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View Poll Results: Which type of transmission do you prefer and why?

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  • Automatic

    8 19.05%
  • Manual

    27 64.29%
  • Doesn't Matter

    7 16.67%
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  1. #1
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Default Why the stick shift's days may be numbered

    A very interesting article in Automotive News regarding the demise of the manual transmission. So what do you prefer? Do you still prefer a manual transmission or an automatic?

    Why the stick shift's days may be numbered

    by Richard Truett
    Engineering and Technology Reporter
    Automotive News


    DETROIT -- Two cars I have test driven recently finally convinced me the good old-fashioned manual transmission will soon be dead.

    General Motors let auto writers test drive the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette with its new eight-speed automatic transmission. And among our rotating fleet of test cars here at work, a 2014 Jaguar F-Type has been a well-liked visitor. The F-Type also is equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission, this one made by German supplier ZF.

    The Corvette’s transmission is an amazing piece of engineering. Operate the paddles on the steering wheel and the gears change at the speed of thought -- a computer monitors driver inputs 160 times a second. And shifts are nearly imperceptible. You get the driving sensation of a manual with the convenience of an automatic.

    Ditto for the Jag.

    I love manual transmissions. My three classic cars have them. I have converted cars from automatic to manual. But the manual’s days as a mainstream transmission are ending.

    The take rate for manual transmissions across the U.S. auto industry is hovering around 5 percent, and according to consulting firm IHS Automotive, the number of nameplates offering a manual option is about 10 percent, down from 35 percent in 1980.

    Full Story: http://www.autonews.com/article/2014...ay-be-numbered


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  2. #2
    Why the stick shift's days may be numbered Tuna's Avatar
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    In other parts of the world, the manual transmissions still rule. The US (and maybe Canada) seems to be drifting toward the auto or dual clutch manuals - where putting it in "D" is all most drivers want.

    For me, the stick is still the most fun to drive. The stick keeps me involved with the car and makes me want to enjoy the driving experience - whether going to work, taking a road trip or playing on the back roads.
    Last edited by Tuna; 11-17-14 at 09:36 AM.
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  3. #3
    Why the stick shift's days may be numbered Bob Chadwick's Avatar
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    I had a chance to drive a 6 speed Vette in the mountains this weekend. To me it's a toss up. The paddle shifters make the experience very similar. And the automatic definitely wins when stuck in traffic.

  4. #4
    Member LLC5's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure that 3 pedal vehicles will probably go away, mostly because of CAFE since a computer cannot shift a 3 pedal manual transmission during a validation test cycle. But beware, torque converter automatics and ESPECIALLY computer shifted manual transmissions are not cheap to service or repair. Out of warranty a 3 pedal manual shifted transmission will begin to look like a bargain........
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    At my prior, I was part of the team who designed an automated Class 8 transmission. The automating is an X - Y unit or back and forth with a rotation of the shifter ball between gates (2 to 3 etc).
    It can be executed two ways, the first is a joy stick, push forward - pull back. Basically the driver is in control. The second is more complex as the engine "talks" to the transmission. Shifting or is controlled by SAE J-1938 (? as its been ~20 years) CAN. Engine says approaching lug and it downshifts and the same with up shifts. It can be "programmed" for the best fuel economy or performance depending on what the driver is doing. Neat stuff.

    Excluding the cost of labor, it is a very complex and expensive system.

    Personally, I prefer rowing.
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  6. #6
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    I have mixed feelings on the issue.

    Personally, I love being in control of shifting through the gears. There is a sense of connection with the car like no other.

    When it comes to a toy car - a weekend driver, I'm all for a manual transmission. A daily driver back and forth to work is a different story.

    I've driven both manuals and automatics back and forth to work and the manual transmissions have always been a pain in the ass during stop and go traffic. Especially if you sit every morning in 5 miles of bumper to bumper traffic going to work.

    A month ago, I traded in my 2008 BMW 335xi for a brand new 2015 BMW M235i with xDrive, and an 8-speed automatic. The 2008 was an automatic as well, but the 8-speed automatic (with paddle shifters on the steering wheel) is awesome.

    The car comes equipped with 4 different driving modes: EcoPro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. Each driving mode alters the character of the car dramatically. EcoPro mode is a fuel saving mode. The transmission shifts through the gears quicker and keeps the RPMs down. I've also noticed that in EcoPro mode, the car is willing to coast longer with your foot off the gas pedal, than it does in all of the other driving modes. When you take your foot off the gas, the engine RPM instantly drop to around 750 RPM - idle RPMs. In Comfort mode (the default mode when you start the car), keeps the car in each gear a little longer and the engine RPM up a little higher. Sport mode is like...turbo boost from Knight Rider. The exhaust is louder, the engine RPM hang just over 1,000, the transmission keeps you in each gear longer; staying further up the RPM band - in the engine's sweet spot and it's pretty much like stepping on the gas pedal of the Space Shuttle. Sport+ is even more aggressive. However, driving in Sport and Sport+ will suck fuel like a marathon runner sucking water while competing during a hot Phoenix, Arizona day.

    I can't even begin to imagine the amount of programming that went into making all of this work, but it's truly incredible to experience.

    The 2015 M235i puts out 320hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. My 1990 ZR-1 puts out 375hp and 370 lb-ft of torque. The best 0-60 time you can get out of a stock 1990 ZR-1 (with a good tailwind behind you) is 4.8 seconds. Car and Driver ripped a 4.3 0-60 time out of an M235i equipped with an 8-speed automatic and 11.9 1/4 mile time. They were only able to get a 4.9 0-60 time out of an M235i with the manual transmission.

