Manual Transmission Myths Car Enthusiasts Are Still Fighting About

There is just something about manual transmissions that makes the driving experience so much different. Of course, that is, in part, because the driving experience is very different, and many manual enthusiasts would argue that having a stick shift and clutch pedal is a better experience than allowing the car to shift for you. In the world of automatic enthusiasts, there is a steep divide between automatic and manual transmission drivers, but there are plenty of reasons why owning an automatic sports car is a reasonable choice.

Automatic transmissions have changed a lot

According to Edmunds, there are a lot of arguments that manual transmission fans can make against owning and driving an automatic sports car, but many of them are actually myths or have become untrue with time.

One argument many people make is that manual transmission sports cars offer better fuel economy than automatics, and while that may have been true when comparing certain cars many years ago, that isn’t necessarily the case now.

The example that Edmunds uses specifically directly compares the fuel economy of a manual transmission 2020 Chevrolet Camaro with that of the same vehicle with an automatic transmission. In this case, the automatic transmission offered 8.7% better fuel economy — though that can vary greatly with different cars and driving styles.

A gate stick shift in a Ferrari
A Ferrari interior | John Keeble, Getty Images

True sports cars come with options

Manual transmission enthusiasts might frown upon sports car drivers who own automatics, but not all sports cars come available with manual transmissions anymore. There are a lot of reasons why different manufacturers might choose to skip out on having a manual transmission option in their vehicles.

Many will even offer their cars with paddle shifters or a sports shifting option to help bridge the gap for owners who are looking for a more engaging driving experience.

Porsche 997 GT2 RS | Daniel Pullen, Future Publishing, Getty Images

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Manual transmission cars offer a better driving experience

While everyone has a different opinion of what makes a car fun to drive, there are plenty of reasons why driving an automatic is better for some people. In heavy traffic, or when driving with younger kids who can require more attention, having an automatic can be more convenient, and if you live in an area with a lot of steep hills it can also offer a degree of convenience.

Some modern-day sports cars, supercars, and even hypercars don’t come with the option for a manual transmission, as their computers are designed to offer peak performance when shifted at just the right moments, and the loss of the manual doesn’t necessarily make them bad vehicles.

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At the end of the day, the seemingly endless debate between manual transmission cars and automatics isn’t going anywhere, but some of the arguments made have become outdated, or even uninformed, making it less about personal preference and more about car enthusiasts desire to keep the manual transmission alive for as long as possible.