By on February 2, 2015

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In the annals of automotive history, there is a litany of ill-fated replacements to improve upon the manual gearbox. From Citroen’s semi-automatic gearbox in the DS, to the Tiptronic system of 1990’s Porsches, the attempts by various manufacturers to offer the performance and driver engagement of a manual with the ease and convenience of an automatic have universally failed. For a time, it looked as if the dual-clutch transmission had finally achieved this synthesis, but outside of performance applications, they proved disappointing. Balky starts, jerky shifts and a reputation for sub-par reliability marred the adoption of these units. It looks as if the great equalizer has come in the form of a tried and true torque converter automatic transmission.

The ZF 8-Speed automatic has proven to be exceptional in every single application. From the BMW X1 to the Jaguar F-Type to the Dodge Charger Hellcat , the ZF unit has a remarkable ability to perfectly adapt to whatever driving conditions are at hand. In traffic it shifts imperceptibly, while on the highway it lets the engine hum along at RPMs that ensure relatively miserly fuel consumption.

When its set for performance, shifts are snapped off in such a rapid manner that even the best dual-clutch units from Volkswagen and Porsche would be hard-pressed to claim a qualitative edge. In certain applications, like the Hellcat, it’s downright violent when the appropriate settings are engaged – yet it can still return 22 mpg on the highway.

There is one thing that a two-pedal transmission can never replicate, and it’s not the purity of the driving experience, the bragging rights of owning a manual or even the increased engagement with the car. It’s the rhythmic motion of working the clutch and the gear lever, and it’s what keeps me coming back to the stick shift. I find it incredibly relaxing, even in the worst stop and go traffic. On an open road, there is nothing better than pressing the clutch, moving the shifter into its gate, feeling the mechanical precision, letting the clutch out and watching the revs fall back to the appropriate RPM.

But my mindset changed when Jaguar announced a manual F-Type V6S (my favorite variant of the range). The prospect of a three-pedal setup didn’t seem as enticing as flicking a paddle, hearing the burble and pop of the exhaust and feeling the infinitesimally rapid *thud* in my back as each shift propelled me forward.

But I’m not in the market for an F-Type. Or any car that uses the ZF 8-speed auto. My next car will more than likely three pedals. I can’t imagine it any other way. Unless I get a MK7 Golf R. I’ll explain later this week in the full-length review.

 

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128 Comments on “Editorial: Three Cheers For Eight Speeds...”


  • avatar
    Schizoid

    Commute 60 miles round trip to Manhattan daily. Driving a stick makes it tolerable, even pleasant.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I make a similar run to NYC but once a week or so. With a stick, it’s a drive I look forward to. Benefits of a manual include:

      1. no silly sport buttons or extraneous eco buttons. How and when you shift determines whether you are enthusiastic or eco.
      2. no documented case of unintended acceleration with a manual. To be fair to automatics, most cases are likely to be human error.
      3. a manual is a better flirting machine with a new GF (or BF).

      That said, I am willing to give up a manual in a fully electric vehicle. A stick wouldn’t make sense in it as there is just forward and reverse. But I won’t give up a manual in an ICE — a stick just make better sense, and makes you a better driver (see #2).

    • 0 avatar
      kuman

      The only auto approved in my book at the moment is a CVT. Subaru XV 2.0 with CVT.

      Manual is fun, until one of these condition apply

      1st, traffic jam is all you can see. hours of bumper to bumper traffic is such a killjoy for manual tranny. especially bumper to bumper traffic on inclines.

      2nd, when rock crawling on construction sites or climbing long inclines, CVT wins.

      3rd, try to hypermile like a lunatic.

      Every other case, manual is my prefered method :D

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I would ride a bus/cab whatever if I had to drive a stick daily. A half hour in traffic, and I’m done. Last time I borrowed a friend’s car, a Corolla, to take my dogs and his to the vet, I wanted to call a cab and burn the car up. Give me an auto, anytime. My next car will definitely have an 8 speed auto in it.

      A friend of mine has 3 vehicles with 8 speed transmissions now, A Ram, A Grand Cherokee, and a new Challenger R/T Scatpack.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Drive a ZF 8HP with more than a few thousand miles. You might cease to be impressed.

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      What car is this in?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        2012 Audi A6 3.0T. I drove it for the first time in more than a week this morning, and the transmission is worse than I remembered. It’s got about 40k miles, the transmission had lost the plot by 15k. Now, it is also slow to respond to paddle inputs and a floored gas pedal. Previously, the biggest issues were always rushing upshifts in drive in traffic, slamming downshifts, and snapping heads when you lift the throttle in sport. When new, it was the second smoothest overdrive automatic I’d experienced. Now it’s the worst thing about the car.

        • 0 avatar
          NeilM

          @CJinSD: So what have you done about the unsatisfactory transmission performance? Have you had the adaptation cleared, and if not, why not?

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I am singularly unimpressed with the 8spd in the various A4s I have rented. Dimwitted at best. And the same on the car with 300 miles on it as the car with 35000 miles on it. Presume this is Audi’s fault and not ZF’s, as the nominally same transmission in sundry BMW’s is the best modern automatic I have ever driven.

          Of course, that is like being the prettiest girl in the leper colony, but I freely admit to having Luddite tendencies.

        • 0 avatar
          maxxcool7421

          Not defending the Tranny to much.. but early versions suffer terribly from bad tune software. take it back and complain and I am about 80% sure the Audi tech will admit there is a tsb and a firmware update.

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            I complained to the Audi dealer about the 8-speed auto slamming downshifts at low speeds and I was told that it “performed per factory spec”. However, they did claim to reset the transmission adaptation, which changed nothing.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          Last Fall Acura introduced this type of transmission in the TLX, it’s first eight-speed transmission, a dual-clutch gearbox w/ an industry-first torque converter.

          “Honda’s new 8-speed DCT uses a torque converter”

          “The 2015 Acura TLX replaces the TSX and the TL, and offers a ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic transmission (the 9HP) with the optional 3.5-L V6. The base car pairs its 2.4-L I4 with a Honda-developed 8-speed DCT, which features the novel twist of a torque converter in place of a clutch. Honda claims it’s the first production DCT so equipped.”
          http://articles.sae.org/13432/

          I think one reason C&D preferred the 4 cylinder over the 6 was because the Honda developed transmission performed better than the ZF.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            Well, just about everyone knows the 9 speed ZF is a bit of a dog – dog clutch nightmare that is. It’s for transverse engine applications.

