Why Lamborghini Trashed the Manual Transmission

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

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

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.

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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2 of 47 comments
  • Dougie_s Dougie_s on Jan 16, 2017

    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 Sheldon on Jul 09, 2017

    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.