By on April 21, 2017

BMW 4 Series

To industry watchers, the manual transmission’s future seems as rosy as that of the Steve Miller Band, circa 1983.

Automakers on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific have pried the stick shift out of an ever-increasing number of vehicles, and some manufacturers have chosen to drop the technology altogether. With market share reaching never-before-seen lows, the three-pedal lifestyle seems headed towards an unavoidable (and imminent) grave.

Blame technology. Blame laziness. Blame yourself.

Over in Munich, the sentiment seems quite similar. BMW has long occupied the ranks of true driver’s cars, but its leaders make no bones about the brand’s eventual abandonment of the row-your-own transmission, even in relatively stick-happy Europe. Lately, even dual-clutch transmissions appear to be in Bimmer’s bad books. And as for an American solution to its manual transmission problem, well, forget that.

Speaking to Australia’s Drive, Peter Quintus, vice-president of sales and marketing for BMW’s M division, envisions a looming world of automatic transmissions. The advent of new technology has made conventional torque converter autos so efficient and quick, he claims, the industry won’t need anything else. BMW will likely follow.

“The DCT once had two advantages: it was light and its shift speeds were higher,” he said. “Now, a lot of that shift-time advantage has disappeared as automatics get better and smarter.”

Quintus has previously stated that the manual transmission probably will probably disappear from the brand in six or seven years. While the option once used to offer the most cogs, nine-and ten-speed automatics have proliferated, erasing the efficiency edge. There’s undeniable sportiness in a stick, but rising horsepower and torque figures have rendered many high-output drivetrains a no-go zone for manuals.

An output of 450 hp and 450 lb-ft is about the limit of what a manual tranny can handle without impacting long-term durability, Quintus said. That’s bad news for M aficionados. When asked why BMW doesn’t simply source a stick from its brawny Detroit competitors, Quintus was blunt.

“We looked at US gearboxes. We found they were heavy and the shift quality was awful,” he said. “I’m not even sure the next generation of M3 and M4 models from BMW will have the option of a manual gearbox.”

Last month, we told you that fewer than 1 percent of non-M 3 Series BMWs in U.S. inventories are manual-shift cars, with the take rate rising to 2 percent when M-badged models are included. Purists will scream, holler, pound their fists and drink themselves into a foggy oblivion, but the epitaph has already been written by the consumer.

[Image: BMW Group]

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145 Comments on “BMW Would Rather Phase Out Its Manuals Than Borrow a U.S. Gearbox...”


  • avatar
    ttaclogin

    NOOOOO!

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    “Blame technology. Blame laziness. Blame yourself.”

    Not blaming myself. Three cars, each with three pedals.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Unfortunately, Carnot…you are an exception rather than the rule. The market has spoken, and spoken loudly. I mourn the loss of each manual transmission car available (more so from BMW, as my heart once bled blau mit weiss), but if a larger number of buyers would plunk down cash for row-it-yourself cars, more would be offered. Enthusiasts don’t make the payments for most companies, so they sell what consumers want. And what they apparently want is automatics. Get ’em while you can.

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      I blame my bad joints. Drove manual shift almost exclusively for decades but it entails too much pain now, especially in traffic, so it’s Hydramatic all the way these days.

    • 0 avatar
      thalter

      Just out of curiosity, how many of these did you buy new? Buying a used car with a manual does nothing to promote the cause, if just makes you feel good. People truly interested in saving manuals need to pony up and buy them new.

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        2/3 were bought new; a 2008 Kia Rio LX and wife’s 2012 Chevy Camaro – I even took the Kia without power locks and windows specifically because manual on lot didn’t have them – it is actual manual car…lol.

        The M5 is used, and was acquired specifically because 4-dr/V-10/6 speed YOLO and that configuration will probably never happen in a new car ever again.

      • 0 avatar
        2manycars

        All of the new cars I’ve ever purchased were equipped with manual transmissions. (These days I stick with used vehicles to keep off of the depreciation/debt treadmill.)