            The ZF 8 speed is for longitudinal engine applications and is an entirely different unit. TTAC even had the technical rundown on both these transmissions a year ago or so.

            The 8HP has gained univers

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            Well, just about everyone knows the 9 speed ZF is a bit of a dog – dog clutch nightmare that is. It’s for transverse engine applications.

            The ZF 8 speed is for longitudinal engine applications and is an entirely different unit. TTAC even had the technical rundown on both these transmissions a year ago or so.

            The 8HP has gained universal admiration, which is what this editorial is about. Only Audi seems to have had a hard time implementing it.

    • 0 avatar

      I drove an F-Type V8S with about 12k on it. 12,00 hard, press fleet miles. It was fine.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        No issues with mine. Every manufacturer calibrates it differently, so any perceived shifting issues could be the result of the cal instead of the hardware itself.

      • 0 avatar
        STRATOS

        I never had any issues with ZF transmissions in Jaguars ,currently only a 6 speed.My only bad point is that you have to change the whole pan ,which is integrated with the filter and flushing is the only method of changing fluid.No partial refills with drain, like previous models.

    • 0 avatar
      PJmacgee

      20k miles on my ZF8, still as perfect as Day 1. Smooth shifts in relaxed driving, quick snaps through the gears when floored, downshifts when appropriate. Audi must’ve dropped the ball on the stupid adaptive programming…

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Cue the Luddites crying over their two-speed Powerglides.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      The Powerglide is still good for one thing: drag racing!

      Hence why every Top Fuel 7 second funny car has an insanely overbuilt version…

      • 0 avatar
        beastpilot

        That’s the world’s slowest top fuel vehicle. They generally run 3 second 1,000′ runs. They also don’t use transmissions that can shift…

        I think you mean pro stock.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        Top Fuel and Funny cars haven’t had ANY transmission for many many years! They don’t need any torque multiplication. They have a centrifical locking clutch controlled with timers.
        They don’t have any water or other coolant either!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I had two of those, and three Torqueflites, two with push buttons. I’ll take the Torqueflite every time.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I used to be a stick snob, but driving in stop-and-go traffic, aging joints, and the ability for my wife to drive any car in our fleet means I probably won’t own another stick as a daily driver.

    Besides, sticks aren’t any better on fuel these days, and a well-maintained automatic will last a very long time – longer than a clutch.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      And even if it doesn’t last, no rebuilds necessary- just buy a warrantied replacement and have someone throw it in.

      I’m still not quite there yet but I think the day will come eventually. I’m enjoying stickshift for now though

    • 0 avatar

      +1000 for your comment

      Your comment single handedly spelled the doom of the manual transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The new Tacoma shows us where things are going: automatics will be for base models and manuals will be the premium option, only available on performance models.

        That’s a great thing. It used to be that it was hard to get a manual in a non-base car. You could go with the manual, or heated leather seats, but not both.
        Manufacturers are finally realizing that people who like manual transmissions are going to pay for them, and for lots of other premium stuff. It was a really poor marketing decision to force them into cheaper cars when they were willing to pay more.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          It does make sense to put manuals on the performance versions, but I think even with that, the clutch pedal + stick shift configuration will go extinct.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          I agree about the Tacoma and I hope that is a correct assumption on the direction of the market because it makes sense to me.
          These days people who choose to drive stick aren’t always scraping the bottom of the the price bargain barrel. Many, like me want the higher end spec and the 3rd peddle.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          I wish I could agree with you, but I think the manual transmission is destined to go the way of the carburetor and the manual choke.

          Stick shift demand is steadily dropping and, as Derek and others have noted, they no longer have a performance or fuel economy advantage (from what I understand, its now a disadvantage).

          They’re available on fewer and fewer models – at some point, OEMs will start dropping them altogether.

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            Yep, the writing is on the wall. Like vinyl records, there will always be a few models that will offer a manual (sports cars, mostly), but automatics are getting so good that the reasons for getting a manual will come down to user preference. As generations grow up never knowing otherwise, I can’t see manual shifting becoming anything other than a curiosity.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      I’m sorry, but I just refuse to believe this, or people just can’t drive.
      I’ve owned everything to econo-boxes to cars with over 350 lb-ft torque and I’ve never replaced a clutch. All cars went well over 200k miles, 1 went well over 300k. They were all replaced before any signs of clutch issues presented. All driven in very populated US metro centers for the majority of their lives.

      About 50% of friends/family that owned autos seem to have to replace them for one reason or another around 200k miles or less (and they require vastly more maintenance prior to that point that any of my manual boxes – which are frankly a one time lube change and that it, unless I am driving in a way that would generate significant tranny temps, then more frequent changes)
      I will say that the majority of manual drivers I’ve ridden with severely slip their clutches and I would never let them drive my cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I have 312k on a 5 speed manual ZF box. Original clutch. A few Red Line changes here and there….

      The last autobox I replaced was a THM 350 in 1977.

      My 08 Acura MDX had multiple Torque Converter issues, which were eventually fixed with revised parts…and different fluid, so that was an Acura screwup, not an autobox problem.

      I’m guessing that at this point, for most folks, it is personal preference until you get out past the normal “trade in” point. My 300k car not withstanding (the autobox in that car is a GM unit which lasts, according to the relevant forums, 120k-200k, so I guess I saved about $2500 over the life of the car).

      When it came to my VW, I drove, but after reading up, avoided the DSG box. The fluid change requires a special tool/$400 day at the dealer, both of which were a bit much for routine maintenance. I can see this being a BIG issue in the used market, as the interval is 40,000 miles, or for me, every 18 months. Deferred maintenance, anyone ? Pass, even though the box itself was nice. I can see black tape over the “DSG” light in a majority of the cars, as “it shifts just fine”, till it doesn’t.

      Also drove the 8 speed box in a 2 series, recently…pretty darn good..probably the best autobox I’d ever driven.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        My TDI has a DSG , no issues the 40 k tranny flush is about 175 bucks at a indie worth it to me, like you 40k is about 18 months driving , good unit no issues at 102,000

        • 0 avatar
          JLGOLDEN

          I had the DSG in my 2010 GTI and also in my 2012 Jetta TDI. Both of these transmissions were lovely on the highway, but scary when trying to drive gently away from a stop, all the way up to 24 mph. There was lurch, bucking, audible clacking, pop, and chatter noises. Passengers even questioned it. Ther was no way to guarantee a smooth launch or smooth drive in my neighborhood, or in parking lots. Several dealer reflash efforts were useless. No DSG ever again!

