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      10-17-2012, 07:39 PM   #1
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Manual Elitists Need To Stop Being Snobs

Read this article on Jalopnik, thought maybe I could get a few people riled up in here. What do you guys think?

Source: http://jalopnik.com/5952570/a-manual...ium=socialflow


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A Manual Transmission Is Not The Only Way To Enjoy A Car And You Need To Deal With It

Travis Okulski


Car enthusiasts have been bemoaning the lack of manual transmissions in cars for what seems like an eternity. Every time a new car comes out and it doesn't offer a manual gearbox, it gets shunned by every card carrying member of the enthusiast community.

But guess what? The manual transmission is outdated technology and there are better things out there. It's time to get over it and say bye bye.
Before I get yelled at by all of you, I want to say that we're not too different. I love a good manual gearbox. If a car has one, I'm instantly more interested in it. And let me tell you, nailing a perfectly rev matched downshift instantly makes me smile. I'm absolutely for putting manual transmissions in everything. When I have a little Travis or Travisette running around I'm going to find a way to stick one in his or her Cozy Coupe.

But I am totally against the notion that having a manual is the only way to properly enjoy a car. That is bullshit. Complete bullshit.

'Manual elitists,' as I call them, will shirk the notion that a car without a third pedal can be engaging to drive. They say that it isn't pure, it isn't as much fun, they don't feel connected.

Bull. Take a current Nissan GT-R to a race track and drive it as fast you can. Then tell me it would be better with a manual gearbox. It just wouldn't be. Your corner speeds will be slower, your straight-line speeds will be slower, and your lap times will be slower.
But you say you don't feel engaged? The point of driving a car quickly, either on a race track or a road, is to make it from the start to finish as fast as humanly possible. If you drive a GT-R on track and don't feel engaged, well, then you just aren't going fast enough.

For a long, long time, a manual gearbox was the best way to do just that, to be the fastest.

It just isn't the case anymore. Times have changed, and we enthusiasts need to adapt to it as well. Everyone dislikes someone who repeatedly refers to the past and says "in my day, we did it this way."

That's what we in the enthusiast community are becoming. Nostalgia is our enemy, technology is our friend.

Funny thing is, a bunch of manual elitists probably own an iPod, subscribe to Netflix, and own a smart phone. The rest of their lives evolved, yet they just can't let the manual tranny go.

I see the manual gearbox like a film camera. When digital first hit the scene, it was terrible. People stuck with film. However, over time, digital got better and better and more and more people started switching. It got to a point where the pros and the stubborn were the only ones with film.

And guess what? Now even the pros use digital. And much like how they could manipulate film better than the average person, their digital pictures are that much better.

It's the same case here. Give a Porsche 991 with a PDK gearbox to two drivers, one great, one not so great. The double clutch transmission will not suddenly make the bad driver a God. He'll still be a mortal. The good driver will be able to manipulate the gearbox better and get the most out of it. He'll still be faster.
And that's where I think a lot of manual defense comes from: fear and snobbery. People think they're members of an elite club just because they know how a clutch works and can heel and toe. Guess what? You're alienating possible enthusiasts by being that way.

As enthusiasts, we should want to welcome everyone, not be scared of others suddenly being better at driving than us. First off, they won't be. Secondly, more competition for the fastest time is better. It's more fun. And having people interested in driving faster makes more enthusiasts. Giving them access to the tools to be quick breeds enthusiasm.

With people caring less and less about cars, we need to make more enthusiasts. We aren't helping by lambasting anyone that can't drive a manual gearbox.

By making exciting cars more accessible to people that may not be as skilled creates passion. Passion builds bonds. Bonds create friends. That's what we need in the enthusiast community.

What we don't need is snobbery and fear of the new.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock, Nissan, Porsche
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      10-17-2012, 07:48 PM   #2
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While I do think any car enthusiast should do themselves the favor of learning how to drive a traditional manual if they don't know how, after that, it's down to personal preference.

That said, I prefer to be directly in control of as many mechanical parts as I can be in my cars.

http://m.jalopnik.com/5952666/yes-yo...-transmissions
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      10-17-2012, 08:06 PM   #3
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Shitty article... I say, unless you have no left leg (a friend of mine lost his leg in a motorcycle accident at VIR), are fat and/or old, you have to drive a manual. It's the whole thing of women having babies. They HAVE to have the babies. We HAVE to drive manual sports cars.
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      10-17-2012, 10:04 PM   #4
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OP, you drive an auto 335i don't you?
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      10-18-2012, 12:06 AM   #5
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Manual elitists are just a vocal minority.

