Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Queens, New York
I must concede to Michael Smith that the manual transmission is, indeed, obsolete from a pure numbers standpoint. Nobody can seriously question that, and I don't think anyone here is. It's a matter of what each individual finds enjoyable to his or her taste, preferences, and habits, as well as the kind of driving they do.
I've owned an automatic BMW (for 11 years!) and I liked it a lot actually. The automatic tranny was a ZF 5 speed, and was excellent with quick shifts and an excellent manual mode, though I did find myself wishing for a 3rd pedal at times. But that car was my daily driver, and I wanted a balance of convenience with fun, which I got. My current cars (GTI and GTV-6) I really only use for pleasure, save for occasional trip to go shopping for various things that aren't available within walking distance...
This argument we're all having here is a lot like the watch world. Quartz is, with very few exceptions, superior (as far as time-keeping goes) to mechanical watches. A $200 Swatch chronograph times down to 1/10th of a second. To get that in a mechanical watch, you need to buy a Zenith El Primero (somewhere around $7500 new, or maybe $5000 on the forum market). Same goes for non chrono. Yet Rolex (for example), who only make mechanical watches, produce 1 million watches a year. And they all sell. It's a similar story for other brands like Zenith, Patek Phillippe (though in much smaller numbers), Omega, IWC...even Longines and Tissot (and Swatch themselves!) make mechanical movements. People know mechanical watches are obsolete, but they still want them for a variety of reasons.
Of course, by pure numbers, I bet Casio, Fossil, Timex and a bunch of other Quartz only brands outsell all these manufactures 10 to 1. At least.
I see manual transmissions going the same way. The majority of people who don't really care much about the "feel" or experience, or who want the absolute fastest or most efficient vehicle by the numbers, or just want something that gets them to point A to point B will buy an automatic. And that's fine! A small, though not insignificant, minority of drivers will still be out there buying manuals as long as manufacturers will produce them, knowing they are obsolete, but also realizing they provide an experience that can't really otherwise be duplicated.
So, in conclusion, I think both sides are correct in their own way. If we can all agree that part of the pleasure of a car comes from how it makes us feel when we drive it, then we can all agree that it's OK to like one transmission over another for that reason.
Last edited by Gepetto; 11-08-2017 at 12:27 PM.