Automatic cars are great. They are easy to live with, offer great performance and enable people with a disability or who cant change gear themselves to drive. There are some cars however, that simply do not suit having an automatic gearbox. Here are 5 cars that make no sense in auto.

Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ

The world rejoiced when we heard an affordable, lightweight, rear wheel drive sports car was going to be produced by Toyota and Subaru. Taking similar principles from the Corolla AE86 platform, the GT86 or BRZ manual is really the one to go for. Although the press praised the automatic, it is still 0.6 seconds slower to 60 and reduces driving engagement, which surely is what this car is all about.

Smart Roadster

The smart roadster could have had massive potential, if at least we had a choice in the gearbox department. With a 6-speed semi automatic transmission, the smart severs one of the connections with the car that similar 2 seaters often do so well. Paddle shifters are an option, but rather like the fortwo, it’s not a fast shift. Smarts philosophy is great; ‘reduce to the max’. It works. The rear-mid engine, rear wheel drive Roaster weighs just 790kg. There have been a few attempts at manual swaps, but it’s often too complicated to justify the costs.

Mk4 Toyota Supra

We all know the Supra is a legend. That doesn’t need to be said again. What should be said however is the importance of the Supra’s spec that makes it so great. The twin turbo 2JZ engine with the six speed manual gearbox is a dream for many, but the same can’t always be said about the automatic. With an upper limit of around 500hp, it can’t really compete for tunability against its 6-speed brother. Although the auto isn’t bad, it doesn’t deserve the praise that the manual car gets, which strongly reflects in its price; most autos go for less that half the price of the manual.

Mercedes Benz C36 AMG

The first time I saw this car for sale, I was very surprised to see that it came only in an automatic gearbox. With a magnificent naturally aspirated 6.3 litre V8 engine that sounds incredible, it seems a shame they didn’t offer the car with a manual option like their rival BMW did with the M3. Even Audi offered a single manual transmission on the RS4. To most Mercedes customers, it probably wasn’t a big deal but to at least have the choice would be a great thing.

Mazda Miata

To finish the list, I had to choose the most obvious one. The Miata. In NA and NB variety especially, it just seems wrong in automatic. The auto box has no clever technology and the shift is slow. Due to the drivetrain losses incurred with this basic automatic, the 4 speed has taller gearing than the manuals to keep economy acceptable. The Miata isn’t what you might call a fast car to begin with, so adding more weight and resistance to the drivetrain is never desired. The auto also limits your ability to keep the revs at near redline (where most of the power is made) unless you really floor it. The MX5 gearbox is reckoned to be one of the best manual gearboxes ever made, with short and precise throws. The entire car was built around the British roadster ethos, which favours precise steering, rear wheel drive and a manual gearbox.

So there are 5 cars that I think don’t make sense in automatic. Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments.