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Why do manufacturers have it in for manual gearboxes?


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We All knew the Manual tranny was dead when even Frank went to a paddle shift :unworthy:

 

Seriously, why should I buy a high performance sports car and not option for a faster shifting tranny that lets me keep both hands on the steering wheel.

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Can't abide auto's and flappy paddles. Am a real manual fan.

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Merciful heavens....what an article that is. Most of the manufacturers say that the reason for the "flappy paddle" revolution is that it is "faster"....as if this is the only reason why one drives "performance cars". I would contend that the main reason is to feel more involved, an essential part of the the vehicle and a skillset that can affect significantly the car's performance. A well executed "heel and toe" downshift is a visceral experience for the driver, all the mechanical bits moving and slotting together under the consummate prowess of the man at the wheel. Compare that with moving a little paddle and letting the thing do it all itself... where's the fun in that? And if it isn't fun, why bother?

I admit to changing gear in my Esprit Turbo just for the sheer hell of it...the sounds and the feel and the exhilaration! These days, constrained by speed limits and cameras and idiots who correlate driving quickly with being a putative mass murderer, what possible advantage can saving a few milliseconds with a flappy paddle setup contribute? A great piece of engineering, I'm sure...and the engineers and designers will have the same sort of silly grin from these as I get from changing down in the Turbo, unaided.

Of course, if you want a nice, easy to drive transmission that isolates you from reality, then flappy paddles, dual clutch, whatever systems are probably best. Or if you're a dedicated canyon hound seeking to push your design ideas and mechanics as hard as possible...but for the average Joe, the manual gearbox is simply more interesting and enjoyable. 

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

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An interesting read. But no big surprises. The writing was on the wall for the manual the day Ferrari abandoned it, some years ago now.

 

I didn't like the sound of Porsche embracing complexity over simplicity and abandoning 'adding lightness' for their GT3 models. But I don't like their cars anyway so it doesn't make any difference to me. Someone else will have to remind the world of the benefits of simplicity and light weight all over again in a few years time, just like the Elise did in 1996.

 

The car makers went techno crazy in the late 80's too, the pinnacle being the Porsche 959. But the simpler, lightweight F40 was the perfect riposte and remains the more desirable car today for most.

 

However my belief that the manual versions of future classics will rocket in value past their paddleshift counterparts in years to come might be thwarted by the legal situation surrounding driving tests. Not that many can drive them very well now, but one day we'll have a whole generation who can't drive a manual at all. Much as they might love an F40 or 4.0GT3RS, if they're not allowed to drive one, it will have to affect values at some point.

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Also, the speed of the change/usefulness seems to only apply to Expensive sports cars. Has anyone out there ever tried the similar boxes on family cars and diesels? They are truly horrible, slow everything down and leave you standing in the middle of roundabouts! (Honda Civic and Peugeot are perfect examples)

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Some of the worst flappy paddles I've used are genuinely dangerous. Try timing your gearchange near the redline and quite often the computer will intervene and change up a gear just as you're pulling the paddle. Result: the car changes up two gears. Happened to me a few times during an overtake and I had to go back down a gear to get the car going again. Regardless of the individual shift times, the net result can be the slowest and dumbest gearchange of all time.

 

Ultimately however, what really is the point of manually intervening in the process? All these cars work better and go faster left in 'D'. They hit peak power every time, without fail. All a driver can do manually is change up too early or too late. Increasingly journos don't even bother to use the paddles on videos anymore. See Richard Meaden's 918 video. He didn't use the paddles once and he's a highly skilled driver. Getting the gearshift timing wrong doesn't appear to be adding anything to the driving experience. The manual is history but paddles won't be around for as long either.

 

One good thing about it though is that flappy paddles are completely putting me off buying new cars, which should save me a fortune! But really who wants a car that goes out of date as fast as a laptop? Great for the manufacturers, not so great for the owner.

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"Also, the speed of the change/usefulness seems to only apply to Expensive sports cars. Has anyone out there ever tried the similar boxes on family cars and diesels? They are truly horrible, slow everything down and leave you standing in the middle of roundabouts!"

 

Our daily car is a dual clutch golf, and a friend of ours has one too (we've got the one that handles more power and is 'wet' and the friend has one of the lower-power-handling 'dry' boxes) .Both cars are pretty seamless - ours is about 6 years old now - but there are stories of horror about ex-warranty repair costs when they do wrong (and there's more *to* go wrong).

 

It's been bloody brilliant, if I'm honest, which is a bit of a shame cos I'd be hard-pushed to ever use a manual in an ordinary car ever again, and there's a 1-2 grand premium for such luxuries!

 

 

If I bought a Lotus tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'd go for. I'd certainly try both, but by all accounts the Evora's manual gearchange is far superior to my old Elise's (which was utter shite, even when working at all).

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Interesting and polarising debate.

 

Personally, I enjoy slotting the cogs on the Esprit but I also enjoy the effortless 8 speed ZF auto box on my daily driver too - it's seamless and fast.   But I suspect I'm not alone here in having a choice in the garage or driveway depending on which mood takes over.

