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For fun driving on roads with low traffic volume, which transmission do you prefer?

  • Manual

    Votes: 30 83.3%
  • Automatic

    Votes: 6 16.7%
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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading another forum where the question was asked - what did people want in a sports car to make it fun to drive.

Agile handling came up, as did a good helping of power, but another thread running through almost all of the responses was that such a car would have to have a manual transmission. We aren't talking about what is best for a daily driver - there are lots of reasons for day to day use that get in the way of a manual trans. If I had to crawl through stop and go rush hour traffic every day, for instance, I wouldn't want a manual.

I have noticed the shift (no pun intended) away from manuals since the 1980s - the last year 1988 Fiero GT sold 3799 manuals vs. 3050 autos and it went further toward autos from there.

For fun driving, aside from a winding road free of too much traffic, and regardless of which version you own and why, what do you think the most fun car should come with - automatic or manual?
 

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Stick is standard in my area. Most old people, including my 80 year old dad, drive stick. Also driving schools use stick amd my daily driver is a stick as well.

So for fun driving I prefer automatic.
 

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In many places formal driver education programs are mandatory and are with an automatic transmission, so by default most drivers are automatic-oriented these days. Yet in some European countries, like Ireland, manual transmission is all that you get at a car rental agency. So the thrill of connected-driving with a manual is lost on many. It is even perceived as a rare skill. When I looked for a Solstice a year and a half ago I refused to even look at an automatic trans car. Driving in stop-and-go situations isn't the end of the world to me. The thrill of a manual trans far outweighs that minor inconvenience.
 

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The T-shirt says it all: "Real cars don't shift their own gears".

Autos have their place. But, for FUN, give me a stick!!!
 

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For a sports car I prefer a manual transmission, but would never suggest that choosing an automatic is somehow "wrong" for someone else. The wohle purpose of a sports car is to be fun to drive, and everyone has different desires, like closed vs open cockpits, for example.

On my first trip to England I requested an automatic because I thought that right-hand-steer would have enough of a learning curve without adding left-hand-shifting to the mix. By day two of the trip i was tempted to exchange the car, but decided it was too much trouble for one more day, and decided to wait for my second trip to go Full Monty.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I didn't have any trouble with driving in England with a stick...except the roundabouts which made me have to really think about where I was going and where I wanted to come out (nothing to do with which trans I had).

Country roundabouts were nothing compared to negotiating the circle at the Arc de Triomphe, a 12 lane traffic circle where cars entering the circle have the right-of-way and those in the circle must yield. Parisian drivers navigate the circle like a comet circling the sun — making a parabola. And they sense any hesitancy on the part of a tourist and take advantage of it with horns blaring, whether they are in the right or not. Turin at rush hour is supposed to be bad (every male driver seems to think their manhood depends on getting into a corner first) but it was nothing compared to Paris.

 

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My next car is going to be an F-type jaguar convertible. I have to get one prior to 2020 with a 6 cylinder because it is the only models available in a stick. Kinda sucks not getting a v-8 but its gonna be a daily not a racecar.
 

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I had to explain to my wife that an auto is faster than a manual. It was ingrained in her mind that "stick=sportscar=faster".

I prefer a standard for the fun aspect. But you're right, manuals are becoming extinct.
 

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every male driver seems to think their manhood depends on getting into a corner first
Problem is that every Italian man thinks their last name is Andretti and that POS Fiat they are driving is actually a Ferrari in disguise.
 

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First Solstice I bought 2007, we ordered with a standard transmission. Thinking "Let's get back into sports car driving a manual". Fortunately I was able to order a new GXP in 09 and decided I had had enough of the manual. I now have two Solstices with automatic transmissions and will NEVER go back to a manual. I get lots more enjoyment with my automatics. Plus I can watch the stick guys having trouble with rolling back and having to replace their clutches. I'll keep my pleasure sports cars!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Plus I can watch the stick guys having trouble with rolling back and having to replace their clutches.
If they are ruining clutches just to pull away from a stop, they are probably automatic drivers trying to 'pass'! 😉

Some of the more expensive sports cars (BMW, for instance) have the brakes stay on when stopped on a hill, and they release after a short pause to help the car pull away from a stop.

We never worried about that with a British sports car as we had 'fly-off' hand brakes that made starting on hills a doddle. They didn't lock in place when you pulled them up, they only locked when you pushed the button in. To start on a hill, you just pulled up on the handbrake to hold on the hill, while engaging the clutch and then drop the brake as you pull away. I don't know why they don't do that any more.
 

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My very first car was a stick...and I had zero clue how to drive one. I forced myself to learn. And had to buy a new clutch a month later...LOL... To me it shouldn't be considered a sports car, even if it falls in that category, if its not a stick.

