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Print 60 comment(s) - last by EricMartello.. on Nov 14 at 9:25 PM

The U.S. still gets manual 6-speed option

Much of the sports car world today is moving away from the manual transmissions that driving purists and many drivers prefer to semi-automatic transmissions. The reasons for moving to a semi-automatic transmission are compelling and include faster gear changes, better fuel economy, and the ability to go full auto when you’re feeling lazy or plodding around in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
 
The downside is that part of the thrill of driving fast for many enthusiasts is working the shifter and clutch to perfection. But in the end, there’s no real right or wrong way to shift gears when it comes to modern automobiles. However, the ire of drivers comes in when their choice in gearbox is taken away.
 
Audi S5 

Fourtitude is reporting that Audi has killed the manual transmission option in its revamped S4 and S5 range of sporty cars in Europe. While Europe has to give up those 6-speed manual cars, the U.S. (land of the automatic transmission) is getting to keep its manual transmission. Audi is going to the S-tronic transmissions exclusively in Europe likely due to the faster shifting and better fuel economy.
 
The confirmation of the death of 6-speed S4 and S5 Audi's came by way of Audi's own Barry Hoch, the product planning manager of the S4 and S5 lines. Hoch emailed Fourtitude and wrote:
 
They (Europe) lose the manual. We keep the manual! 100% confirmed, although I don't know what other markets also get to keep it. I don't want to fear for my life when I leave the office. The manual transmission enthusiasts are... umm... passionate individuals. Save the Manuals!
 
This is the first time that the U.S. has had a transmission option that Europe didn’t get according to Fourtitude
 

Source: Fourtitude



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RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By FITCamaro on 11/10/2011 1:13:16 PM , Rating: 3
Cost and complexity is the biggest drawback for DCTs.

I like the simplicity of manuals. Plus it gives my left foot something to do.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By PrinceGaz on 11/10/11, Rating: -1
RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Spuke on 11/10/2011 1:37:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Simplicity of manuals? They're more complicated.
No they're not. They're simple as hell. Never worked on a DCT but I have worked on both standard autos and manuals. Manuals are an order of magnitude simpler.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Keeir on 11/10/2011 2:28:48 PM , Rating: 3
I think he means, simplicity of use. Nothing more simple than a slush box really...

DCTs (the ones I've seen) are between a Manual and a Slush Box in terms of complexity to work on. More moving parts than a normal manual, but they more seperated out than on most slush boxes.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Spuke on 11/10/2011 4:10:15 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I think he means, simplicity of use. Nothing more simple than a slush box really...
Then he can clarify that himself.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Keeir on 11/10/2011 4:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting double standard.

I was unaware the article mentioned repairability of transmissions at any point, though it did discuss use of transmission.

Even though I disapprove of Audi dropping the Manual Option from "Sports" series cars, DCT is vastly simpler to use than standard manual. Apparently people in Europe buying the S4/S5 don't want to operate a manual in a "sporty" way...


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Spuke on 11/10/2011 6:29:27 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Interesting double standard.
What double standard? Do you do this at home (make sh!t up)? It's not up to US to clarify someone else's assertions, it's up to that individual. My post stands until he decides he wants clarify himself. And with his silence, I'm willing to bet the original implications are correct.

Secondly, I have no problems with DCT's, autos, or manuals. Everyone is free to choose whatever transmission goes in THEIR car.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Samus on 11/11/2011 2:26:16 PM , Rating: 3
Having rebuilt my own Tremec World-Class T5 manual gearbox in my Mustang, something I never thought I was capable of, I can tell you first-hand that manual transmissions are amazingly simple.

Manuals hold 2 quarts of gear oil, have no vacuum/electronic connections, no cooling lines/radiator, no torque converter, no valve body, no pumps, no filters, and are half the weight of an automatic.

The rebuild kit was $150 and took about 6 hours start-to-finish in my garage. If I remember right it was only 30 pieces, mostly synchronizers (brass rings that go between the gears) and bearings. There were no bands or complicated fluid-veins, weight balls, springs, and other ridiculousness to replace.

DCT transmissions are incredibly complicated, and have not proven to be as reliable as either traditional manuals or slushbox-automatics. A good clutch operator will at least match the lifespan of a DCT transmission's clutchpack (100,000-150,000 miles) and the cost to replace the clutch in a traditional transmission is about 4 hours of work (maximum) and $400 parts. DCT's, on the other hand...VW charges $2000 for the clutchpack and $7000 for the electronics, should those malfunction and need replacing. Servo's and solenoids don't last forever....


By Spuke on 11/12/2011 1:05:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yet we get rated down for telling the truth. This rating system blows ass. There now you have a reason to rate me down.


By michael67 on 11/10/2011 2:58:27 PM , Rating: 1
The only automatic that is simpler then a manual, is a variomatic transmission.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variomatic

I have overhauled the manual gearbox of my Nissan skyline R33, replacing internals for 650HP use.
But would not even dream of doing it with a automatic, my Jaguar XJS had problems, i removed the gearbox and brought it to a specialized repair shop, the same thing most repair shops do!


