Praise be. The manual gearbox isn’t dead. Okay, I don’t really imagine it was ever quite going to be. Car makers can only spend a certain amount of money on the cheapest cars and still return a profit, which means three-pedal models are going nowhere.
But for a time there, on some of the exciting stuff, it was touch and go. We don’t even think about mentioning manual gearboxes when it comes to Mercedes-AMGs, Ferraris or McLarens these days. I take it as read that you know there’s no stick-shift option coming. It looked like you might have to actively search out an Ariel or Caterham to find a thrilling car with a manual transmission.
There are decent reasons for the move towards autos. Modern two-pedal set-ups are quicker to shift, cleaner and more tuneable than manuals. Add an electric hybrid set-up and the fact that gearbox software can talk to the rest of the powertrain, andit can torque-fill and coast or do whatever the hell you want it to do. You can’t do that with a manual.
And I’ll accept that if a commuter car, or a luxury car with increasing levels of autonomy, has to make shifts for me, then such is life.