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        I bought one of those mythical Mazda3 2.5L 6MTs new. Apparently manual Mazda3s sell very quickly, so they could make more if they wanted. (Not saying the revised number would be very high…)

        • 0 avatar
          dror

          carlisimo,

          I bought a 2006 Mazda 3 2,3L and I leased a 2011 3 with the 2.5L, I remember how surprised was I to find out most cars on the dealer lot were manuals.
          Driving these 2 Mazda’s 5 speed AT was a pleasure, one of the best AT’s on the market at the time.

        • 0 avatar
          KevinC

          We just bought a Mazda3 5-door hatch, GT trim, with 6MT. Special ordered it back in November to get it loaded up exactly as we wanted as well as colors (pearl white over black leather). Great car so far. Replaced ’15 Golf TDI, that finally just got bought back yesterday.

          While my girl was in the F&I office signing the paperwork, a manager came by where i was waiting and remarked that the car was “quite a unicorn” being 6MT and the top trim level. Pretty much impossible to do on any other hatchback.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I thought all TDI owners were waiting to buy new VWs? This is not so?

          • 0 avatar
            la834

            Plenty of hatchbacks offer manuals in their top trim, but only if we’re talking sporty versions like the Golf GTI and R, Civic Type R, or Focus RS. If you just want luxury and features you’re usually stuck with automatic only. I did read recently that current GTI sales are split evenly amongst stick and dual-clutch auto. Thus VW offers even top-level GTIs with a stick. Not so regular Golfs unfortunately.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Buying manuals used, supports their residual value. Making them more attractive to buy new. Very obviously so for leases, but the effect is present for sales as well.

        Secondarily, buying and driving manuals keeps the infrastructure required to support them alive. Again, making them a more viable choice for more people.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Carnot Cycle – – –

      Not blaming myself either. Am doing my part.

      Five cars, five pedals.
      Oh, wait….()…
      …but actually, that’s not far off: Dead pedal, Parking Brake; Clutch; Operating Brake; Accelerator.

      Love manual transmissions. Would never leave home without one. OK, I can’t.

      Now to get the main issues brought up by this Quintus, the German Marketing Dweeb (GMD):

      1) Cadillac (actually GM) showed years ago that it could tune its conventional torque-converter auto trans to shift in less than 80 m-sec, faster than the 100 m-sec shift of the DCT in a Porsche 911! Where has Quintus been all this time? And ALL PDK’ s and DCT’s, plus TCA’s (Torque-converter automatics), have been HEAVIER than manuals.

      2) “There’s undeniable sportiness in a stick, but rising horsepower and torque figures have rendered many high-output drivetrains a no-go zone for manuals. An output of 450 hp and 450 lb-ft is about the limit of what a manual tranny can handle without impacting long-term durability, Quintus said.”

      OK, let’s be nice. I’m sure there are other terms that might apply, but I’ll just use “utter fabrication” for now.
      Duh! The REASON that the current crop of wussy Euro-burp manuals cant hack it, is because they are
      ultra light-weight aluminum-cased tinker toys! Even Mercedes Benz is not immune: I am ordering a new Ram 2500 Diesel, with (guess what?) the Mercedes G56 manual trans. It has a reputation of failure in that American truck, with cracked cases and split bearings (am getting extended power-train warranty). If BMW, Audi, and Mercedes returned to cast-iron cases and overload bearings, THERE WOULD BE NO ISSUE with even 1000 HP.

      3) “We looked at US gearboxes. We found they were heavy and the shift quality was awful,” he said. ”

      Help me out here. I am struggling to be civil, to be polite, to be kind: alright, gentility wins, — this time. The thing this prideful GMD didn’t say is that the American boxes are more robust, stronger, and more durable, — and the shifting-ease thing is nonsense AFTER break-in (since they are made tightly, with better construction). NO one has ever complained about the new Corvette Tremec TR-6070, 7-speed (or the Porsche 7-speed for that matter) showing “awful” shift quality, and the former can handle 650 HP without batting an eye. Even the 6-speed manual in the Hellcat SRT Challenger can handle 707 HP!
      ref: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-manual-test-review

      4) “Purists will scream, holler, pound their fists and drink themselves into a foggy oblivion, but the epitaph has already been written by the consumer.”