By Jeremy87 on 11/10/2011 11:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
For me manual is way easier to use.
I rarely see automatics here, and I've only ever used an automatic in the US, and it was horrible. Most of my brain power goes into figuring out ways to trick the automatic system into using the gear I want.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Dr of crap on 11/11/2011 8:49:52 AM , Rating: 2
Hope you don't have to eat while driving or try and find an unknown address!

Might me to taxing on yourself trying to shift and drive!


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By FITCamaro on 11/11/2011 1:12:01 PM , Rating: 2
So your argument is trying to do things I shouldn't be doing while driving period? Not to say I haven't done them.

But if that was ever an issue, its called put down your damn food or phone/gps until you don't need to shift anymore. I drove home to Florida last weekend and stopped for food. Got back on the highway, got up to speed, set the cruise control. And ate with one hand, steered with the other.

Not really that hard. But maybe you have a problem multi-tasking. I don't.


By Dr of crap on 11/11/2011 3:04:15 PM , Rating: 2
You're the one that said shifting was difficult, not me.
And I meant using your eyes and looking for an address not a stinking GPS unit.

And for the record, I also can eat, shift, adjust my music, sing along, weave in and out of traffic and get there in one piece while the other non-drivers stare ahead and can't get out of the way.


By One43637 on 11/10/2011 1:48:37 PM , Rating: 5
For me, it's the fun I have driving manual. DCT is great, I'm not dissing it, but I don't have that connection I enjoy having when I'm rowing through gears myself.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Booster on 11/10/11, Rating: -1
By tdawg on 11/10/2011 2:14:33 PM , Rating: 2
I do that here in Seattle and I would be hard-pressed to buy any automatic transmission vehicle. Nothing more fun that a windy road that requires a lot of shifting.

I think I could enjoy a paddle-shift sequential gearbox, but the idea of going to an auto transmission is just boring.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Keeir on 11/10/2011 2:25:34 PM , Rating: 3
In some ways it is about automotive image.

The Manual Transmission repersents many things to many people. But it is still considered part of the classic sports car approach.

If they were canceling the manual on the base models, this might make sense. Or if they were canceling manuals on the super exotic models, again this makes sense. But on the bread/butter sports car line (S4/S5) it seems a stupid move. The cars move further away from sport and more towards sedan... but the whole point of thier existence is to be close to sport!

(BTW, if your really stuck in traffic jams and driving simply light to light all the time, why even get an S4/S5? Oh, because you want the image of a "sports" driver?)


By Reclaimer77 on 11/10/2011 8:46:11 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you but the S4 and S5 are pretty much land boats today. Calling them "sport" sedans is a stretch. I guess Audi decided to make them official lazy road pigs and do away with manual trans.

I drive a real sports sedan, the Subbie Impreza, and I hope I never see the day where they pull a move like this and totally neuter the feel of the vehicle.


By Spuke on 11/10/2011 9:28:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if your really stuck in traffic jams and driving simply light to light all the time,
I agree here. There's no way I'd drive my Solstice if my commute was just stop and go. I'd drive something that I didn't care much about (cause it's going to get dented sooner or later).


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Motoman on 11/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By 225commander on 11/10/2011 4:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly right!
I searched high and low for my VW Passat, my requirements were - leather, V6, sunroof, manual tranny
took me 3 long months to find such a vehicle, apparently Vdub 'Assumes' that anyone wanting a V6 and top level trim package is NOT going to want to shift, that combo is very rare here in US. Also my second vehicle is Honda's S2000, of course it ONLY comes with 6 speed, so no prob there. I do not understand why the manuals are disappearing, I love them , even in traffic. A manual puts you distinctly in control of the engine and the transfer of power to the wheels with a precision that NO auto, semi auto, DCT, etc can muster. and NO you do not have to have a 'sports car' to want to drive manual either.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Dr of crap on 11/11/2011 8:57:13 AM , Rating: 2
Hey good luck with that leather.
I've never understood why you'd want leather.
Is it a status thing? Must be. Makes you look rich!

Because in the summer,
the leather gets to hot to sit in when the sun beats down on the seats, and you burn your legs. That is if you wear shorts, maybe you don't!

In the winter the leather seat is like a rock to sit on, it hard, and cold. And if you do have heated seats, it takes a while to warm them up, by then my a$$ is froze.

My guess is you never had vinyl seats. Those were classic crap!
And even better when they'd crack and it would bite you!!


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Motoman on 11/11/2011 9:09:39 AM , Rating: 1
While there's no need to berate the guy about wanting leather, I do agree with the main point. I get cloth seats in all my vehicles for those exact reasons. Leather just seems very inappropriate to me for that use.