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            I can’t explain why you’ve had so many issues as my 2010 GTI with DSG has performed smoothly and efficiently over its 50,000 mile life. Never once have I experienced any ill behavior at all. I’m sorry to hear of your experience.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      In a car with proper gearing, not stupid like a manual Fit, I don’t believe for a second that the automatic will get better mileage anywhere other than the EPA test. For the simple reason that every time you breath on the throttle, it will downshift. Probably even more true on turbocharged cars.

      Plus an automatic can only ever be reactive, and other than in a Rolls-Royce or 7-series with the GPS enabled transmission, to a very small number of inputs with no intelligence to the outside world. A manual can be driven proactively.

      And count me among those who have rarely ever had clutch issues. I’ve only ever replaced two, on my ’84 GLI at about 220K miles, and on my Triumph because I had the engine out anyway and I figured I might as well. I’ve never had a manual gearbox issue, though I have had numerous automatic gearbox issues over the years. I’ll keep buying manuals until I can’t, then I may just not buy new cars anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        “For the simple reason that every time you breath on the throttle, it will downshift.”

        This is not not my experience at all, except, of course, when the car has an engine two sizes too small, in which case a manual won’t help it drive any better.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @redav

          Sure it will. It won’t down shift unless I want it to. I’m in no hurry as a general rule, if it takes an extra 5-10 seconds to smoothly increase speed no big thing.

          Cars that lock and unlock the TC as you go on and off the throttle drive me nuts too.

          And don’t even get me started on “fake creep” in cars that don’t have a torque converter! If my foot is not pressing the throttle, DO NOT MOVE! Stupid, stupid, stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        I agree with this. It is well known that OEM game the EPA test and an auto, and its now associated shift algorithms, allow them to do this to a greater degree. Manual tuning is limited as driveability is a big concern.

        Honda had the guts to say that with the same gears and final drive, an auto will never be able to out perform the economy of a manual, simply because it is reactive. A driver can proactively shift in response to road features and anticipate when more or less torque is required well before an auto can. Small gains, sure. But they add up.

        Not that it really matters. From an economy standpoint, a modern 8+ spd auto is great. An gains from an 8 spd manual would be minscule

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I hear the “stop-n-go traffic” and “aging joints” complaint a lot, but unless you’re driving a ’69 International Harvester, you’ve got a hydraulic clutch with effortless pumps. It doesn’t make sense unless you have trouble walking.

      Just say shifting annoys you, and rather have the car do it for you. That’s perfectly fine. It doesn’t mean you’re not a car enthusiast.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Well it depends on what 69 International Harvester you have. If you have a 1x00C (round body) you would have a juice clutch.

      • 0 avatar
        LeeK

        My ’92 SHO’s clutch beat me up and I was in my 30s at the time. I really disliked that car, with the truck-like clutch and vague shift gates being particularly worthy of my ire. I sold it for an SVT Contour and couldn’t have been happier with the second Ford’s clutch action — it was a delight.

        The point is that not all manual transmissions are easy to use. My friend’s ’03 G35 Coupe comes to mind with its miserably high and grabby engagement. I’d rather have an automatic than endure that mess every day.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Seconded. I had an ’89 SHO and the feel was very trucklike. Heavy clutch, high shift effort, grinding if you tried to shift even a bit quickly.

          Fortunately the powerband on that amazing Yamaha engine was so wide (more or less full torque from 1500 to 7000 rpm), and the sound so marvelous, that not shifting was often a reasonable option.

          The move from the SHO to an ’04 TSX with Honda’s flawless transverse 6-speed and its snick-snick action was revelatory.

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            Yes, that engine growl from the Yamaha V-6 with the “bucket of snakes” intake manifold was indeed heavenly. But what a crude car the SHO was. Nice idea — an American sports sedan — but poorly executed.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    I don’t know that the ZF 8 speed is better than a stick. Well, I flatly deny that it is because when given the option, I went with the stick.

    What I will say is that the ZF 8 speed better than a DSG any-day-of-the-week. the shifts are almsot as fast (if not faster), it has better logic, it doesn’t have the ridiculous double clutch nonsense, it doesn’t need stupid expensive regular maintenance, it doesn’t crap it’s mechatronics unit on the asphalt, and it does handle far more power.

    People can debate whether or not automatics have obsoleted stick shifts, but the real debate should be have traditional automatics obsoleted dual clutch manumatics? I think they have.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I think mainstream autos have a long way to go with regards to responsiveness and manual control. Even with that, I just don’t know that I could do it. I was in the market for a mainstreamer and test drove an MKV GTI DSG… the box was great, car was great, but I went with a manual Civic instead.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    If this is going to be about automatic vs. manual transmissions then let me say that their are good and bad in both. One is not better then the other. Certain cars function better when mated with an auto and some are just inherently more fun with a stick.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The only two things I prefer an automatic for are towing heavy loads and plowing snow. I am perfectly happy with an automatic in a truck. The old ZF 4spd in my Rover is brilliant. It is in 4th gear and locked up at 32mph. It hardly ever shifts at all, thus it almost never does anything stupid. Of course, it also gets 12-16mpg. 18 on a REALLY good day in the country.

  • avatar

    I love shifting gears. The only car I ever had with a slushbox was my second car, a then 9 year old ’63 Chevy Impala that was given to me.

    I have taught about a dozen people, mostly children of siblings and friends, but a few adults, how to shift.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Everyone that I’ve taught to drive stick refuses to buy an automatic. And this after most have said, following years of automatic cars, “why would you ever drive a stick shift?”

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Driving around nyc you would be crazy to drive a stick everyday, just spent 4 hours today to go 70 miles, love my auto , will save the stick for the weekend summer car thanks

        • 0 avatar
          See 7 up

          To each his own.
          I’ve lived in LA and had terrible commutes. I don’t like an auto in traffic, I prefer a manual. Traffic sucks either way, but in a manual I am typically using the clutch less than the constant need to apply brakes in an auto (my right leg gets tired). This annoys me (and maybe me alone).