      Garbage. 75% of Germans and 95% of Swiss drive manual transmission vehicles, and that distribution has changed in a decade. For Americans who are lazy, incompetent, and or ignorant, the story may be different. But if needed, we-who-are-of-the-enlightened will simply buy older and older vehicles that were made properly. In the meantime, here are some advantages of manuals:

      1) More robust, durable, and longer-lasting;
      2) Less expensive to buy;
      3) Superior driver involvement**;
      4) Owner-doable oil change, which is also less frequent and less expensive;
      5) Requires no separate cooling system with its own radiator;
      6) Wear item = easily replaceable clutch (not the whole tranny!);
      7) Superior traction in slippery snow, by “feathering” the clutch;
      8) Almost air-tight theft protection;
      9) Less Opportunity for Distracted Driving >> Safer

      ** A car with an automatic offers typically 40% less opportunity for driver involvement than those with manuals. 1) Number of Driving inputs with typical Manual = 5 (steering, gas, brake, clutch, shift);
      2) Number of Driving inputs with typical Auto = 3 (steering, gas, brake)
      Deficit = 2. Therefore, percent that Auto Trans is less involving = 2/5 = 40%.

      =======================================

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        CORRECTIONs – – –

        1) “…and that distribution has changed in a decade.” — should be changed to “…and that distribution has NOT changed in a decade.”

        2) “For Americans who are lazy, incompetent, and or ignorant, the story may be different.” — should be changed to “For Americans who are lazy, incompetent, and/or ignorant, the story may be different.”

        ===========================

      • 0 avatar
        jaybee2

        Good on ya NMGOM and CarnotCycle – could not agree more about GMD’s pronouncements – he’s obviously toked heavily on the Euro-socialist corporate marketing bong. Exhibit A of capable transmissions should also include – besides the Tremec – various Allison gearboxes that handle well north of 1500 lb ft of torque in class 8 (or is it 9?) over the road heavy haul applications.

        Also trying to do my part (or at least in part) to save the MT with my ’13 BMW M3 (E92 6MT) – alas everything else is auto or DSG except for my ’57 Benz 190 SL. But I suppose I’ll have to get another MT soon on a new car before they go extinct.

  • avatar
    deanst

    As I tell all my friends, it is not polite to call it “the three-pedal lifestyle” – I was born this way.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Then source an italian gearbox, you gawd derned naughtsees.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Perhaps BMW is benchmarking the wrong gearboxes. The shift quality and clutch feel of the Tremec in my Viper is excellent despite needing to hold more torque than any road going BMW has ever shipped with. Sounds like more unfounded euro snobbery from a company that can’t or won’t engineer a world class manual transmission

    • 0 avatar
      AdamVIP

      Tremecs are great. They are owned by a Mexican firm so maybe they are still in the running.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Yeah, Im thinking nice way to slip past that question. “The American’s have manual transmission, why cant you make one or source one?”

      “Ummmmmmm, yeah. The American’s manuals are so awful we couldn’t possibly foist these monstrosities on our enthusiast customers so we will just give them something better even though they don’t want it, because we are BMW and know what is best….haven’t you seen the ads? We make the ultimate driving machines dammmit!!!!”

      Ill go out on a limb and say that the weight and maybe even the real, fabricated or perceived clunkiness may be in fact due to torque loads that they must cope with.

      Seriously though, just stop making excuses and tell your small hard core MT customers that keeping them happy isn’t worth BMW’s time and money anymore. Was that so hard?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I don’t even know what “US gearboxes” he’s referring to. The Eaton N8D?

        Pretty much every manual trans I can think of in an American brand vehicle comes from TREMEC, Getrag, Aisin, Mercedes, or Mazda. None of those are US-based.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          ajla,
          I’m thinking that he’s refering to the gearboxes stuffed into US produced vehicles, irrespective of brand.

