With the rise of DSG technology, hybrids and electric systems, the much loved stick and 3 pedal layout seems to be disappearing at an alarming rate. Luckily for enthusiasts, some manufactures continue to make cars with the manual. Here are 6 cars that came only in manual transmission!
Dodge Viper (All generations)
Who would have thought it? In the time of the automatic transmission being fitted to almost every new vehicle in America, it’s surprising for American Manufacturer Dodge to offer a single, manual transmission option. With its 8.4 litre V10 offering 600 horsepower, you better make sure you know how to use it!
A large German saloon sold in purely manual form is unheard of these days, but when the BMW E39 M5 was released, it seemed like the obvious choice. Sold worldwide with a Getrag type D six speed manual gearbox, it made manufacturing easier and cheaper. One does wonder why they didn’t have the option of an SMG, although I’m not complaining.
A nimble and agile roadster just wouldn’t seem right with a sluggish automatic transmission. Fortunately, the s2000 was built in a period of Honda engineering excellence. Honda decided that a slick 6-speed manual gearbox would be all that’s required for an involving and effective driving experience.
A modern Audi sold exclusively in manual is very rare these days, especially one with 228 horsepower and all wheel drive. This little Audi actually has future classic potential, mainly because it offers something different from the usual Audi vehicles. There is something very appealing about all that performance in such a tiny package.
Porsche Cayman GT4
Porsche are using the manual transmission as a key selling point for the their Cayman GT4. On their website they claim,
“The high power output of the engine is transmitted to the road by the exact and particularly lightweight six-speed manual transmission with its specially tuned gear ratios. Every corner and every burst of throttle becomes a trial by fire – where every success is your own – for a performance measured not merely in figures, but also in an abundance of driving pleasure.”
I think Porsche got it right by speaking about “every success being your own”. The control that the manual transmission gives means that you are responsible for both good and bad gear changes, resulting in a satisfying drive when you get it right.
Ford Focus RS
Finally, perhaps most surprisingly on this list, is the Focus RS. Ford decided against the auto for the sake of weight and cost, factoring in that a heavier gearbox mounted near the front of the car would cause understeer and inhibit handling characteristics. Although selecting a manual is a wise choice for enthusiasts, I can’t help but think that ford short changed themselves on their flagship hyper hatch, with many customers heading to other brands to get the automatic gearbox. As of august 2013, statistics show just 3.9% of all new cars in America had the manual transmission, with figures likely to drop below that over the coming years. Even so, I commend ford for keeping the manual gearbox alive.