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Discussion Starter #1
Nice day here in NJ so I stopped at a passing BMW dealer to take a peek at the luxury roadsters.

All Z4's on the lot where AUTOMATICS :banghead

Shouldn't there be a law against that? :eek
 

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It could be argued that a automatic transmission, with its simplicity and ease of use, would allow everyone to own a Solstice. Many teens have never learned how to drive a manual, and most old-timers prefer the no-muss, no-fuss form of shifting. No engine lugging, no high-heel clutch-pedaling dramas, just press the gas and go. I want my Solstice to have a 5-speed manual transmission, but I believe a AutoStick option would be nice for those that prefer an automatic. A AutoStick transmission mixes control of a manual with convenience of an automatic.
 

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Automatics were not used in many race cars (except bracket racers who value consistancy over speed) for several reasons:
1) weight - generally double that of a manual
2) heat - torque converters generate a lot of heat which results in added components/coolers which means more weight
3) efficiency - that heat has to come from somewhere
4) fewer gears
5) less reliability that manual gearboxes
6) concern about *when* a shift will occur
7) did we mention weight ?

Now modern gearboxes have done a lot to reduce weight and improve reliability. Electronics can be set to shift Right Now if that is needed or any degree inbetween depending on throttle/speed/gear/forces.

Manufacturers like automatics because the great bulk of the population is not skilled in playing gears/clutch and ham-footed people can lead to expensive repairs both in and out of warrenty.

Now I have autocrossed A Lot, mostly successfully and prefer being able to overpower the rear at will (AKA I learned to drive on dirt tracks). At one event a local club chided me severely for consistantly crossing the finish line backwards (fast way through the last gate was in rotation and it really did not matter which end tripped the clocks. Think they were afraid I would collect the clocks though. Never did.)

Consequently I prefer an "unstable" car (in the same way an F-16 is unstable - it wants to turn) so that I can steer with both ends.

That said, I can see an autocross car with an automatic (or pre-selector) using paddles on the steering wheel provided it has a setting for "shift when I tell you".

Recently I had a Hyundai GX-350 in Denver (was the only car Avis could find with ABS). It had a shifter that could be moved to the side for rachet shifting but had two fatal flas as far as I was concerned.
1) In paddle mode it would not lock up.
2) I would move the rachet and sometime between one and forever seconds later, something would happen. And I never knew when. Was very irritating.

Now having been involved in a few eletronic transmission experiments when I worked at Delco-Remy I know the general is capable of making a Now shifting transmission (there was this Impala that would bark the tires every time you pushed the next button). And if not as delivered ve haf our vays with Flash memory.

So would be nice to have a car that is not only competitive on the weekend but suitable for slow cruising or rush hour traffic when not on the track. If paddles are good enough for F1 then they should be good enough for me.
 

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You think that three pedals for two feet is natural ? (Once had a Mini-Cooper S, not the new one, the original that was three feet shorter. With boots on I could hit all three pedals with one foot. Usually drove barefoot. Also had a RHD MGA with two steering wheels but that's another story).

Still have plans for how to make a heel and toe bracket from a muffler clamp.
 

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You cannot sucessfuly sell a car in America without an optional automatic. Oh yes, the Solstice will have an automatic optional and most will be ordered that way. We are actually lucky that a stick of any kind is being offered. Just look at the Thunderbird, they cut to the chase and never bothered with a stick even though that car desperatly needs one! (Rented one once, worst automatic ever. Sucked the life out of what could have been a pretty cool car!)

I personaly could never buy a roadster with an automatic. It's an oxymoron.
Can't decide tho 5 or 6?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I thought I remember reading that Solstice will only be manual trans for first year. Auto will come later.
 
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