I will drive a manual transmission until I am no longer physically able to do so. The take rate on manual trannies has actually ticked up over the last few years (though still in the single digits, down from ~20% about 20yrs ago). It's genetic with me. My parents, both in their 60s, feel the exact same way. It just ain't driving without rowing your own gears. I can think of nothing more emasculating behind the wheel of a car than putting it into "D" to make it move.
The difference between a transmission in a car and things like a rotary phone vs a smartphone, a Blockbuster store vs Netflix, and film vs digital photography is that those things truly are massive time and energy savers. You can't say that dialing a rotary phone, driving to a blockbuster, or loading film takes no real thought to do or become second nature in the way that a manual trans does. I don't think about shifting gears, I just do it - it's not extra work in the way that the aforementioned are. You really don't save any actual time by driving an automatic and the only thing you're really cutting down on is some of the emotional connection to the car and, to many, the enjoyment and soul of driving. Driving is not just about the speed and ease of use. To most of us, it's a passion, it's engaging. Automatic transmissions... the blow-up doll of the automotive world. Sure, it cuts out some of the work, but it just doesn't feel as good as the real thing.
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2010 S4 Current | 2010 BMW 135i GONE | 2008 VW GTI SOLD | 2006 Lotus Exige SOLD