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Paddle shifters for future Lotus cars ...


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(http://www.evo.co.uk/features/features/290116/death_of_the_manual_gearbox.html)

 

Interesting article in Evo discussing the possibility/inevitability of losing manual gearboxes. They note that Ferrari and Porsche (and their customers with their respective current line-ups) are all but abandoning manual boxes in favour of semi-auto dual-clutch transmissions. McLaren, of course, would not even dream of offering anything so 'archaic' as a manual box ...

 

Most people, here, seem to be self-confessed petrolheads, or at the very least, motoring enthusiasts, so how would you feel if the next generation of Lotus cars in the next few years (well, fingers crossed for that!) were to be exclusively launched with a new, cross-platform semi-auto dual-clutch paddle shift system? It is pretty firmly 'de rigueur' on the vast majority of new sports cars and I can't see that Lotus would have the money to 'also' develop/buy in a manual alternative, although a future deal with an engine supplier might bring the choice of both transmissions with it, I suppose.

 

Personally, I love the manual shift and would definitely mourn its passing; perhaps I'm just a little archaic that way myself! Lotus are often criticised for their gear shifts so perhaps it is the way forwards ...

Edited by Bee
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I have no issue with a paddle shifter. If it enables me do drive with more precision, maybe a little bit quicker, then that's a good thing. I don't see it as automatic, I still have control as to whic

Think it's all going to go that way as it's more emission friendly I seem to remember reading.

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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The 7 and 9 speed autos are better for emissions as there's more chance of the engine being in it's more efficient rpm range at a given time.

 

I enjoyed the IPS Evoras, they were great fun but I've not tried a dual clutch transmission yet.

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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Buy a manual now while you still can. That's what I've done anyway.

 

I'm deeply sceptical of the whole paddleshift revolution. I've driven a recent Nissan GTR and it's impressive no doubt but, really, what are the paddles actually for? Introducing human error? All I can do with them is change up too early or too late versus the computer. The fastest way to drive any of these cars is to floor it and let the car do the gearchanging along with the blipping on down changes. You'll soon find you're covering ground very quickly but doing a whole lot less. The left leg and left hand has very little to do.

 

I wouldn't take a bad manual over a good paddleshift but a great manual is much more involving, an all body experience. A Lamborghini Gallardo manual is quite a work out down a good road, everything needs a big stab and tug, it's not delicate like a Lotus but you are really involved and responsible for how the car goes down the road. The Nissan is addictively accelerative (and the seamless shifts only add to this feeling of epic, relentless go) but I couldn't get past the fact that I wasn't actually adding anything to the process by flicking my fingers. 

 

It's really just a way of making autos seem acceptable. Auto versions of fast cars used to be a bit embarassing, now their are 'F1 inspired'. That is pathetic of course because F1 cars wouldn't have paddles if they didn't have to.

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I'm a manual gearbox sort of guy as well. If I go on any sort of spirited drive, I get a lot of enjoyment out of changing gear as well as heel/toeing when slowing into corners. When I get it all correct and synced, it's a blast.

 

I just don't think you would get the same involvement from a paddle shift.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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Left foot braking is very good fun!

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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I've been happily "heel-and-toeing" my way about for at least 45 years....love the whole physicality of it, the matching of rotational speeds, the sound and the feel of the whole thing. Part and parcel of the enthusiast.... All the magic electronics and double clutches and millisecond gearchanges are all very well, and may get your lap times down....but on the road we drive our toys for fun, not to shave fractions of a second from journey times; I would really miss the ability to influence things by one's own precision. Getting it right yourself, rather than merely letting the Wundasystem work it's thaumaturgical devilry, always brings a bigger grin.... 

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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I think the auto gearbox is making worse drivers, as driving with an auto is detaching the driver from what the car is doing. I have no idea what the statistics are, but I wouldn't be surprised if more accidents occur because the 'auto' driver has less 'feel' for what is happening. They are not preparing for the next corner, engaging in the drive, thinking about what they are doing.

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I think what has been said is correct,

 

I'm no great sportscar driver, but I do find it intresting that the Gallardo Balboni is rear wheel drive and manual (e gear optional),steel discs (ceramic optional),  The Mclaren F1 rioad car is manual, rear wheel drive no PAS, I know its 20 years old, but it still up there with the best drivers cars. Both a bit like an Esprit in the approach?

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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The Balboni example is a good one, as it got configured to Balboni's preferences.

I prefer a stick shift, too. Auto can do everything better than I can do, but less fun. Colleague owns a 650hp supercharged Corvette Z06 and a 550hp 2013 Nissan GT-R. While the Nissan is easier to drive, in the Corvette you have to think about what you do next to avoid killing yourself. Work out for yourself what is more fun to drive. I personally would prefer a decent E30 M3 over any E9x M3 with dual-clutch tranny (always was a BMW guy, so I picked this one).

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There's no real fun to be had in anything, unless you could die doing it!!

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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Guest surferphil

Lol!

 

The main reason for saloon cars using auto boxes is like Bibs said - emissions, but with sports/super cars the increased performance is key and dual clutch offers much quicker gear changes than a manual gear box.

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I believe sport cars are about having fun, at least for the true petrol heads. Toyota / Subaru are guiding the way with the GT86 / BRZ, same for the MX5. Not overly high powered but still fun to drive cars. Nothing wrong with lots of power though... :)

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There's no real fun to be had in anything, unless you could die doing it!!

Now that is something I can agree with! My better half used to say I want to get old with you, and now she is just saying I'm old. Edited by TBD

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Lol!

 

The main reason for saloon cars using auto boxes is like Bibs said - emissions, but with sports/super cars the increased performance is key and dual clutch offers much quicker gear changes than a manual gear box.