    The performance and fuel mileage is really where the benefits of an automatic transmission come in.

    So, it really depends on what you're looking for. If your goal is ultimate fuel economy, or the best 0-60 / 1/4 mile time you can get at the dragstrip, it almost makes sense to go with an automatic. If you could care less about fuel economy or how fast your numbers are going to be from a stop, the manual is the way to go.

    Personally, I hope that automotive manufacturers, regardless of current statistics, do not take manual transmissions away all together. There is still a place for them in the automotive world, and giving the customer a choice is most important.


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  7. #7
    Why the stick shift's days may be numbered Tuna's Avatar
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    My new Caddy ATS 2.0 Turbo has a 6-speed auto and it has 3 modes - Tour, Sport and Snow/Ice. Haven't tried the Snow/Ice mode yet, maybe this winter.

    The Tour mode is pretty much where we leave it for daily driving but we notice the turbo lag more. In Sport, the computer tries to keep RPM up to keep turbo lag to the minimum - great for aggressive driving and lousy for gas mileage. Tour is where it will be most of the time.

    The other cars in my garage are all stick shifts and they come with dozens of driving modes - depending on our mood and the traffic around us. The modes can be switched in the blink of an eye (even faster) and we don't need to look for the "mode switch." Okay, we may have to switch the MagRide selector from Tour to Sport to take full advantage of the engine/transmission mode we're in at the moment.
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  8. #8
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    Hmmmm........I sure wouldn't want a stick in my Duramax pickup.....but I like my 13 Speed in the Peterbilt.....but wouldn't want a stick in the Tahoe......I love the 6M in my Grand Sport.....and really think if I was to get a new C7 it would be a............hmmmmm............

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huskerman View Post
    Hmmmm........I sure wouldn't want a stick in my Duramax pickup.....but I like my 13 Speed in the Peterbilt.....but wouldn't want a stick in the Tahoe......I love the 6M in my Grand Sport.....and really think if I was to get a new C7 it would be a............hmmmmm............


    Let me say it for you.....stick.......
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huskerman View Post
    Hmmmm........I sure wouldn't want a stick in my Duramax pickup.....but I like my 13 Speed in the Peterbilt.....but wouldn't want a stick in the Tahoe......I love the 6M in my Grand Sport.....and really think if I was to get a new C7 it would be a............hmmmmm............
    Towing +5K of camper is a joy with the new engine controllers. I push the tow mode selector, set the cruise and towing is an absolute joy. The other way, the transmission is constantly hunting and towing is not much fun. The truck "talks" to the camper's brakes also. It doesn't get any nicer.

    Your 13 speed provides the enough steps which keep the engine where you want it and it needs to be. A step is kinda engine RPM / transmission speeds. There is a limit as anyone whose driven an 18 speed will attest.
    In the past, Mack's 5 or 6 were only successful attempts at less steps. However, the Maxidyne's quick torque rise off idle was harsh on the turbo's RPM and other things.

    To Rob's point, with today's electronic sensors, the automatic has an advantage at 0-60 because the sensors avoid spinning the tires. However, I have noticed many cars with a lower published 0-60 time than my Corvette (pre-blower) lost a roll to 60. She asked how can that be, I said I doubt the other vehicle is as fast as the OEM claimed. Or the as sold version is not the finely tweaked and tuned test version.
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  11. #11
    Member vett boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuna View Post
    In other parts of the world, the manual transmissions still rule. The US (and maybe Canada) seems to be drifting toward the auto or dual clutch manuals - where putting it in "D" is all most drives want.

    For me, the stick is still the most fun to drive. The stick keeps me involved with the car and makes me want to enjoy the driving experience - whether going to work, taking a road trip or playing on the back roads.
    I totally agree ,when I get real old I'll go automatic ,play golf and drive a Buick.

  12. #12
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    I knew that I was hooked the first time I drove my friend's '66 roadster with a Muncie 4 spd. many years ago. It's still a thrill every time I go through the gears on my '02 6 spd. (despite the dreaded 1st to 4th skip shift feature on all C5s.......what was GM thinking?) I'm OK with the AT on my Silverado but I love the control that I have with my C5 via the manual tranny. Gotta have a stick.

  13. #13
    Why the stick shift's days may be numbered Scottsredvette's Avatar
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    Having bad knee's, I have automatics in all my vehicles. Just don't enjoy shifting any more. That said, I'm going to be breaking in a supercharged MGB rebuild job for a friend before he has it shipped back to Colorado. I'll post pictures when I get the car.
    I don't like making plans for the day. The word "premeditated" is not useful when it gets thrown around a courtroom.




  14. #14
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    I enjoy "rowing." Yes, my car would be faster with an built auto; but I don't care as she is already fast enough.

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  15. #15
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    Having owned nothing but standard transmission Corvettes for many years, I really surprised myself when I bought a 2015 Corvette coupe TODAY...and it's an automatic!!! Seriously, I did just buy an automatic '15 Daytona Sunrise Orange coupe because I am having a total ankle replacement...and, yes, it is my left ankle! This could be the end of my shifting days, and I'm not really sorry. I learned to drive on a stick shift VW back in the day, and I've had more than 50 years of driving standard cars. Today's automatic Corvettes are not to be snubbed!!

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