If we ever see the day when a Mustang GT is sold with a slushbox only, I will officially give up my love of cars for good.
I started thinking about this because the guys at Car and Driver recently sat down with Maurizio Reggiani, the director of research and development at Lamborghini, to get a hint of what we can expect next from the exotic Italians. Reggiani said that Lamborghini’s priorities are:
4. Top Speed
Fuel economy wasn’t on the list and, frankly, I’m happy to see that. However, the company will reduce emissions by adopting direct injection and cylinder-deactivation technologies.
Here’s the real sin, though: Reggiani hinted that Lamborghini may follow Ferrari in getting rid of manual transmissions from its vehicles. He said that manual transmissions are fitted to less than five percent of the company’s vehicles.
It makes sense, in a sick kind of way. But with raw horsepower inching closer to the 1,000 mark, it’s just getting too hard for a large portion of customers to handle it all. Modern automatic transmission systems are able to shift faster than any human can.
It seems like exotic car makers are all in a competition to beat each other’s acceleration times, which I’m afraid is leading cars away from actually being fun to drive.
We might as well put Lamborghinis on tracks and sell tickets to drive them at amusement parks.
Not that long ago, manual transmissions were the less-expensive, more-fun option that provided better fuel economy. Today automatics can wring out better mileage numbers, but they’ll never be as fun to drive.
As long as the exotics are the only ones to kill the row-your-own fun, I can live with it. But if manual transmissions eventually go the way of carburetors and crank windows, cars are going to be hard to love.
Will (or should) manual transmissions become obsolete?