          • 0 avatar
            TonyJZX

            I think the Germans are alluding to any of the US market FR/RWD platform cars specifically the Tremec and Getrag cars… which are made in Mexico/China, no? respectively

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            Tremec mostly and in the Mustang it is Getrag outside of the GT350 which gets a Tremec.

            Ford was exclusively Tremec on the V8 cars from the later SN95/New Edge cars through the S-197 until they introduced the coyote V8. I’m going to hazard a guess and say Ford chose the Getrag since Tremec didn’t have a lightweight transmission with 6 gears at the time until the introduction of the TR3160 ( the TR6060 used in the Shelby would have been overkill ).

            The TR3160 as far as I know was introduced in the Cadillac ATS which makes BMW’s comments odd considering they obviously bench BMW and the TR3160 is a response to those transmissions.

            From personal experience it can be notchy when it’s cold but when warmed up it’s a slick shifting unit.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      It’s not all about shift quality. The other issue was weight.

      It still sounds like an excuse to me. BMW has offered manuals on their twin-turbo 6-cylinder diesels, which make a ton of torque. The current M5 manual makes a ton of power as well. Why aren’t these good enough to use or modify for higher power applications?

      Imagine if BMW said they wouldn’t consider electrification anymore, because they tried to source a Toyota hybrid system once but it was just too darn heavy and lacked refinement.

      It reminds me of the 1990s when the Mitsubishi Evolution was not sold in the US market. Mitsubishi claimed it was because the front bumper wouldn’t meet crash safety standards. OK, then go make a bumper that complies!

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Or, the US stops being a onesy with its regs and joins the wider global community.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t understand why a manual, which is simpler than a slushbox, wouildn’t be sturdier, all things equal.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC31

          I would presume it’s that YOU are the one operating it, not the computer.

          This is tangential since it’s not an “automatic” but my Dad has a tractor from 1989 with a 16 speed “powershift” and the complexity of those things is heinous, you can shift from any gear to any other gear under full load, and after near 30 years the only issue with it is the failure of a nitrogen(?) driven system that speeds up the shifts.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            You can shift to any gear, yes, but most Powershifts are sequential. 1-17 or so, but you’ve gotta go through every one.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Perhaps the engineers at BMW, who fear clutch drops enough to saddle their products with stupid clutch delay valves, and don’t trust their owners enough to install a defeatable hill hold feature, can’t find a non-german transmission manufacturer who thinks the same way they do. Both of these feature speak to the german thought process that we know better than the owner how our cars should be operated. Both features also suck some of the joy of manual transmissions out of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      BMW used to use GM automatics in their cars. Kinda funny that now U.S. transmissions aren’t good enough, but that was.

  • avatar
    06M3S54B32

    My ’06 E46 M3 coupe will be my last manual, and I don’t mourn the loss of the third pedal. Well, if I tracked my car I probably would. These new gearboxes blow manuals away in every category anyway (less perhaps engagement).

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    My 16yo daughter is driving a manual (2010 Kia Forte Koup, 5-speed), but that’s it now at our house. Not much manual availability in minivans, and as for my Tacoma, a six-speed was available, but they’re notoriously troublesome.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I predict a steep rise in car jacking….

    http://www.cp24.com/news/toronto-woman-thankful-she-drives-standard-after-4-armed-carjacking-suspects-abandoned-vehicle-1.3366622

    • 0 avatar
      jeoff

      This one is better–the SOB left his gun in his lap while he tried figure out the transmission. He promised her “some fun”. She shot him in the stomach with his own gun. Works for me!

      http://us.tomonews.com/m/carjacking-rule-1-know-how-to-drive-a-car–2919242

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Not all carjacking stories involving manual transmissions end well – http://abc13.com/news/carjacker-kills-father-because-car-isnt-an-automatic-/1796915/

  • avatar
    bufguy

    As a devoted BMW owner I am not surprised by these comments…disappointed but not surprised. BMW is not the Ultimate Driving Machine any longer.There are very few comparison tests where BMW is ranked as best in class. The 3series was the standard bearer of the sports sedan…No longer. The M3 is no longer the best and recent previews of the new 5 show it to be a nice luxury car, not the class leading sports sedan it once was. BMW could make a statement by pledging to keep manual transmissions, but their reluctance to do so is consistent to the way they now design and market theirs cars….SAD

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Hey, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Audi offer even fewer manual transmissions…so there’s that.

