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Why Lamborghini Trashed the Manual Transmission

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Updated January 2019

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 the manual transmission has almost entirely disappeared. There may legions of Camaro and mustang fans out there who want to row-their-own gears, but when it comes to supercars, wealthy buyers would much rather a superior-performing paddle shifted transmission over a manual, even it it means less engagement.

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.

SEE ALSO: Lamborghini Huracan Evo Makes Taming 640 HP Easy

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. You essentially need two entirely different software systems for manual and automatic transmission models and that, not surprisingly, is very expensive for Lamborghini.

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.

Don’t hold your breath for a new Lamborghini with a manual, either. With Lamborghini’s future vehicles to introduce electrification to the brand, manual transmissions will only become less and less common in coming years.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder Review

There aren’t many true supercars out there with a manual transmission these days. In fact, we can only think of a handful: the Porsche 911 GT3 and GT3 RS and the Corvette ZR1 and Z06. There many more manual transmission vehicles in the sports and muscle car segments, however, including the standard Porsche 911 along with the Porsche Cayman and Boxster, Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and more.

Discuss this story at our Lamborghini forum.

47 Comments

Dyler_Turden says:

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

robert lulek says:

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.

Said Al Rashdi says:

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.

CaptHatred says:

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.

Chaotic Buddhist says:

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…

Colonel Duke LaCrosse says:

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

B ob Payne says:

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

allenegg says:

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

Tim513 says:

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.

Roadster says:

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 says:

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 says:

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.