RAC Cars News


Alpha Romeo Keeping the manual gearbox alive

By raccars Published

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Manual gearbox equipped sports cars seem to be a dying breed, so Alfa Romeo has raised eyebrows with its decision to fit a traditional manual transmission and three pedal set up to its new Giulia GV model, the performance version of the upcoming compact saloon. However, this is one gamble that could really pay off for the Italian firm, with driving purists lamenting the lack of involvement and driving excitement that comes with modern automatic transmissions.

If you prefer the more engaging feel of changing gear yourself, here are some of the most dynamic performance cars you can still buy with a manual box.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

It's not out yet but the forthcoming Giulia promises a throaty growl and an exciting, rear wheel drive driving dynamic in typical Italian style. It hopes to give the BMW 3 Series a few sleepless nights, with the GV variant to be endowed with 503bhp and a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds.

Jaguar F-Type V6

The F-Type V6's manual box is the upshot of public demand, and the result is a thoroughly rewarding driving experience, showing that Jaguar can still make some of the best sports cars in the world. 62mph arrives in 5.3 seconds in manual format, compared to 4.9 seconds with paddleshift.

Porsche Cayman GT4

The Cayman GT4 comes with one of the most delightful, short throwing manual boxes out there, returning hardcore driving pleasure. In fact, this is probably one of Porsche's best efforts ever. It gets to 62mph in 4.4 seconds.

Volkswagen Golf R

Golf's most radical model ever takes a hot hatch and turns it into a super hatch, creating a whole new market segment. It comes with the excellent DSG transmission or a lively six speed manual option, with 292bhp and four wheel drive. It's brutal and wonderful. 0-60mph takes 5.1 seconds in the manual and 4.9 seconds with the DSG.

BMW M3 and M4

The only one of the German big three to continue using a manual box in its performance variants, this one loses only 0.1 of a second to get to 62mph, compared to the semi-automatic. Both offer savage acceleration and premium German comfort.

Among those which are no longer on the market, some of the best manual transmission equipped fun comes from the 10% of Ferrari F430s with a manual box. Its successors marked the end of the manual box for the Italian firm. The Audi R8 V8 was another stellar performer in manual guise, or you can look for an early Lamborghini Murcielago, for a mind blowing 570bhp.

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