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @See 7 up

            You are definitely NOT all alone. If you are shifting all the time in traffic, you are doing it wrong. Having to ride the brakes constantly sucks.

  • avatar
    kkop

    I have both the 8-speed (in a Ram), and a manual 6-speed (in the Challenger). Both are perfect for their applications IMO: convenience in the truck, and engagement in the car.

    The 8-speed is such a giant step ahead of the old 5-speed AT in the Ram (one of which we also own): the 8-speed seems to have gained an uncanny understanding of when to up- and downshift, when to engine brake, and when to hold gears. Only 4,000 miles on it, but very happy with it so far! The fuel economy isn’t too bad either for a 4×4 crew cab: pushing 19mpg in mixed use.

    • 0 avatar
      Speedygreg7

      Do you have an 8cyl, 6cyl or diesel? What rear end? At work we have two 2014 RAM 1500 3.6 V6 with 3.21 rear. The trans is very smooth but upshifts too soon and to the two overdrive gears at too low a speed. I know it is seeking maximum economy, but it is too busy shifting and constantly shifts 6-7-8-7-6 while maintaining steady speed on 45-50mph roads with gentle hills. I use tow/haul which seems to lock out 7-8 and makes the truck much more responsive and relaxing to drive, delaying shifting and increasing engine braking. I return to regular mode once on the highway running 60mph.

      • 0 avatar
        kkop

        Ours is the Hemi, so 8cyl, with 3.92 rear. No hunting at all in this setup.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        50 mph is about the point my car wants to go into 8th on level ground. Steady state at that speed, it’ll occasionally go down to 7th, but unless you’re watching the gear indicator, you rarely notice. Yes, the transmission ‘hunts’ for the right gear, it’s supposed to do that in order to allow the benefits of the extra ratios to be realized. The key is making the shifts imperceptible enough that the occupants find them acceptible. Hunting by itself isn’t a problem if the transmission can do it without jerking the passengers around like a shift-kitted Turbo 400.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    What blows my mind is all the wasted fuel because it took us this long to get here! Decades of two, three, and 4 with one overdrive ratio transmissions is shameful and shows that the auto industry will not adapt unless forced to by regulation. Especially on manuals where even 5 speeds are still offered! There’s little reason to not be offering at least 7 or 8 speed manuals and automatics minimum!

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Do you think the *materials technology* improvements of the previous, er, 70 years might have *some small part to play* in that?

      Oh, and these “computer” things. I hear they’re maybe relevant to modern transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      It’s not the materials – it’s the controls.

      Time-warp back to the old 2 speed Powerglide: First gear engaged using an overrunning clutch to hold back one of the internal gears. Hydraulic pressure from a governor rose with road speed. When that exceeded a certain pressure that was related to how far the driver was pressing the accelerator, a valve shifted, which engaged another clutch, the 1st-gear overrunning clutch let go. Very simple logic: If the hydraulic pressure from road speed exceeded the hydraulic pressure from accelerator pedal, you had high gear. If not, you didn’t. If the transmission was in first gear when it shouldn’t have been (coasting), the overrunning clutch took up what would otherwise have been a big lurch. If the transmission was in second when it shouldn’t have been (climbing a big hill), the torque converter gave the torque multiplication that (somewhat) covered up the transmission being in the wrong gear.

      The traditional 3 speed transmissions were also like this but in two stages. Still, there was two shift elements for which the same logic was used; the 2nd-gear brake was engaged if road speed hydraulic pressure exceeded aaccelerator pedal hydraulic pressure at one threshold and the direct clutch was engaged when this happened at a higher threshold. The torque converter and the low-gear overrunning clutch covered up the imperfections of this strategy.

      The new gear arrangements require more complicated shift logic, in which certain shift elements engage, then disengage, then engage again, then disengage, as it goes through the shift sequence. The old hydraulic systems weren’t capable of that.

      Yes, we’ve had computers since the 1980s. Yes, we’ve had some extent of computerized transmissions since then. But the real factor that enabled these transmissions was the ability for the transmission and engine controls to co-ordinate their actions, so that the shift can be done smoothly without releasing the torque converter lock-up clutch. That’s much trickier than it sounds.

      The old transmissions covered up the slight “dumbness” of the control systems by leaving the torque converter unlocked. With most of the old 4 speed automatics, torque converter lockup was the last thing that happened in the upshift sequence and the first thing in the downshift sequence. Not good for efficiency – but using the gears instead of the torque converter requires controls smarter than what was available until the modern era of CANbus networked controls throughout the vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      What blows my mind is that people think all this government intervention does 1/2 has much as a significant tax on fuel would do. Passenger vehicles in Germany have had a fleet average several decades ahead of the USA’s. i.e.: the Germans seem to be able to hit USA fleet fuel economy ratings using technology 20 or 30 years older than ours.

      From the article… “[the new 8-speed ZF] can still return 22 mpg on the highway.” Yay, so now you can have a 500 HP pickup truck the size and weight of a barn and still achieve the efficiency of a 25 year old pickup truck with a 4-speed manual, carburetor, and mechanical spark timing (but half the acceleration).

      These 8-speed transmission will be a perfect example of the Jevons Paradox. We’ll get more power, more acceleration, higher top speeds, gigantic trucks, and more driving, but _overall_ fuel consumption probably won’t be reduced. Have you noticed that with the low fuel prices people are buying more “light” trucks and are flying more?

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        I tend to agree with what you’re saying, if we had more 8 speed manuals and autos hooked to properly tuned small torquy turbo motors a person could cruise all day long around 1500 rpm and shift around 2500 rpm under normal driving and get outstanding milage, while still having the higher rpm range when needed. Instead, some manufacturers have used these improvements to create total overkill.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “the Germans seem to be able to hit USA fleet fuel economy ratings using technology 20 or 30 years older than ours.”

        What? BMW and Mercedes have traditionally been some of the most consistent contributors to the CAFE fine coffers for not meeting the standards.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @Danio3834

          Because they have generally only sold cars here with completely unnecessary levels of straight line performance compared to what the average European buys.

          I drive the weeny 328i and it has performance that is completely unnecessary for a grocery getter. <6 seconds to 60 and 150+mph top speed. How much more efficient would it be if it only had power for a more than acceptable 8.5 to 60 and 125mph? But we didn't get that choice in the US.

