RAC Cars News


Manual Transmission Sports Cars a Dying Breed

By raccars Published

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Lamborghini's once fearsome Gallardo still exudes a great capacity for menace but, at ten years old and reaching the end of its model run, is practically ancient in the world of cutting edge sports cars. It also marks a milestone in sports motoring: the last stick-shift gearbox Lamborghini ever. Ferrari similarly pulled the plug on manual transmissions when only two versions of its California model were ordered.

While purists may mourn the loss of the heel-toe, there's little place for an H-gate in the technological marvels that are modern sports cars. The newest sequential paddleshifts offer a faster, cleaner and more efficient driving experience. However for the Luddites out there, seven modern supercars can still be found with manual transmission.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-2

The last Lamborghini Gallardo is not only a manual, it's also a rear-wheel drive and refreshingly free of gadgets and gizmos. This is back to basics sports motoring – hard to control and ear-blisteringly fun.

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Also available with a PDK transmission, the seven-speed manual version is greedier and a little more tail-happy. However, it offers a far more authentic seat of your pants motoring experience.

Lotus Evora S

The optional IPS automatic transmission here is smooth and precise but, like the Porsche 911, takes a lot of the challenge out of the ride and, with it, much of the character of the car. You don't buy a Lotus for comfort.

BMW M5 and M6

The German giants, on the other hand, are all about luxury and refinement to match their power output. The engines, tyre and brakes are all enormous and designed to insulate you from the exigencies of the road, so a manual transmission seems a little incongruous in such a set up. However, it is still available as an option to those who wish to retain some sense of drama in the North American market only.

Audi R8

Like the Gallardo, the R8 is looking a bit long in the tooth, so any updates are likely to dispense with the manual transmission. The anachronistic should grab one now, for some super-fast stick shift fun.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The Corvette is a spectacularly bold and brash example of the American muscle car and its 638bhp is still, for now, mated with a six-speed manual gearbox. An updated version is, however, on its way. Such a brutal drive seems well-suited to the old-fashioned manual labour of a stick-shift, rather than the slick perfection of an automatic.

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