There are thousands of people who agree with the OP and simply won't post because there's nothing terribly interesting about circle-jerking over how superior paddle-shifting sports cars are.

Unfortunately for manual elitists, all they're really doing is vastly limiting the number of sports cars they'd be willing to own. It's their loss.
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      10-18-2012, 01:21 AM   #6
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The problem is.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by NemesisX View Post
Manual elitists are just a vocal minority.

There are thousands of people who agree with the OP and simply won't post because there's nothing terribly interesting about circle-jerking over how superior paddle-shifting sports cars are.

Unfortunately for manual elitists, all they're really doing is vastly limiting the number of sports cars they'd be willing to own. It's their loss.
The problem is there are very few cars with dual clutch auto's that will out perform a manual on a track. Take the GTR, Porsche, Ferrari, or most exotics out of the equation and what are you left with. I drive a 135 and there is no way I would be faster with the dct much less have more fun.

The point of driving a car on a track is not to get the fastest time, but to have the most fun going fast. There will always be faster cars and faster drivers than you period. Plus unless you are racing for money than your lap times don't mean anything other than to judge your ability and your areas to improve.

Here is a thought go to your local track and watch an HPDE. Tell me what kind of cars you see there? Miata's, Corvette's, Mustangs, BMW's, Porsche's. You know what the common denominator is? Vast majority of them are manuals.

I have driven a 458, GTR, and a Turbo S w/PDK all on a race track and outside of the 458 I could take it or leave it. The 458 is a freakin animal and there isn't anything better than that tranny, but for every other car I think I'd enjoy a manual more. Something about the challenge of the perfect down shift, or managing your shifting points on a track that engages you much more than an auto faster or not.

Now add that F1 tranny in the 458 to every car, and I'll drive the snot out of that.

Last edited by blutattoo; 10-18-2012 at 01:27 AM.
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      10-18-2012, 01:41 AM   #7
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^ Add the M3 DCT to that list. Far superior than the M3 6MT.

Hell, BMW isn't even going to make a 6MT version of the M5 anymore
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      10-18-2012, 02:46 AM   #8
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Strangely I agree with the article, yet I still prefer a manual on and off the track. I know I'd be faster with DCT, but I just love all the extra work that goes into driving a manual. But dual clutch trannies (at least the fast ones) are appealing for other reasons and I have to admit, firing off those lightning fast downshifts sounds and feels pretty amazing as well.

But the steptronic shift in my wife's 335i? No thanks.
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      10-18-2012, 02:49 AM   #9
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That article by Jalopnik is pretty juvenile - It sounds like it's written by somebody who doesn't know how to drive a standard.
Of course, I'm sure that's not the case (as it's written by Travis Okulski, one of their editors), however I can't help feeling the author's point of view is as skewed as those he's criticizing.

The point of all cars isn't simply to get the best lap times, nor does a manual gearbox provide the only means to be fully engaged.

Why can't both have their place with enthusiasts?
This is a stupid article.

edit: it's under the rant section on Jalopnik - that's where it belongs.
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      10-18-2012, 06:17 AM   #10
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Paddles are for canoes.

Real men have 3 pedals.
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      10-18-2012, 06:57 AM   #11
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It depends clearly on the car, I wouldn't want my F10 in manual, it would just not fit for me, but on the other side I would not want my Z06 in auto either.
As for current BMW M3, M5 I am very happy with the DKG. They are still very fun to drive and you can relax when stuck in traffic.

I think this snobbery is much more present in the US, as in Europe 90% of the people know how to drive a stick shift, very few people make an auto only driving licence, so it is nothing special.
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      10-18-2012, 07:03 AM   #12
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But guess what? The manual transmission is outdated technology and there are better things out there. It's time to get over it and say bye bye.
Before I get yelled at by all of you, I want to say that we're not too different. I love a good manual gearbox. If a car has one, I'm instantly more interested in it. And let me tell you, nailing a perfectly rev matched downshift instantly makes me smile. I'm absolutely for putting manual transmissions in everything.