          Saab built LPT 2.3T motors in the late 90's that could get 35mpg easily on the highway in a big 9-5 with those sorts of performance numbers – what could we do with 15 years more technology?

          • 0 avatar
            Brian P

            But will Americans buy European-style vehicles with European-sized (read: small) engines?

            A car like that will get to the enthusiast press who will shred it: OMG, it takes 12 long seconds to get to 60 mph (yet that’s faster than most vehicles I’ve owned). OMG, it won’t hold uphill grades at highway speed in top gear. OMG, it has to spin 3500 rpm at 70 mph.

            The journalists complain that the Fiat 500 is slow. It’s fine. (My engine pick for that car would be the TwinAir 900cc engine, if we could get it.) They complain that the 1.4T in various applications is slow. It isn’t. YES you have to rev them a bit!

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Brian P.

            With gas prices as they are, sadly, no. And the buff books are certainly part of the problem.

            I think it is mainly because the average American can’t find full throttle with a GPS. What they only ever actually use is ~10sec 0-60 or so, but they want to be able to do it at half throttle. I have so many friends who would never THINK of flooring the throttle, because “OMG, it sounds like the engine will explode!”.

          • 0 avatar
            SaulTigh

            I kind of LIKE the fact that I’ve never had to rev the 5.0L in my ’14 F150 over 3000 rpm, even to very smartly enter a freeway on an uphill ramp. ‘Murica!

      • 0 avatar
        Bill Wade

        Guess you never hear of the F150 with the 300 six. Mine got around 11 mpg falling down a cliff with a 5 speed, carb and vacuum advance. Also all of this with the added joy of maybe 100 horsepower.

        A 400 horsepower F250 gets twice the mileage now and likely has 1% of the nasty emissions.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Oh, then you must be driving it wrong! Everyone knows a 300 Six is incapable of getting anything less than 20 mpg! /sarc

          You had somewhere around 150 hp, but Lord knows how much of that was lost somewhere between the crank and the tires, even with a 5-speed. The only good things I can say about straight-sixes is that they have enough torque to pull a barn down and they’re almost completely unkillable. Perfect on a mid-’60s tractor–not so much on a “modern” pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            I wouldn’t exactly call a 1996 F-150 (the last F-series with the straight-6) a “modern” pickup… :)

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I do wonder how much of the 1980 F-series is still in the 1996 F-Series…I imagine there’s quite a bit! The standard “smooth side” bed at least seems to be the same from 86-96.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    I prefer my Toronados with the GM TH425. Unbreakable after forty-plus years! I like three speeds because I can count the downshifts easily! And all you might ever need is the $18 solenoid on the transmission case after 38 years. My 1969 was shifting hard and I found a 1968 Toronado in the wrecking yard with every part intact (including the solenoid) as it was placed with the Fords; the employees thought it was a Torino!
    With three Toronados I essentially have a multi 9-speed anyway…

  • avatar

    Everyone is resistant to change.

    It’s no surprise the new Automatics have basically killed off the manuals. People changed. People want the free use of their hands – even when driving – whether it be to wield and iPhone (one handed) or drink their coffee.

    The new shift logic is so predictable in these vehicles. The transmission simply seeks the highest gear possible as quickly as possible. Fortunately, they are silky smooth in-between shifts and require no forethought, afterthought or attention.

    The future of cars is AWD and automatics whether it’s gasoline powered or EV.

    Glad Tesla has proved Electric AWD in the P85D

  • avatar
    hreardon

    The ZF 8 speed is a wonderful transmission. Love it.

    I’m also a manual purist and will continue to buy manual transmission cars as long as the appropriate model is available to me. As said in the article, there really is something very unique and enjoyable about snicking through the gears and feeling the mechanical bits and pieces come together in a nice little play of choreography between hand on transmission and feet on gas+clutch.

    There are times when I do enjoy my wife’s slushbox – but everytime I think I might be ready to make the move to an auto, I just can’t bring myself to it.

    No doubt we’re a dying breed, but for a bit of time yet we still have a few choices out there.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      Amen. Left foot braking. Heel-toe. NLTS. Rev-matching. I apply all of these tactics, although completely unnecessary, on my 2 mile commute to work. It is immature and fun.

      The first catastrophic failure, on every auto I’ve owned, has always been the slushbox itself. I’ve never touched a ZF 8spd Auto except when replacing the o-ring that constantly fails inside the electrical connector sleeve.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      As long as you don’t get uppity about it (and you certainly aren’t), may you continue to enjoy your old tech. I know I do whenever I go home and get to drive the ’76 L700 grain truck.

  • avatar
    craiger

    I used to commute from midtown Manhattan to downtown Brooklyn every day, either in my 6 spd Cayman or on my Daytona 675. I must admit there were times when I dreamed of having an autobox.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    After having 5 years with a motorcycle for my fun vehicle, followed by 5 years with a manual-transmission car, honestly I’ve found manual cars’ driver engagement / experience / etc. to be over-rated. It doesn’t help that the manual in my car (’10 Challenger R/T) is not the greatest manual box; lower gears are notchy with cold oil, the dual-disc clutch’s engagement point is not precisely located and moves around within a .5″ zone, etc. I’ve decided I’m in the right car but wrong model year and transmission, so I have a ’15 Challenger R/T with the ZF 8-speed on order.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    would it be asking to much for a list of cars and trucks that use this transmission?
    It seems to be over a large range of brands…so am wondering which I can look for it in
    Is Ford using? Or since it is rear wheel drive and Ford makes few of these it does not.
    And why is it RWD only…if so?

    • 0 avatar
      dbar1

      Ford and GM are co-developing their own 10-Speed. GM already has its own 8-Speed.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      The ZF 8-speed is restricted to longitudinal applications because of its length (look at the cross-section in the article). “Longitudional” doesn’t necessarily mean rear-drive, it can certainly also be all-wheel-drive. There are not many cars nowadays that are front-drive with the engine lengthwise. Audi is the only one that I can think of, and most of those are quattro. The 8-speed transmission simply will not fit in a transverse-engine application, and it was never meant to.

      The 9-speed is designed only for transverse applications.

      Most Chrysler/Ram, BMW, Audi, Jaguar lengthwise-engine vehicles now use the ZF 8HP. I’m sure there are others, I’m just not sure offhand.

