The manual transmission is a dying breed.
Over the past decade, numerous automakers have begun phasing out the manual transmission for dual-clutch units and more fuel-efficient automatics. Tragically, that means many of our favorite sports cars are ushering in a new generation without a stick shift, making many of us quite sad as driving enthusiasts.
Then there are other sports cars where a manual transmission was never even offered as an option, like the Nissan GT-R. Unfortunately, sales figures don’t lie, and for many automakers, the take rate for manual transmissions is so low that it’s no longer worth the cost to develop a compatible unit – especially for cars pumping out ridiculous amounts of torque and require more robust transmissions. Automatics are also often faster and more efficient than manuals.
Here are our picks for the top 10 cars we’re sad no longer come with manual transmissions.
It might seem like it took forever to arrive, but the all-new Acura NSX is finally here and it’s missing a manual transmission. Sadly, Acura’s entire lineup now lacks a manual transmission and it appears the Japanese automaker has no intentions of going back, and for pretty legit reasons. The NSX is so high-tech now and a manual transmission just doesn’t suit the car’s philosophy any longer. The original NSX had a five or six-speed manual and a four-speed automatic (that absolutely no one bought).
Audi TT RS
Despite rumors that the new Audi TT RS would come with a manual transmission, that is sadly not the case. The German automaker recently introduced the latest version of its hot sports coupe packing 400 horsepower from a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine but no stick shift in tow. The only transmission available now is Audi’s slick seven-speed S Tronic.
The Audi R8 is one of those brilliant sports cars that not only looks great, but is also a blast to drive. Unfortunately, a lot of the fun has gone out now that the company stopped offering it with a manual transmission for its latest generation. If you’re hankering for an R8 where you can row your own gears, you will have to settle for the previous-generation Audi R8, which was offered with a gorgeous-looking gated manual shifter.
The next-generation BMW M5 has been spied testing and it won’t be available with a manual transmission. In fact, BMW is phasing out the manual transmission option on the M5 later this year – so if you want one, you better act fast. Many enthusiasts are upset about this, but the ethos of the M5 has changed so much from its glory days. Plus, at least the new M2 is still available with a manual.
Like the BMW M5, the BMW M6 will also be losing its manual transmission. According to the head of BMW’s M division, demand on the manual transmission has dropped to zero on the M6. What’s crazier is that the current manual transmission was designed specifically for the U.S. market and it wasn’t cheap to develop a unit to control all 500 pound-feet of torque.
The new Cadillac CTS-V might be a formidable opponent to Germany’s high-powered sedans, but Cadillac also decided to scrap the manual transmission with the latest model. It’s understandable, too, considering the Cadillac CTS-V features a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine with 640 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque.
Is it truly sad that even the best exotics in the world no longer offer manual transmissions. Although there are a few manual transmission Ferrari Californias roaming around, the last Ferrari most enthusiasts tie to a manual shifter is the 599.
With the introduction of the Lamborghini Huracan, which replaced the Gallardo, Lamborghini decided to dump the manual transmission. Then-CEO Stephan Winkelmann said that nearly zero percent of Gallardos were ordered with a manual transmission and it was so bad that when an order did come through with a manual, the automaker had to go and double check the order form to confirm that it wasn’t a mistake.
It might not be a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, but the Mercedes-Benz SLK was one of the few luxury roadsters that offered a manual transmission. But alas, the German automaker replaced the SLK with the new SLC-Class and out went the manual transmission. In fact, you will have a really tough time finding any Mercedes-Benz model these days with a manual transmission.
Porsche 911 GT3
When Porsche introduced its latest-generation 911 GT3 at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, enthusiasts were appalled that there wasn’t a manual transmission. So much so that Porsche recently created the purist’s 911 R, which is like a GT3 but with a manual. Now, the German automaker has seen the error of its ways and will re-introduce a manual transmission for its next-generation 911 GT3. The big question is, why aren’t other automakers following in Porsche’s footsteps? Maybe Porsche drivers are the only ones that actually buy manual transmissions?
[Update: The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 has returned with a manual transmission! Read about it here.]