    • 0 avatar
      Wacko

      BMW
      The ultimate beige machine?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      bufguy,
      Not only BMW, most Euro prestige brands have remained quite static.

      I believe the advent and greater use of computer design has improved the performance of all “appliance” cheaper branded vehicles.

      Also, most pretige brands have products now that are priced more competitively with run of the mill daily drivers.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Abracadabra! Ve haff for you ze Ultimate Transportation Appliance!

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Two cars at my house, both manuals.

    My wife was once driving her (now departed) BMW into a stall at a tire place. She said the guy working there looked completely befuddled that a woman was driving a stick shift. “You don’t want an auto?” he asked.

    My wife – Mini fanatic that she is – refuses to drive anything but a manual. I’m sort-a-kind-a in that camp but if I want an Infinity G37X, an automatic is necessary with the AWD. I don’t mind RWD cars in winter – snow tires, baby! – but we’ll see how things shake out when I buy my next car.

    But really, I would drive a stick in just about any vehicle – if they offered it!

  • avatar
    thegamper

    The real interesting question, that maybe we will have an answer to in the next decade or so is what will the last new, mass produced, consumer oriented, road legal vehicle with an available manual transmission be in the United States??

    I will venture Corvette, MX-5 or Mustang. With GM potentially going mid engine in Vette, seems they are not going to be married to tradition forever.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      My guess is Miata. Least emphasis on 1/4 mile times, lowest weight and cost means a bigger relative penalty in those areas for going to an auto, little to no CAFE pressure, Mazda bills itself as a pure drivers car, etc. Not sure the breakdown but I have to assume a healthy percentage of them are still sold with a stick.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        The take rate for MX-5 with manual trans is greater than 50% I believe. Similarly, Subaru BRZ, WRX have very high take rates for MT.

        I see a formula, inexpensive, fun, driver focused equals high take rate. I believe those cars are also available with MT in more than just the base trim. The way so many automakers have trim levels set up means that even on cars that do offer a stick, you cannot get a well optioned vehicle. So, at least part of the manual transmission’s death is quarely in the automaker’s corner.

        Harsh reality is though that most people who have come of driving age in last decade or so probably have zero exposure to manual transmission. So no matter how hard enthusiasts cry, the writing is on the wall.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          I believe the GTI falls in this camp as well. High manual take rate, even though the auto is a good one.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I think I read somewhere that a DSG-equipped GTI will outrun one with the manual.

            Now, if they’d just do a golfball shifter for the automatic…

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Back in 2010, I drove a pair of A3’s back to back. One had the manual and the other a DSG. The DSG was fantastic, but not nearly as fun as the manual. I’d be surprised if the manual was faster.

        • 0 avatar
          darex

          BMW’s own MINI division has a very high take-rate for manuals, and continues to offer them across the board, regardless of options/trim.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            I think that is part of what the Bimmere guy is aluding to. Branded BMWs are, by market necessity, becoming so big, powerful, bloated, spec sheet driven and expensive, that the market they appeal to, is no longer a natural “manual” one. Nor a driver engagement one. While Mini still is.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      It will be same as the last car that you manually drive. Likely a Mazda or Porsche.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    The industry as a whole is ditching manual transmissions. I don’t like it, but I understand why. Manuals used to be cheaper, more reliable, offered more performance and more fuel efficiency. Today, they are cheaper. Automatics are reliable enough to last the life of the car. Automatics are as fast or faster, as efficient or more efficient. With increasing EVs and hybrids on the road, manuals will be extinct.

    There is less and less business case for them anymore. People can’t be bothered to shift any more than they want to put a key into a door lock.

    I have only ever driven stick. I made another vote and just got a manual Mazda 6. I had to make some compromises on features because Mazda doesn’t offer a fully-loaded manual 6. I fully expect it to be the last manual car I will ever be able to buy new.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Manuals may be cheaper on a pure hardware comparison basis, but as their volume shrinks to small fractions of automatic production numbers, the installed cost (including the emission testing and such) may not be lower.

