It’s no secret: the general buying public has largely fallen out of love with the manual transmission. The only true benefit the gearbox offers these days are a fun to drive factor and a heightened sense of engagement with a vehicle. Automatics are, simply, much quicker now.
So, how about the best of both worlds? A manual transmission that can act like an automatic to please everyone. Former General Motors executive, Bob Lutz, sounded off on the topic in his latest Road and Track column after a reader suggested the technology.
The reader states:
With the prevalence of computer-controlled powertrains in cars today, it should be relatively easy to install a clutch pedal and shifter and employ software to make the automatic transmission act like a manual. This way, manufacturers would only need to integrate a single transmission to satisfy all their customers.
Lutz says it could easily be done, but questions why. The engineering and design needed would add cost and complications to satisfy a very small portion of the market. Translation: it’s best to keep building cars with a standalone manual gearbox option.
There will likely always be manual gearbox options for the sportiest cars in the near future, but there’s no denying automatics offer more benefits these days.