Are Europeans killing the manual transmission?
Those damn Europeans. Not only are the Continent’s free-spending politicians killing what little economic recovery we cost-conscious Canadians had going, it looks like new car buyers over there are eschewing cars with clutch pedals.
In a wayward report through various Interweb sites, the speculation is that when Audi launches its facelifted S4 and S5 models in Europe next year, there’ll be no stick-shift option.
Now don’t panic. The German automaker will keep offering a six-speed manual for the S4 and S5 models in Canada. But whether or not this speculation is true is beside the point. The bigger question is: Is this just another step towards the demise of the manual transmission as we know it?
Anyway… beyond Audi, also know that Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance AMG branded cars now come exclusively with automated gearboxes, as do many BMW M vehicles, Ferrari no longer offers Brits the choice of a manual transmission in its supercars, while less than 1 per cent of Lamborghinis are purchased with stick. And let’s not forget the influence of Formula 1 racing, which, I believe, last saw a manual gearbox used in the short-lived Forti team’s racecars in the mid-1990s.
Other factors that don't support shifting gears via a cluth pedal? How about stop-and-go traffic, faster-shifting dual-clutch technology, and the ability to offer either fuel-efficient-for-the-EPA or more aggressive-for-drivers shift profiles are making automatic gearboxes the go-to option for the vast majority of new car buyers.
Oh yeah. All that and a new generation of buyers who were never taught to use a stick by the their parents.
Shiftless Euroweeniies and lackadaisical parenting skills aside, do you still see a need for automakers to offer manual transmissions?
Or are clutch pedals archaic as roll-up windows?