s are ditching the stick. It’s apparently the same for MB’s. I am quite certain that Citroen’s still do brisk business in manuals.

    Also since mass trans is so ubiquitous and cheap in YURP, most Euro’s opt to take public trans whenever possible; unless of course they have the means to actually be able to drive when they want.

  • Bryan Boettcher

    The dead-mans switch was the manual nitrous he hit in 6th gear.

  • James

    The new automatics in many high performance cars use a dual clutch system instead of a torque converter, so they effectively function as computer controlled manual transmissions. You get the instant torque and more effecient power transfer of a manual transmission, with shifts that happen faster than a human is capable of, and computer controlled rev matching to insure smooth shifts. From a performance standpoint the new dual clutch automatic transmissions are superiour to both manual transmissions and conventional automatic transmissions.

  • Dyler_Turden

    Lambo customers these days buy it to impress the neighbors, not because they are auto enthusiasts…it hurts my heart.

  • CaptHatred

    I clearly remember a 1999 toyota supra, with a twin turbo, manual transmission, kick the living crap out of a lambo, a ferrari, and a MB. Sooo…….. Auto transmissions are for tards?……Probably.

  • Colonel Duke LaCrosse

    I now understand why stupid chicks in miniskirts and heels can drive a Lamborghini.

  • I drive an automatic because I’m old and don’t want to shift anymore, but when I was in my youth I wouldn’t drive anything but a manual because of everything you just said…

  • brkshr

    While I agree with all of this. I still find it more satisfying to use my brain and all of my limbs harmoniously to drive a vehicle.

  • Derek Godwin

    There’s no questioning whether or not a computer controlled transmission can shift quicker than a manual one operated by a human. The difference lies solely in the anticipation. Say you’re in a straight but it leads to a chicane. A human driving can anticipate this and down shift accordingly. The auto transmissions can’t see what is ahead therefore cannot anticipate what the driver is going to want to do. This is why the closest thing you see in automotive racing to an automatic is a sequential gearbox.

  • B ob Payne

    Rich guys (and gals) prefer a pussyomatic…..not a big surprise.

  • allenegg

    I’ll take a manual gearbox over an auto anytime. I’m 71 and I have been driving manuals since 64 when I bought my first car. And , I believe that I am not old enough to be shiftless. I like driving my car , not just aiming it. At present I own a 4 , 5, and 6 spd cars. The 4 and 6spds are Corvettes

  • Jesse Foulk

    I learned to drive stick first in my lawn tractor. Started back when I was eh….14 or so. Hadnt driven a stick shift car on a daily basis til I was 29. Learning it in a car was rather close enough that I knew what was happening and when it needed to happen that I learned quick.

  • Slava Basat

    see 60s dump trucks with 3 transmission shifters

  • rey

    that’s what paddle shifters are there for…

  • robert lulek

    I own a Lamborghini Roadster. I assure you I did not buy it to impress my neighbors or anyone else for that matter. I bought it TO ENJOY FOR MYSELF. Matter of fact it is somewhat of a pain in the ass the commotion it can cause etc… I guess that is part of the whole experience with owning a super car.

  • Tim513

    Looks like a (sad) combination of:
    – Most enthusiasts not being able to afford them and instead buying much cheaper cars which could provide at least 98% of the fun. (like a European Lotus, or American Corvette)

    – Most buyers were just wealthy and want an expensive show car.

    – People that wanted the fastest option for racing.

    – People not being able to try the gated manual because dealers were not keeping them as demo’s because they were worried about moving them on.

    – And people who would otherwise order a manual instead getting the auto because they were scared about resale value.

  • Said Al Rashdi

    Lambo is the most exciting and thrilling car in the world. So no, we dont give a damn about the neighbours, we actually enjoy the free-fall-like acceleration and the perfect handling.

  • Roadster

    A classic argument with no winner. A am prejudiced towards cars with a proper manual gearbox and three pedals. Anything less is just for poseurs. Luckily I am currently living in Northern Europe where manual gearboxes are much more prevalent here and it is a joy to be able to get a manual even in mid-size SUVs. Yes, technically the automated manuals are faster but so boring, pedal on the right means go, pedal on the left means stop. They can have my manual gearbox when they peel my cold dead fingers off of the gear shift…

  • dougie_s

    that’s because the overwhelming majority of buyers for these ultra-expensive cars are poseurs. they don’t care about anything but the status these cars represent. most true car buffs who would want a manual transmission cannot afford these cars.

  • Sheldon

    When I was younger we all wanted a manual gearbox because it was like a race car. Now, all the race cars have automatics. Ever listen to a formula car going around the track? No human can shift that fast. It’s all personal preference. My manual Porsche is a lot of fun to drive — on the open road. In heavy traffic it’s a pain in the butt. I will say, however, that driving a stick is a skill every driver should have.

  • Sheldon

    It’s the driver who anticipates what’s coming up, not the transmission.

  • Sheldon

    Excellent point — “not that I could afford one.” I seriously doubt anyone in these comments can afford a supercar, so it’s a lot easier to put down those who can. Is this thread about auto vs. stick, or putting down the one percenters?