      The Toyota, Hyundai, and GM 8-speeds are their own different designs. These are also only for longitudional applications (higher-end Lexus, Hyundai Genesis, Corvette, GM K2XX trucks)

      Ford is still using their 6R in the trucks and SUVs, but the 10R is coming.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “would it be asking to much for a list of cars and trucks that use this transmission?”

      Here you go.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZF_8HP_transmission

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        thanks very much to both you and BrainP.
        I was surprised the Audi A4 was RWD. Thought it was transverse and front drive biased.

        I m also interested in how this development would take flight. Would an independent mftr such as Friedrichshafen develop this with its own R&D and then shop it around?
        Or develop it after being approached.
        Very odd.

        • 0 avatar
          Brian P

          Audi A4 is all-wheel-drive, but it is “front-drive” in its layout, and some cheaper versions are front-drive (basically by omitting the drive components to the rear). The engine is longitudinal.

          You may be thinking of the Audi A3 and TT. Those are transverse, more-or-less VW Golf underneath.

          Are you asking how ZF came to develop this transmission? They have been a driveline-components manufacturer for decades, and they do their own research and development. That this transmission is being sold to quite a few different vehicle manufacturers suggests that it was ZF developing it first and then selling the idea, as opposed to a manufacturer coming to them and saying “We need something like this”, in which case they would almost certainly contractually limit who ZF could otherwise sell the design to …

          Transmissions are usually viewed as “hidden” components; the end user doesn’t see them, so the manufacturers are more willing to share components with other manufacturers as opposed to keeping it to themselves. It’s less expensive that way. There is a certain 6-speed transverse front-drive transmission for which GM and Ford co-developed it in the interest of reducing costs …

  • avatar
    dbar1

    ’15 LTZ Silverado
    6.2L LT4
    8-Speed
    DOOO IT!!!

  • avatar
    carguy

    It’s not so much that driver preferences have changed but that automatic transmissions have become so much better. The convenience of a self shifting box used to bring with it many downsides, including greater gas consumption, reduced performance, rough shifts and often extra cost.

    That is simply no longer the case as new auto transmissions are usually faster, more economical, more convenient, smoother shifting and a no cost option. For most drivers it an easy decision.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    Everybody praises this transmission, and I guess it must be a very good automatic, but when I’m given a new loaner 328 with this transmission in it, it doesn’t seem all that great to me. Aside from its certainty that it’s smarter than you and knows better what gear you need, the thing that annoys me the most about it is that it can drop 4 or 5 gears at once to pass on a two-lane road when you floor it, but when you let back off the gas, it has to go through every gear it’s got on the way back to 8, which is a gear it REALLY loves. I regularly drive my husband’s W221, and its 7G-tronic, or whatever the hell Mercedes calls their automatic, seems much better at just being in the right gear at the right time, without me ever really noticing it.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The transmission control programming varies by manufacturer. While it might seem bad in one application, it can be very good in a vehicle from a different brand depending on who programmed it.

  • avatar

    Worked in a Renault dealer in the late 60’s and at the time they were selling the rear-engined R8 with a three-speed “automatic” that is the grandfather of today’s manumatics. It had a magnetic clutch hooked to a solenoid-shifted Renault 3-speed manual along with a relay computer which determined when to shift and automatically reduced the throttle setting when shifts were made. No auto-blipping on downshifts…

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I think the biggest test of 8-speeds will be once (if?) they’re rolled out into subcompacts, stuff with less displacement than a pop bottle. Sure, it’s good and well that a powerful engine can still be fairly responsive and efficient with an automatic, but that’s often been the case anyhow, even with fewer speeds (since the efficiency usually highlighted is the highway number, which is largely a factor of gearing something to be as close to idling at 60mph in top gear as possible, however many other speeds there are be damned, right?).

    But, small cars are sort of more demanding to be usable and not entirely gutless. I still find it’s too easy for smaller cars to get momentarily confused when you ask them to muster up what power they do have, when I’d rather have it instantaneously (which, a driver paying attention to their surroundings, is better able to anticipate than a reactive piece of technology). I also find that I get slightly better fuel economy out of my 5-spd Mazda2 in predominately city driving than I have out of a rental (so, automatic) Kia Rio or Chevrolet Sonic which were both more highway driven, in spite of EPA numbers that should slightly favour the automatics.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    I’ll just come out and say it. I have never fully enjoyed any auto tranny I’ve driven, from a “normal” 5spd auto in an old Acura Legend, to the loaner PDK Boxsters they give me, to the zf 8-spd wonder box discussed here (BMW and Audi guise).

    Why?
    1. Perhaps muscle memory from decades of manual cars, I enjoy a linear throttle to output ratio. An automatic can do this in a gear, but all too often it downshifts right at the time when I just want a tiny bit more torque output. Yeah, I can paddle shift around this, but then whats the point? What’s more annoying is that this causes it to be jerky (i.e I accelerate, want a little more, it downshifts and with my foot now 60% in, it provides way more acceleration than I want). Inverse to this is if I am accelerating and it decides it can upshift right when I decide more power would be fun. Now I have to go through an upshift, then another downshift after applying more throttle than I want, before it does anything.
    2. I hate having to step on the brake and move a lever to start/stop the car and take my key out. I know its weird, but the extra time annoys me. (and its weird since I have to do other stuff in a manual, but it seems i can get moving faster and shut off my engine sooner, not to mention there is no real key interlock).
    3. All “sport mode” autos just hold a lower gear longer. I don’t drive like that. I may take a turn and decide I want to power out of it, knowing once straight I’ll cruise again. All autos in sport mode (or adaptive) think I just got into a race and annoyingly hold a low gear for at least 50 yards. Or they are slow to downshift (including the ZF) and after I’m already done with the turn, milliseconds before I decide I no longer need more power and the moment is lost, it decides, “Oh yeah, race man!”.
    4. Automatics don’t use any of the juicy low rpm torque that modern engines provide. I enjoy pulling many modern turbos from say 2000 rpm and riding the rubberband (or large displ V8’s). An auto makes a powerful engine often feel fast but “gutless” – drive the latest M3 for an example. Why put in an engine with gobs of torque from 1500-whatever rpm, only to ever use that in 1st gear because the auto is always downshifting? And before anyone says anything, its not lugging an engine. There is nothing wrong with loading an engine (which still has reserve power to accelerate) at lower rpms (say 2-2.5k and up on a modern car).
    5. People that think they are faster…why? Are you drag racing everywhere. I’d love a PDK on the track. On the street, shift times are pointless to me. I just need a car that is fast in gear, and in-gear there is no difference between an auto or manual, minus and gear ratio differences. (and don’t get me started on “fast” when its launch control and auto. why race at all, just look up the stats in a magazine)
    6. Traffic – see point 1. They all tend to under or over accelerate since throttle position isn’t tied to a single power output, since its shifting. To me, this is a major cause of the “slinky” effect. Not to mention, you don’t have to pay attention to road conditions in an auto, at least from a drivetrain management standpoint, so people just digitally “press to go”.
    7. I can’t stop smoothly in them since I have to adjust for downshifting then the creep on the torque converter (the Panamera Hybrid was the worst offender – managing a PDK downshift, regen braking, and a weird “creep emulator” logic). With a manual, I press the clutch as I’m nearing a full stop, then slowly bleed brake pressure until I essentially glide to a stop – no head jerk or anything. And I don’t even have to think about it (which is ironic since an auto is supposed to make driving easier)