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Love this topic!

There's gotta be a place for both manual and double clutch, hasn't there?

I'm still gutted that Ferrari said they'd never go back. I'm not convinced myself that a faster car is a more enjoyable car but so far Ferrari seems to know better and is redefining the rule book rather successfully. A paddle shift if executed properly can be rather good.

Manufacturers just build what they believe is the most economic "next best thing" and what consumers want.

Brilliant article in Evo this month that says BMW will still keep a manual option for the M3/4 despite approx 90% of orders being for the weightier flappy paddle. Respect that decision, proves that they still believe in letting the customer decide what they'd rather have. Although looking at those stats I wonder how long that will last :-(

In the end it's out of our control because the majority prefer autos! I'd love to hear the stats on how much your average M3 / 911 driver actually uses the paddles... I'd bet not very much at all!!

Which is fine because a lot of people like driving without wanting the hassle of changing gear in traffic or whilst there on the phone on a daily basis.

Do you think the average driver is being brainwashed by the press and manufacturers into believing that flappy paddle is better...? It might be more efficient and faster etc etc but driving any half decent manual car (could be a bog standard low powered French hatchback) can be a lot of FUN.

One of the best drives of my life was in an old 964 on the way to work at 4am in mid summer with the windows down.. Shifting the 5 speed manual box and blipping the throttle on downshifts hearing the flat six pop and burble on MY command was magic. I haven't mastered my Evora yet but it definitely has the potential to make me smile.

Haven't driven the IPS Evora yet, I'd like to. Maybe it's really good and I might buy one in the future. But I tell you what, right now... I've never loved my manual 6 speed more (mine has strangely got better the more miles I put on her, don't know if that's the car or me getting better at driving it!) Doesn't matter because it's involving and just great fun to drive!

Cheers

A ;-)

Edited by auRouge
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I love driving a manual car. There is more going on. I have to get things right earlier, which makes me concentrate more on what is going on.

 

As John (molemot) said, if you get the co-ordination spot-on with a couple of 'heel & toe' downshifts and get through your approaching corner just how you want, that outweighs being able to change gear quicker in my book. With paddles, you're just the guy who brakes, steers and accelerates. Any clown can do that.

 

We looked at a Subaru which had a CVT box in it. On paddles, it was horrible. My wifes previous Accord Euro had a manual option on the lever (we never used it) and the new Accord we have now has flappy paddles. Haven't even tried them out.

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

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We All knew the Manual tranny was dead when even Frank went to a paddle shift :unworthy:

 

Seriously, why should I buy a high performance sports car and not option for a faster shifting tranny that lets me keep both hands on the steering wheel.

I don't paddle shift for speed but for the added safety of being able to keep both hands on the wheel on a bumpy canyon road. My new setup is nothing more than a sequential stick / paddle with standard clutch control. 

This is the perfect manual setup in my opinion, no missed shifts ever.  :smoke:

post-8085-0-60519000-1388707824.jpg

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I think it's fast enough…maybe

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I've owned 15 cars since I took my test. They dated from 1970 to 2011: all of them were manuals. I doubt this pattern will change unless I lose the use of my left leg, or get a job with tedious stop-start traffic commuting.

 

I have never felt at home in an automatic. It's the lack of engine braking and over-reliance on the middle pedal that bothers me. As a youngster I used to do a 25 mile cross-country commute, sometimes without ever touching the foot-brake: not because I am some sort of driving God, but because the front callipers used to stick on after one application and I had to free them off again with a brick-end at journey's end! Try doing that in an auto and you'd be in the ditch at the first bend.

 

I'm also not keen on holding a stationary vehicle on the foot-brake, whilst it wants to creep forward.

 

My experience of a flappy paddle auto is limited to a couple of days in a hired 2012 DSG Passat. Unless you were in Sport mode It had this terrible habit of cutting the engine when you backed off (fuel economy gone mad), meaning that any attempt at accelerating was met with a second's hesitancy as you pressed the throttle, restarted the engine and got it back up to revs: not what you want on the Autobahn or when overtaking. Conversely in Sport mode, it became tiresome as it always seemed to only want to change up at the red line.

 

There was no doubt that the changes themselves were quick and seamless but it wasn't for me.

 

I still think we have a generation's worth of manual enthusiasts on our roads, who would opt for the stick shift, but thereafter who knows? Demand for manual classic cars still outstrips that for automatics, but I guess that could change too.

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Not sure if this is an age thing!

 

We have always owned manuals, but at the end of 2012 we purchased a brand new 1400 VRS with the 7speed fully auto / paddleshift / sequential stick shift, to make driving through Nottingham on a Monday morning/Friday evening a bit more bearable, the days in between we use the Elise. On the open stretch between home and the outskirts of Nottingham, the sequential change up/down is very good and quick (with no double up or down shifts), especially as the car is a Skoda!

 

TBH if the Evora S IPS downshift had been a bit more communitive we may have considered the Sports Racer version as a second car, we did ask the factory if the new roadster was getting the IPS version early in 2014 as we would have (probably) gone for the paddleshift option but we will make do with the manual we just won’t be using the roadster during rush hour.