By erple2 on 11/11/2011 2:56:42 PM , Rating: 2
The only reason I can think of to get leather interior I learned by watching my niece vomit apple chunks all over the back seat of my brother's car (OK, SUV - it's a Mazda CX9) as we wound through Coal Creek Canyon Road in Colorado. I was amazed that it all came up with a wetnap, leaving nary a stain or spot. I guess it's easier to elements treat Leather than Cloth...

Which means that if I have kids, my family hauler will have to be a leather equipped car.


By Omega215D on 11/10/2011 7:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
People who feel that connection with their car also tend to take better care of the vehicle, know about problems when they occur, and of course, tend to pay better attention to the damn road.


By One43637 on 11/10/2011 4:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
NEW! RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care By Booster on 11/10/11, Rating: 2 By Booster on 11/10/2011 2:08:44 PM , Rating: 2 Try driving manual in a traffic jam in Europe like 30 mins out there and back and your left foot will fall off. They're cancelling manual for a good reason - who in their right mind would want it? People who live in rural areas and drive to work in a straight line on a freeway with no traffic lights? In Europe there can be streets with traffic lights on every corner, enjoy working the clutch, he he...


You swear like EU is the only place with a constant traffic jam. Yes I've driven commute in a stick. Yes it was painful, but that's the price I'm willing to pay.


By Murloc on 11/11/2011 5:14:19 AM , Rating: 2
many people in europe spend 2 hours in traffic jams every morning with old ass cars and they get by.

I drove for hours in traffic with manuals and you don't get tired.
It's just annoying if you've tried a robotic transmission.

The other kind of automatic transmission doesn't even exist anymore I think.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Omega215D on 11/10/2011 4:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
Manual transmissions is what I was brought up on despite everyone in my family driving cars with AT. I ride a standard sport motorcycle since age 16 and went to two auto racing schools and one motorcycle. After attending the rally racing school I could never toy with the idea of using an automatic or even a semi-auto for such a thing nor for plain transport.

The reason is that it keeps me engaged with the vehicle and, even though I would never operate a phone while driving, it would prevent the thought from even crossing my mind. It's like being one with the machine and the ultimate in driving experience.... and no I don't drive BMWs, though I did race one in NEFR regional.


By Motoman on 11/10/2011 4:19:00 PM , Rating: 1
Similar here. I grew up riding/racing motorcycles, and by the time I got to be 15 and had to go through driver's ed, the very concept of *not* having a clutch was bizarre.

Took my first drivers license test at 16 in a car with a manual transmission. You should have seen the look on the tester's face when he saw that stick...


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Spuke on 11/10/2011 6:46:19 PM , Rating: 2
Manuals are not precise, that's the whole point of DCT's and a side benefit with autos (at least the better one's). ALL of my primary cars (the one's I drive) are manuals. My next car just may be another manual but DCT's will outperform any human on our best day. Precise, super fast shifts all day everyday. Notice the Ferrari 458's tranny is DCT only? And that's considered the best car out of Maranello. I would not like to see traditional manuals go either and I hope they don't completely but better is better. I will acknowledge that.


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Omega215D on 11/10/2011 7:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
I only mentioned about being more involved with the act of driving and sort of being one with the machine.

As for the racing, it's much more fun to constantly hammer on the controls while still maintaining the course which is why I prefer Rally to open wheel racing. I also take issue with the introduction of traction control and ABS in motorcycle racing with ABS having some issues in regular riding as well but that's another story.

Then there's also the problem of not being able to work on new cars yourself, or at least as easily...


RE: Manual is so common in EU we don't care
By Spuke on 11/10/2011 8:28:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then there's also the problem of not being able to work on new cars yourself, or at least as easily...
I hear this a lot and wonder if you (and others) even have worked on a newer car. I've worked on all of my cars from clutch installs and an engine rebuild (my 92 Sentra SE-R) to just oil changes. Fuel, air, spark. What's not happening? Exactly how that happens is mostly really irrelevant (you don't need to know how DI works in order to know that your fuel injector took a crap causing your car to miss) to figuring out problems and with cars built in the last 5 years or so, a CEL is thrown anyways. You go get the code read and it tells you the problem is. I, personally, think that's awesome. Saves me some valuable time. To give you an example, your car is overheating, there's only a few things that can possibly be wrong whether it's a 2011 or a 1969. Thermostat, water pump, radiator. Pick one. It's usually the thermostat because that's the cheapest part of the three.


By Omega215D on 11/10/2011 9:07:47 PM , Rating: 3
You're making quite a bit of assumptions there then. I've had to work on newer vehicles and find that you have to remove quite a bit to reach certain things in order to perform maintenance or repair on the vehicle. The more crap you add to a vehicle the more you have to deal with.

It gets worse when it comes to a newer sport motorcycle, especially one with ABS and traction control, as it's much more compact and before you know it you're ripping out the whole damn bike to reach a bad sensor, oil plug, etc.


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