    Eh, I’m glad there are automatics. I glad they are getting better and have no issue with people getting them – outside an mx-5, then your just lame (unless you a handicapped). I’m not glad people think they can replace a manual as an option nor am I happy the option is becoming less common (especially on AWD/RWD cars that can fit 4 people)

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      Fly-by-wire throttle was supposed to solve points 1, 4 and 6. Just sayin.

      Maybe we haven’t seen it implemented properly? I have never owned a fly-by-wire automatic so I can’t be sure.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        I can maybe see points 1 and 6, not 4.
        That said, I’ve never experienced it in many e-throttle apps. I will say bad e-throttle calibration can make manuals annoying.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Buy a Tesla – creep mode is optional, and the regeneration is so strong you hardly have to use the brakes in normal driving.

      No clutches, torque converters, gear changes, etc.

  • avatar
    carve

    I have a 2007 335i with the ZF 6-spd, and it’s my first auto. I was looking all over for a stick, but finally test drove an auto. It blows all the old fashioned autos out of the water; quick lock up for that totally non-slushy feel, but slip to rocket you out of the hole (and past the miniscule turbo lag)with torque-multiplication in 1st and 2nd. The auto is actually quicker 0-60…partly due to a lower rear end though. The thing is really good at picking the right gear, even when driving hard. It even engine brakes automatically.

    I still find myself using the paddles for more engine braking though, especially around town, and to get ready for the next corner. I’ll never miss a shift, but that part is less involving than with a stick. I’ll also upshift to sixth at very low speeds when I’m just cruising down a very shallow grade, but it won’t hold it for long. You’re unable to have high throttle settings without downshifting or the convertor unlocking, so I’m not able to beat the EPA figures as easily as I can with a stick. I’m sure most people learning to drive now will never even think of such things.

    It has 70k now and still shifts like new. I don’t trust the lifetime fluid though, so I’ll change it soon (mine has drain and fill plugs).

    I think with electric cars and their enormous rev range, we might see a return to a very simple 2-speed automatic…basically just a planatery gearset built into the motor housing with no torque convertor. You’ll have a very tall rear-end and direct-drive on the highway, with a low first gear for around town.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      I can’t wait to see how mass electric cars change the market. Afterall, a 200 hp motor is about the same as another 200 hp motor in power delivery and NVH. This is not so with IC engines. Why buy a BMW electric car over a Honda electric car?

      I’ll wager auto manufacturers will just continue their trend into making cars a place to be, not to drive. Differentiating in content and design rather than selling drivetrain superiority.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’m surprised we haven’t seen a pure EV with a 2sp transmission. Just like an ICE a motor has an rpm with peak efficiency. Typically that falls at an rpm near the mid point between peak torque (0 rpm) and peak horsepower (1/2 the free speed rpm). So having more than one gear ratio makes sense.

      A planetary gear set has more frictional losses than a simple spur gear because it typically has 6 gear to gear interfaces. Each planet is meshed with the sun and ring gear and there are typically 3 planets. On the other hand because the load is shared by multiple gears they can have a smaller contact surface area for a given torque rating. The inherent frictional losses of the planetary gear set is the reason for the dual clutch automated manuals are being offered.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Most EVs to date don’t operate at speeds high enough to make multiple-speed transmissions desirable (Tesla is the big exception here). Having said that, there are folks who have modified the old Powerglide for EV use to get a hi-lo gear choice in RWD performance applications.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I wouldn’t say that since an electric motor is most efficient at around 25% of its potential redline. Many home built EVs use a manual trans sometimes with a clutch to give multiple gear ratios.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I have been driving manual transmissions most of my life. When i purchased my 2009 VW TDI diesel i tried the DSG and liked the way it drove but the $440.00 transmission fluid change every 40,000 miles was not for me. In 2012 after touring the USA after retirement i was offered almost what i paid for my VW new on a trade in for 2012 VW GTI with DSG so i gave it a try and loved how it shifted. Brought the new car the next day and my wife wanted one 4 months later after driving up to Maine. She drove a Volvo with her bad back but liked the GTI seats better. I did the 40,000 mile oil @ filter change myself for a total of $120.00 in parts and 45 minutes of my time. No special tools required. Just a clean 4 qt container and a funnel. I understand most dealers now are only charging about $275.00 I will do my wife,s car this fall. Over 40,000 miles and it shifts faster then i can. I love it and if i want to drive a manual i have my Miata.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    I expect to see a wave of bad transmissions 5-7 years from now just for simple reason that they will shift too many times. This excess shifting will be further amplified by the continuous gear changes by the computer to maximize the power curve versus it’s fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      I don’t think so. Having lots of ratios means the steps between ratios are smaller. Having the throttle co-ordinated with the shift lets the engine catch up to the new transmission input RPM quicker. Less slippage means less wear, even if it shifts more.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    ” the continuous gear changes by the computer to maximize the power curve versus it’s fuel economy”

    That’s exactly why I believe the CVT will be the transmission of the future across all car and truck platforms.

    It took decades for the current (expensive) automatic hydraulic step transmission to be perfected but the learning curve with CVTs is much steeper and shorter. Look at the advances made to CVTs already since their wide-spread application in cars a few years ago.

    CVTs are much cheaper to make and developments in metallurgy have made both the belt and cones much more durable.