Darryl & Sue

Proud to drive and own since new a true British supercar the Evora GT430

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I like the IPS shift, I've no doubt there's better/quicker systems but once you get used to it the experience is fine. For day to day driving, M25, endless traffic it's a Godsend, journeys I'd never contemplate with the Elise the Evora laps up, partly that's the ride, the extra levels of comfort but the IPS adds a lot in terms of usability for those otherwise dull journeys. Drop the car into Sports Mode and the gearbox can be a lot of fun too. 

 

In short I wasn't convinced when I first bough the car, right now I could be tempted for a similar system again. 

Currently having an illicit affair with another marque, be back in the fold one day... B-)

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I do not care if the paddleshift / double clutch or whatever is faster than the Manual! From the article of autocar the Explanation of the Porsche guy does not make sense in the real world / "normal" roads. If you are accelerating "full power" on normal roads you are with one leg in the jail no matter if you save some 0,2 sec or so with the paddleshift or not (but I can even hear Thomas saying that he will save some time on the Autobahn....:-)

 

It is just a matter of taste for me, I like a maual more b y f a r - if the Evora would have not been available as a manual I am quite sure that I wouldn´t have bought it (and would have even not been on this interesting Forum...:-) 

 

For it is just more fun to have a clutch and a shifter - if someone has more fun with the playstation, fine

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My experience of a flappy paddle auto is limited to a couple of days in a hired 2012 DSG Passat. Unless you were in Sport mode It had this terrible habit of cutting the engine when you backed off (fuel economy gone mad), meaning that any attempt at accelerating was met with a second's hesitancy as you pressed the throttle, restarted the engine and got it back up to revs: not what you want on the Autobahn or when overtaking. Conversely in Sport mode, it became tiresome as it always seemed to only want to change up at the red line.

 

There was no doubt that the changes themselves were quick and seamless but it wasn't for me.

I'll agree, the DSG in the VW/Audi is too trimmed for economy in normal mode and too track oriented in Sport mode. But, that is consequence of market focus on economy. 

 

There is however an emerging market for chip-tuning the DSG and with a custom tune the gearbox will do exactly what you wish.

 

 

 

I do not care if the paddleshift / double clutch or whatever is faster than the Manual! From the article of autocar the Explanation of the Porsche guy does not make sense in the real world / "normal" roads. If you are accelerating "full power" on normal roads you are with one leg in the jail no matter if you save some 0,2 sec or so with the paddleshift or not (but I can even hear Thomas saying that he will save some time on the Autobahn....:-)

There are cars on the market, like BMW, that have a manual shifter worth keeping alive. However especially Lotus has a history of dismall gearchange mechanisms and their demise can only be hoped for. And regarding the time on the Autobahn, you're right of course :-)

Edited by TBD

If you have the choice between a Stairway to Heaven and a Highway to Hell don't forget the Nomex®!

Captain,  Lotus Airways. We fly lower! 

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I like my manual transmissions, the Esprit could be better of course, but the Honda 6 speed in my 2002 Acura RSX (DC5 Integra)  is pretty awesome.  I tend to heel&toe every down shift in both cars, and I enjoy trying to do it perfectly at any speed, though it is much easier at higher speeds, like on track.

 

Growing up playing a lot of video games, I also really enjoy the paddle shifting!  For a race car it makes total sense!

 

I've tried back to back paddle shifting vs using the clutch and 6 speed H-pattern shifter on my video games, and I am ~2s/lap faster with the paddle shifting+left foot braking, compared to heel&toe H-shifting+ left and right foot braking.  Of course I just started using the H-shifter and clutch pedal recently, and I've been paddle shifting in games for 10+years.  Hardest part is left foot braking+clutch+right foot braking+Heel&toe, since this is not something I can do in my real cars, because my legs are to long!

Travis

Vulcan Grey 89SE

 

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Fuel economy is a major factor in many of these cars, and emissions too I'd imagine. That's the reason we are now started to see 7-9 speed boxes, so the engine can operate closer to it's sweet spot more of the time. When the gearchange is almost instant and unnoticeable this is much more acceptable. 

Imagine trying to drive a 9-gear manual in traffic.  :huh:

If you have the choice between a Stairway to Heaven and a Highway to Hell don't forget the Nomex®!

Captain,  Lotus Airways. We fly lower! 

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What is surprising to me is how willing the manufacturers are to take on extra liability of adding and validating all these automated systems.

 

If a customer abuses their manual transmission, they just deny the warranty work.  If they build a computerized dual clutch seven speed, and the software allows you to drive it in a way that breaks it... then that would be their responsibility (during warranty period of course). 

 

How about the hood ram system for pedestrian impact on the Nissan GTR?  What happens if a pedestrian is hit, and that system fails to save their life?  Could the family sue Nissan for not designing the system properly?

 

Same goes for the driverless cars...  Why would any manufacturer want that responsibility?!!!!

Travis

Vulcan Grey 89SE

 

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