 

Of course it can Phil, but then the driver just becomes a steerer who occasionally stands on the brakes. :coffee:

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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I do like slushboxes... for the road and manual for the track then again driving a manual on track is almost a guarantee of finishing last these days. A fine tuned paddleshift that doesn't feel too synthetic is probably the way to go. Lotus did design a  DCT  for its clients but I wouldn't mind seeing the Evora getting the premium sportscar version of the 7 speed Xtrac AMT that we can find in the Pagani Huayra ... It's lighter than a DCT (120kg but not quite as light as the supercar version 90kg) and has a more mechanical feel according to those who got to test it.

 

The thing with DCT (especially the VW DSG I got to drive) is that I sometimes have the impression that I can mess it up all I want and the gearbox will always compensate and it makes me want to just use full auto which a good DCT should not make me do.

 

The IPS in the Evora is nice I got a ride in it and it's smooth as butter and plenty fast when sports mode is engaged and it's nicer on fuel but the future require more gears  so he question is what propulsion system will Lotus be able to source for the mark II Evora? They need something high tech, grand sport and big gains in fuel economy...

Edited by NedaSay
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A DCT or IPS etc etc etc may be quicker than a manual. On a race track, a manual may come last.

 

I won't be convinced though that it is a more engaging drive.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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Had a go in a JP-LM two seater prototype thing at bedford autodrome a few years ago with its manual paddleshift box, and was just blown away by it.

 

It is just so nice and so good; a really good dual clutch box does come close.

 

Fashion seems to be to knock the two pedal set up in favour of 3 pedals and a stick, and a manual can be a joy - I used to have a marcos 1500gt with a Ford "rocket" gearbox, and a stubby gearstick that was connected to the selection rods without any remote control mechanism - that was also a joy

 

I have never driven a mid engine Lotus where I would consider the "stick" to be a joy.  My elise has the eliseparts mechanism upgrade, and the quickshifter, and it is kind of OK; but go to a car equipped "as it left the factory" and the porridge spoon like shift is horrible. 

 

The other advantage of paddleshift is that you only have to link the driver to the gearbox with some copper wiring, which is far easier to route when you move a FWD package (driver behind engine) to a mid engine situation (driver in front of engine)

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Of course it can Phil, but then the driver just becomes a steerer who occasionally stands on the brakes. :coffee:

 

That's how the manufacturers boast about how quick their car is compared to the competition.

There is a big market for supercars to go quickly (surprise surprise) I think if you grow up in a culture where manual is the norm then auto does seem strange but I would not have a problem if someone gave me a McLaren 12C to drive or the new Range Rover but I'd rather not have an auto in my Elan.

Drivers cars

Drivers who don't like good handling or good performance. I'd only bother with an off balance car if it were well engineered and had decent power like the AMV8 Vantage ie a real GT not a GT86 with less go than a hatchback.

 

MX5 and GT86 are mass production cars designed for mass production, when a company spends more money marketing than developing a car this is what you end up with, not a drivers car but enough marketing to make people who don't know the difference believe it is something special. My 20 year old Elan will out perform both cars in every way.

 

They certainly aren't drivers cars, Lotus' are drivers cars and the GT86 is almost the cost of an Elise.

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Well, haven't driven the GT86 (gets good reviews though) but the MX5 is a fun drive. I'm not taking performance - your Elan is more performance and fun, well, finally it's a Lotus - but the joy you have driving these cars. That's my point. That's why is prefer a Subaru WRX Sti over a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X with dual clutch.

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That is a classic example of where the line is, the Mitsu was all about clever electronics to solve handling problems with the 'more is more' approach to engineering whilst the Scooby was a lot simpler 4WD more about getting the most from the engine.

 

The MX5 and GT86 sing to a certain market that prefer rear drive - front engine layout and sports car looks, but I think real sports cars were all about the overall performance (ride, handling and speed). Although there are a lot of 2 seater's on the market that are sold to give the sports car look and appeal without any superior handling characteristics, they are known as hair dressers cars.  ;)


Paddle shift and dual clutch do solve a problem by maximising the delivery of power whilst appealing to a more luxury biased market. I don't think the added weight and cost of a dual clutch gear box will bring any performance advantage to a 4 cylinder engine.

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The technical points have all been made, but I would sorely miss a manual shift for road driving - to the degree I would probably avoid the car. (E.g. the new Alfa 4C.)

 

Except in very remote areas it is becoming difficult to use performance for more than a few seconds and so the potential gain from a paddle system is irrelevant. Driver involvement and skill is key for me: the need to anticipate, the essential heel and toeing, my choice of gear.  Although if the premium bonds actually do their stuff and I add a BAC Mono - yes, there is a place for paddles!

Edited by mdavies
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I drive a manual car at home - my Esprit, obviously. I drive lots of autos when I'm travelling for work, and have a series of rental heaps each week. For me, the problem with auto boxes is that I can never get them in the right gear at the right time. They will always insist on changing gear half way round a bend, when I REALLY don't want to be dumped into lift-off oversteer (for example). I hate that experience of lack of control.

However, a good paddle shift (and I've only ever driven one such) I found a bit of a thrill. It wouldn't change gear unless I told it to, and when it did, it all happened in the bat of an eyelid, which I thought was excellent. I could concentrate more on co-ordinating the throttle and the steering. Torque-converter gearboxes can, I suppose, be a useful faff-saver in town driving or on highways, but for driving when it matters (which is why we do it, I guess), I've never been able to make one sufficiently obedient. Paddle-shifts - not so.

 

So I'm sort of a fan. Different, but good in a new way.

 

My ha'pporth...

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