  • avatar
    soberD

    The manual in my challenger rt is definitely not as nice as the one in my old Z3 M Coupe, but it’s not that far off (granted, 15 years difference).
    Clutch in the Challenger is better.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    I have driven both, and have no real personal reference. I do, however, have a father in law who goes a little beyond normal ribbing when he asks why I don’t buy manual transmission versions of my vehicles. He calls my choices ‘financially irresponsible’ in the long run in terms of repairs. Despite all but one of my cars never having a single transmission issue in 150k+ miles of service, he still trots out the old ‘it’ll crap out at 50k miles and cost you thousands to repair or replace’ trope. He thinks every man should ONLY drive manuals. Automatics are ‘feminine’.

    I really think TRULY doesn’t believe me when I say that most cars today aren’t even designed with the option of choosing a manual short of an expensive special order (always not available), and after market retrofit (yeah, no), or importing the European version of a car which you can’t do unless its at least 25 years old, so not a new car.

    Of course, this is guy who is on his third Nissan XTerra, because a stick shift is the first priority for him, and its the only thing that can tow his boat that is in its size range that comes new with a manual. (He didn’t want a truck ). So he’s not exactly aware of the mainstream market.

    He’s 68. And he is the only person I know who cares THAT much about a manual transmission in a daily driver. I think he is basically screwed come his next purchase if he refuses to get a truck.

    My point is that this has been coming for some time, because people like him are a tiny percentage of the market in the US. Even among people who want an engaging driving experience. Most won’t buy something like an Xterra over a better vehicle that fits their needs just because the stick is available.

    So what does that leave with a good number of readily available percentage of manuals? The Miata? Some trucks? The Mustang, Camaro, and Corvette (i.e. lifestyle cars?) Unicorn bat-**** crazy Euro sport wagons that are out of the price range of most? It seems that a lot of higher end sports cars are DCT and auto now because the computer is a faster, more efficient shifter than a human, and if speed if your game, that makes sense.

    I have a question for our posters who are in Europe. My understanding is that the licenses in some countries there are separate for manual and automatic. So, if even the performance European marques are doing away with manuals, do you think that would change? Would there continue to be need to be separate licensing endorsements?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Your father-in-law’s only real choices at this point are Tacoma, Frontier, and the Jeep Wrangler.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        I thought the Wrangler actually wasn’t all that great for towing? Not that he would ever buy one of those.

        When I met him the was towing with a Chevy Trailblazer, and I guess before that I was told he had some GM 1990’s wagon that could tow and fit his kids (Buick Roadmaster/Olds Custom Cruiser?). Did they come with a manual?

        I mean, I’ll happily take the boat of his hands if a manual means that much to him. He can still get things like some Hondas and the Chevy SS with a stick if it means that much to him. But he can’t tow his boat with those.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        The Ram Cummins is somehow still available with a manual and sounds perfect for someone whose idea of masculinity depends so greatly on their vehicle and transmission choice

        • 0 avatar
          newenthusiast

          Yeah, but he hates trucks. Like, not just “oh, that really doesn’t make sense for me as a daily driver” but thinks that they should be designated as commercial vehicles so that most people would be unable to be licensed to drive them, and are pointless except for tradesman and farmers. Doing that would, of course, destroy the profitability of the US auto makers and drive up overall prices up for cars across the board and would just be the kind of ‘big brother’ law that he espouses to be against.

          He’s a weird dude about his cars. He’s otherwise pretty mild mannered and a doting, supportive grandfather.

          But man, does car talk bring out the caveman…..

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I hope the Bronco will offer a manual. Manual/diesel/4wd, yes please.

      • 0 avatar
        Bill Wade

        Ram Cummins diesel has a manual option. He could tow a MUCH larger boat. ;)

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Your dad has severely outdated notions on the automatic transmission. His perception is stuck in the 1970s. My dad is kind of the same way, but less extreme.

