Rear-Wheel Drive and Manual Transmissions: Bye Bye, Babies

April 23rd, 2013

2013 Subaru BRZ

My favorite cars have rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. Can anything be better for weight distribution and complete control around corners than the ultimate combination of power-delivering perfection?

I’d take that combo in any car over a hatchback with 300 hp and front-wheel drive.

Unfortunately for people like me, a pretty good case has been made that says rear-wheel drive (RWD) is heading out the door, probably even before the manual transmission bites the dust.

To sum up the argument, RWD is just about obsolete. It has reached its speed and acceleration limit and can’t compete with AWD cars from the likes of Audi and Nissan. Since speed and 0-60 times are the be-all-end-all in sports cars and supercars, manufacturers are flocking to the AWD setup while leaving RWD smoldering in their dust.

The biggest argument, though, comes from the people who buy cars. They just don’t care what set of rubber spins against the pavement, so manufacturers are free to do whatever they want in their quest to keep up with the competition.

Since automatic and dual-clutch transmissions can shift through the gears much faster than any human equipped with a left foot, the same fate is descending upon manual transmissions.

That’s why cars like the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S should be considered minor miracles in this market. The only reason they exist is to satisfy a small but passionate group of enthusiasts. The fact that the cars exist at all goes against everything modern trends suggest. It wasn’t long ago that I flogged a BRZ with a 6-speed manual through the freeways and on-ramps of my local metro area. I’m not making any statements here about the existence of heaven, but I will say if the BRZ doesn’t exist there, it isn’t heaven.

As the years tick by, the likelihood of having a wide variety of new RWD manuals to choose from will only diminish. I might recommend bookmarking the CarGurus used listings right now as a major resource for RWD, MT fun for years to come.

Do you care which wheels propel your car forward?

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Subaru BRZ
Used Scion FR-S

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