Sorry, but this guy's a walking contradiction...if want to drive an automatic, fine, I can appreciate that...but at least give me the option to get the old, slow manual transmission. If the only goal is to get from point A to point B the absolute fastest you really should be on a two-wheel machine or better yet a jet-pack.
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      10-18-2012, 07:11 AM   #13
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I have an auto myself, because it was traded into my dealership that way haha. There are times I've longed after a manual though. Would I trade my car in over it? Nah. I understand the mentality though, and it's warranted, but there's a way to appreciate manuals and not be so blinkered against the advances and the new technologies that go into steptronics and DCTs. If two identical cars had been traded in, with each tranny, I have no doubt I would have picked the standard. And if I had, I'd expect people to respect my opinion and decision, the same way I do now with my auto.

tl;dr: being an enthusiast and driving an auto/dct isn't mutually exclusive. Be mindful.
Pointless article though, if I may so so myself.
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      10-18-2012, 07:38 AM   #14
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Manual elitist here. Or at least somewhat. Love the feeling. When I'm driving, I'm engaged in a fun activity and a hobby, even if I'm just going to the store or to work. It's not about speed, it's about being in control of the car as if it were an appendage.

I was considering getting floppy paddles this time around. I will admit they are really cool and definitely provide that "I'm an F1 driver now" feel. But then I realized... unless the car is really fast and the transmission is a super-fast DCT megabox, the floppy paddles are really just a rewired "sport mode." It takes all the fun out of them. AFAIK, the 335i doesn't get a sequential dual-clutch gearbox that will only shift when you tell it to.

And that, for me, is the let down.

I've driven cars with the sport shifting and they are fun for about 10 minutes. And then you leave the lever in sport and just go because you know the transmission is going to shift anyways.

I like a manual because I'm in control of the gear I'm in at all times. If I wanted to, I can hold it at 6000 rpm until I run out of gas. So I want paddles that are manual levers - that is the car won't shift no matter what until I tell it to. I want to be in control of the gearbox to the nth degree.

Until then, I'll make do with a simple manual.
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      10-18-2012, 07:48 AM   #15
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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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      10-18-2012, 08:09 AM   #16
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The article is repeating the same old arguments over and over ...

I thoroughly enjoy my manual transmission car on the street and the track. It's especially nice at the track because I don't have to worry about an overheating transmission unlike if I had the automatic version of my car. It's also lighter.
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      10-18-2012, 08:31 AM   #17
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I can get a cheeseburger from McDonald's for $1.00. It is faster, cheaper, quicker, easier and more convenient.

I can make a gourmet burger, at home on my grill, for $10.00. It takes more time, effort, going to the store, and energy.

Just because something is faster, cheaper and less involved does not make it better than something that is slower, more expensive and more involved.
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      10-18-2012, 08:59 AM   #18
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A lot of you guys already touched on the point I was going to make. I don't get the manual transmission because it's faster, and I don't give a shit if there is a DCT or DSG or whatever else that will shift faster than I can.... I enjoy driving more when I row my own. Plain and simple. I had a Step 335 and although I've got left knee issues, I was kicking myself every day for going that route. It took the involvement out of driving in a way, and I made sure to grab an MT on my next car, which I LOVE despite the knee issue and the fact that I'm commuting in shitty traffic every day.

I'm not going to say manuals are generally better or try to fight the fact that automated manual gearboxes are faster, but I'd like to keep my option in the future of having the opportunity to shift on my own. That's all.
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      10-18-2012, 12:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
Paddles are for canoes.

Real men have 3 pedals.
Pedals are for flowers.

Real men have 2 clutches in their transmissions.


...Just playing devils advocate. I loves me some manual shifting.
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      10-18-2012, 12:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ135 View Post
Pedals are for flowers.

Real men have 2 clutches in their transmissions.


...Just playing devils advocate. I loves me some manual shifting.
That doesn't quite work. *petals*
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      10-18-2012, 12:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GammaZeta View Post
I can get a cheeseburger from McDonald's for $1.00. It is faster, cheaper, quicker, easier and more convenient.

I can make a gourmet burger, at home on my grill, for $10.00. It takes more time, effort, going to the store, and energy.

Just because something is faster, cheaper and less involved does not make it better than something that is slower, more expensive and more involved.
I nominate this post for worst analogy ever.
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      10-18-2012, 12:59 PM   #22
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AWESOME ARTICE.. I really don't see the point anymore of a manual (Stick) and car manufactures know it. For me its a hassle to worry about a car stalling or most of my family members not being about to drive it.

Also a friend of mine had a 360 spider and was in a bad car accident his left leg was almost unusable but thanks to the Paddles in the Ferrari he could still enjoy driving.
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