    What needs attention these days is the high-pressure hydraulic system and actuators moving the cones.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      The latest CVT designs have a lock-up torque converter in addition to an auxiliary two-speed planetary gearset, complete with clutches etc., in order to get as much range between the tallest possible ratio and the shortest possible ratio as the newer geared transmissions. There has always been a gearset for forward and reverse, but having a mini-Powerglide in series with the CVT doesn’t help CVT’s cause.

      It’s more likely that the Toyota/Ford/Chevy Volt power-split planetary arrangement with hybrid will take over. No infernal belt/chain in those, no waiting for the cones to slide to change ratio, no (Toyota/Ford) or only two (Volt) clutches. Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive has been extremely reliable mechanically, because there’s almost nothing to wear out. I’ve heard nothing of Volt transmissions wearing out or blowing up, either.

      The Prius implementation is dismally dull to drive, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        “The Prius implementation is dismally dull to drive, but it doesn’t have to be that way.”

        Funny you should say that. Similar vintage Prius (e-CVT/HSD) vs Civic Hybrid (belt CVT with clutch), both cars have very similar “total” power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios, but the Prius has more “snap” off the line. Of course, the Prius had a lot more electric power on tap, but as far as driver experience, the ’06- Civic Hybrids were even more dismallerly duller to drive.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Personally, I am not a fan of any and all CVTs. That said, I am certain that the automotive market place applications will sort themselves out and one CVT will rise for others to emulate.

          Look how far we’ve come since the Powerglide and Dynaflow. The CVT is at a developmental stage right now.

          My understanding of the CVT concept is to maximize engine efficiency at a constant ideal RPM while handling acceleration of the vehicle within the CVT by varying the drive ratios.

          We’re still in the experimental stage at this point in automotive history so I do not find it unusual that different manufacturers are trying different engineering solutions with belts, cones, planetary gearsets, torque converters and what not.

          Having lived with and survived the Powerglide and the B&M Hydramatic Bangshifter, as well as Buick’s Dynaflow fluid drive, my preference remains the buttery-smooth 6-speed automatic in our Tundra and Sequoia.

          If I could afford it I would like to try the Lexus LS460 8-speed. I was a passenger in an LS460 and transmission shifts are imperceptible.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    “letting the clutch out and watching the revs fall back to the appropriate RPM”

    You’re getting these two steps in the wrong order! ;)

  • avatar
    theslik1

    The Aisin box in my 2008 IS-F (sourced from the LS and performance-mapped for the F) was rock solid, banged shifts or eased into them based on the driving mode, and remains by all accounts pretty much bullet-proof. 27 mpg on the highway using the tall 8th gear was a nice side benefit.

    Still, it was very much like driving a video game and I missed the involvement of a stick. I’m pretty set on getting a manual again when I return to the states…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’m a dedicated stick shift person. Even now with many journo’s stating how much better it is for new auto’s off road, I still want my manual gearbag.

    For me to find my vehicle in a stick shift took a bit of searching. A top of the line BT50 is normally auto. I did read and had heard they came out in a manual, all models of the BT50. The high end BT50 in a stick shift is about as common as the Chev SS in a stick shift.

    Alas, the Ford built Getrag MT82 was a bit of a pig and failed me after 33 000km or so, it’s life expired a few weeks ago. But, I have had it with the new replacement gearbox a week and half.

    I decided to do a Brisbane-Sydney run (2 200km) and see a friend. The new gearbox is a different beast, also giving me 1 litre per hundred more in FE. It shifts much easier and I’m enjoying it.

    Over the past 20 years I have driven mainly auto’s and didn’t realize how much I miss the manual gearbox. I grew up with one.

    I can’t believe where I work many of the young are perplexed on how to co-ordinate yourself to partake in the most fabulous form of driving.

    That is using your brain instead of a computer to judge when each gear shift is needed to suit what you want.

    It’s this freedom to use both legs and feet, both arms and hands to drive I love. Just sitting there and just depressing the accelerator and steering is as fun as playing GT4 on a playstation.

    I do suppose having an auto makes it possible for many to text their friends when driving. A manual in heavier traffic would make this activity near on impossible.

    Even eating burgers and chips (fries) and having a drink when driving is more involved with a manual shift.

    Maybe that’s why obesity is more common in many wealthy nations now. It all the auto’s fault.

    If you look at the people who drive a manual compared to an auto you will see a higher percentage of auto drivers are fat pigs.

    I wish the above comment was a joke. But take note.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “I’m a dedicated stick shift person”

      “That is using your brain instead of a computer to judge when each gear shift is needed to suit what you want.”

      I’d be amazed if you can even get out of your driveway

  • avatar
    danio3834

    An interesting note about the 8HP. They employ clutch temperature sensors that monitor for overheating. Based on those inputs, individual clutches can be selectively disabled to prevent damage. I experienced this first hand on Sunday night working the Challenger up my driveway with 1-2 feet of snow on it. I made it very angry.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Y’all know me as someone who enjoys an MT vehicle. And I could also care less what other people want to drive.

    My main hope is that manuals continue to be available to those who want them, in a reasonable variety of models. BTSR likes his AWD autos, krhodes prefers a stick, why cant we have it all?

    I definitely prefer manual in winter, being able to disengage the wheels from the power train, and also being able to coast and then accelerate in gear with no waiting for the revs to come back up are MY personal favorite reasons for driving a stick.

    Who knows, I may end up buying an auto in a few years, depending on my needs.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Anecdotal stories:

    1. A coworker recently had to rebuild his 05 Jetta 5-spd due to a failed thrust washer which was permitting the gears to chew into the case. Not a cheap fix. This was at 130k miles.

    2. A friend with a decrepit 99 Prizm (Corolla) just had his 5-spd disintegrate at 130k miles. It was the SECOND MT in the car, and he has chosen to install a 3rd unit.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    I have a bad left knee so no more manuals for me, especially since I live in an urban area. No more DSG’s either. I bought both a Fiesta and a Focus because of that new technology. Both have had to be rebuilt. Powershift has become as shameful a word to Ford as Edsel. I wonder how many of these Ford has had to pull and rebuild. Some people have had to have clutch packs replaced 3 times.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    No more DSG’s for me. I bought both Focus and Fiesta Powershift DSG. Both have had to be yanked out and have clutches replaces. Powershift may be as big a tragedy to Ford as Edsel.


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