Manual Transmissions are in the History Books at Ferrari (NYSE:RACE)
There was a time when gated manual transmissions aka “sticks” were synonymous with performance cars, no more at Ferrari.
Ferrari is the latest automaker to retire the clutch pedal, a move that may seem like a gut punch to fans of stick shifts, but is not too surprising given the low sales of manuals in Ferraris and other high-end performance cars over the past few years. And that is not even the primary reason why Ferrari is retiring manuals transmissions in their Supercars.
“Ferrari is design, performance, and state-of-the-art technologies. There’s no manual transmission that can beat this performance and therefore we have decided to stay on the double-clutch gearbox,” Michael Hugo Leiters, the iconic Italian automaker’s CTO, said in an interview at the recent 2016 Paris Motor Show. Even a well-shifted manual cannot match the speed of modern dual-clutch transmissions.
That argument is compelling for manufacturers constantly looking to increase the performance of their cars, both to win over consumers and for fastest time bragging rights.
For decades, manual transmissions had a performance advantage over those without clutch pedals, but today’s dual-clutch transmissions have erased that advantage.
They shift faster, and they help carmakers get customers that might have been discouraged by having to master a manual.
Ferrari is not alone in leaving the manual transmission behind.
Lamborghini and McLaren don’t have a single manual between them, and Porsche has made the dual-clutch PDK transmission mandatory on the highest-performance versions of its 911. Porsche still offers manuals on lower-level models, though, and Aston Martin still offers them throughout its range.
Manuals are still easy to find on less-expensive cars.
Once you get to the high dollar, 6-figure Supercars, they become more common on performance cars. The manual transmission is definitely on the endangered species list, but it is not extinct, yet. I prefer the no clutch petal version…
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