Product Assessment 2
While there is nothing physically wrong with the manual box (you have to explain what this is), rowing one’s own gears is based on a technology that peaked in the mid-1990s (think Acura NSX, Mazda MX-5 Miata or Honda S2000, ) and it really isn’t going to get any better. The automated dual clutch, on the other hand, continues to improve with each generation and subsequent software update.
Simply put, BMW’s F10 M5 was designed with the 7DCT in mind. The automated gearbox is capable of ripping up and down through the gears endlessly before taking the ...view middle of the document...
In nearly every essay on the FT-86/FR-S/BRZ, reviewers wax lyrical (huh?) that its light light-weight, sparkling road manners and manual transmission in particular rekindle a sort of romantic enthusiasm for the simple pleasures of driving dulled by the brute power and isolation proffered by cars like the new M5.
True, they do occupy radically different market segmentstarget markets (tell me more about theses markets) and cater to customers with different priorities, but a car is a car; both the FT-86/FR-S/BRZ and M5 have four wheels with rubber tires and Otto-cycle reciprocating piston engines mounted up front, and the delight experienced by a driver able to break the back wheels loose slightly yet completely under control around a corner is the same whether a car has 200 or 560 hp. So by that metric, among those of us after the pure joy of driving, there seems to be no substitute for a traditional stick shift, even if it is on the way out among the heavy-hitters.
A scant 6.5 percent of cars in the U.S. were sold with manual transmissions, according to USA Today. Nevertheless, stick shifts are making a comeback thanks to their inherent fuel efficiency and performance advantages. The vast majority of cars with manual transmissions are in the compact and subcompact market, although sports cars like the Ford Mustang offer six-speed manual transmissions on several trims. A stick shift car can be a blast to drive, especially for those who have plenty of experience with controlling manual transmissions. Nevertheless, there are plenty of other good reasons for having shift sticks around.
Product Assessment 4
Manual transmissions are usually easier to maintain than their automatic counterparts. For starters, most manual transmissions tend to be less complex than automatics, meaning that fewer things go wrong in the first place. The only repair item frequently seen on most stick shifts is the clutch and that component usually doesn’t require changing for hundreds of thousands of miles, under ideal conditions. Manual transmissions use gear oil or engine oil, in most cases. Unlike automatic transmission fluid (ATF), it doesn’t deteriorate as quickly over time and it doesn’t need frequent changes.
Some manufacturers even suggest that manual transmission fluids don’t need changing unless there’s a leak or after a repair’s been completed. Fuel economy is usually much better in stick shift-equipped cars. Parasitic power losses from the torque converter and hydraulic pump can rob an automatic-equipped car of a small percentage of its power, along with its fuel efficiency. Depending on driving style and road conditions, drivers can increase their fuel economy by as much as 15 percent.
Driving a stick shift car gives you a better sense of control over your vehicle. Without the torque converter constantly...