A great advantage as I've just found out from a close friend that's a cop, is that auto thieves are 10x more likely to not car-jack or steal a car that's a manual transmission or risk trying to steal where the majority is a manual transmission. That's why the Scats and Hellcats are #1 theft vehicles now...because the Chargers are all auto, and most of the Challegers are autos... Camaros and Mustangs for them are too risky.

*** Oh...BTW, in anything newer then '18, there is no more rolling back as many cars now have hill-start assist. My Camaro has that, and I love it.
 
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I grew up learning how to drive with manual transmissions. Had to pass a hill climb test on an old Datsun 510. The examiner would put a cigarette butt on the rear tires and tells me if it flattens, I fail everything. I saw so many young men and women left that slope in tears.
I would say 80% of my car ownerships have been manuals. Autos have their place and today our family hauler is an automatic. The ZF8 speed in our BMW is so efficient and fast that it will out shift most manual drivers and get back to laid back smooth shifting.
Alas, in the context posted by @wspohn, there's nothing like having a good manual sports car as a partner to hit the a set of sinewy countryside black ribbon. It's not about outright performance, it is about driving experience and connection. Mazda coins it "Jinba Ittai". I feel an automatic takes a significant aspect of that human/car interaction away. I still revel at the pleasure of heel 'n toe shifting at every chance I get. For a weekend pleasure vehicle I wouldn't consider automatics especially with the Kappa's 4-speed auto. Looking at used sports cars values, the manual versions usually command higher prices ie. Ferraris, 911s, M3 etc. I believe Porsche just came out with a commitment to keep producing manual versions of their 911s as their buyer demographics support it.

For me, this seemingly arcane form of driving is a proverbial middle finger to an era of sedentary cuckolded automotive society.
 

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paddle shift.... have your cake and eat it...

Bill
It's more akin to wedding cake. Great looking, looks yummy, but never really satisfied. Had a short fling with a 135i DCT. It's fast acting with each flick of the paddle and makes all the right rev noises. But still not the same. Kinda like CDs. Great resolution and efficient but it's no vinyl. :)
 

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@wspohn
while that video may look like a cluster {expletive} it is actually a very well orchestrated one. Traffic does continue to move.

This is an intersection in NYC..

I am thinking that the organized chaos of the traffic circle is a working design.
 

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in the 30 years I have owned cars all but 2 were manual transmission. I have replaced only 1 clutch and that was not because it was bad it was because I took an RB26DETT mated it to the transmission from an RB25DET and dropped it into a Nissan 240sx coupe. The engine fails before the clutch does so long as the clutch is of proper design to handle the power of the engine and the person driving the car knows how to use a manual transmission properly.

While the e-brake trick does work to prevent a car from rolling back when taking off from a stop on a hill. The real trick is to do it without needing the e-brake and without slipping the clutch or spinning the tires.
 

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I may be archaic but I will always be a manual guy. When my son turned 16 he got a fox body Mustang with a 5 speed. Too much going on to ever try texting and driving and he never wrecked, unlike every one of his friends. My older sister learned to drive in a '69 Chevy C10 with a 3 on the tree. She deserves a medal.

Manuals will be gone soon but my Solstice with the 5-speed will always be in my garage.
 

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I grew up learning how to drive with manual transmissions. Had to pass a hill climb test on an old Datsun 510. The examiner would put a cigarette butt on the rear tires and tells me if it flattens, I fail everything. I saw so many young men and women left that slope in tears.
I would say 80% of my car ownerships have been manuals. Autos have their place and today our family hauler is an automatic. The ZF8 speed in our BMW is so efficient and fast that it will out shift most manual drivers and get back to laid back smooth shifting.
Alas, in the context posted by @wspohn, there's nothing like having a good manual sports car as a partner to hit the a set of sinewy countryside black ribbon. It's not about outright performance, it is about driving experience and connection. Mazda coins it "Jinba Ittai". I feel an automatic takes a significant aspect of that human/car interaction away. I still revel at the pleasure of heel 'n toe shifting at every chance I get. For a weekend pleasure vehicle I wouldn't consider automatics especially with the Kappa's 4-speed auto. Looking at used sports cars values, the manual versions usually command higher prices ie. Ferraris, 911s, M3 etc. I believe Porsche just came out with a commitment to keep producing manual versions of their 911s as their buyer demographics support it.

For me, this seemingly arcane form of driving is a proverbial middle finger to an era of sedentary cuckolded automotive society.
Kappa’s are 5 speed automatics! In year of manufacture the automatic kappas outsold the manuals. Therefore for the stick shifty enthusiasts find it harder to find available used cars.
 
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