      “Automatics are less reliable!!!” Yeah, in 1975 they really sucked. But in 2017, they will go 100k-150k with just a fluid change.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        Its my father in law, but yeah. I grin and bear it. Its annoying as hell though.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “But in 2017, they will go 100k-150k with just a fluid change.”

        100-150k miles usually means the 2nd owner. That’s not terribly impressive if AT’s are failing at that mileage.

        • 0 avatar
          newenthusiast

          Well in my case, that’s how many miles I personally will put in a vehicle before I think about replacing it. I usually buy new or less than 20k miles used vehicles. I guess theoretically, I could probably get a LOT more miles out of them, but at some point servicing a 15-20 year old vehicle means more downtime waiting for parts than I would like. Its why I ditched my last car (1996 Old Cutlass Supreme) even though I loved it. 5 days waiting for a brake part and another 5 days for a sensor because no one keeps them in stock anymore.

          When my car rental costs exceed the cost of the repair, its generally time to think about a new one for me (unless I had a special, collectible-worthy car, of course.)

          What would you consider an impressive amount of miles?

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            200k. If an automatic can do that, I’d consider it’s useful life used up. I haven’t yet driven an automatic equipped car whose transmission didn’t feel lots of slipping by 110-120k miles. Our Aisin equipped Volvo started to slip at 85k miles and that was a 2007.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            ” I haven’t yet driven an automatic equipped car whose transmission didn’t feel lots of slipping by 110-120k miles.”

            I have driven plenty of cars with far more than that mileage and they didn’t slip. My car is one of the. 232k, no slipping. My dad has 336k on his F-250, trans has never been rebuilt.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          Yes, but how expensive is that fluid change when it has to be the ZF secret sauce at $20 – $30 per quart?

      • 0 avatar
        2manycars

        Who cares what young people think? Automatic transmissions did not “suck” in 1975. A trans such as a Chrysler Torqueflite can operate for decades and hundreds of thousands of miles with no more than regular fluid and filter changes.

        I would tend to question how long the 8, 9, and 10-speed monstrosities found in many of today’s vehicles will last and how much they will cost to overhaul when the time comes.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          I don’t see why they would be inherently any worse. yes, more parts, but they’re still basically the same concept as the 727 Torqueflite. Planetary gearsets engaged and disengaged by clutches and brakes.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            More moving parts, dual clutches, more electronics controlling the gearbox…. more failure points than just the mechanics.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            a “dual clutch” transmission is not the same as a conventional planetary automatic. please try to keep up.

        • 0 avatar
          newenthusiast

          “Who cares what young people think?”

          Uh, my father in law who espouses these outdated ideas about ATs is 68…if that’s young, then you, sir or ma’am, must be akin to The Highlander.

          :)

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Yup, I junked my K car at 254,000 miles after the head gasket failed. Original torqueflite, based on the 904. Zero slippage and no trans leaks.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I think automatics, on average, have been much less reliable than manuals; simply because there have been so many models that have been absolute disasters in terms of reliability and lifespan. But there have also been many “bulletproof” automatics, and some problematic manuals too. I don’t know of any manuals that have been complete disasters, though some are not very tolerant of abusive behavior in terms of synchro operation. Both types are at the mercy of their operators, but more so the manuals.

        Generalizations shouldn’t be made. Rather, specific transmissions and a manufacturer’s history of specifying/designing good or bad ones should be considered.

        I am a little leery of the dual-clutch and CVT units. It seems like a disproportionately large percentage of both have had issues over the last fifteen years. I have no confidence that they’ll provide 300k+ miles of trouble-free service with nothing but fluid changes like I expect out of the more traditional transmission designs, manual or automatic. However, I don’t know anybody with any long term experience with them either way. It’s all manuals and planetary gear autos among my friends and family. Maybe they have those designs figured out now, but how would I know?

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          FWIW, my hybrid Altima went 140K on the Toyota sourced (hybrid only) CVT. Car was replaced at that point.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Is that the planetary gearset CVT, like the Prius? I know that’s a reliable system, though I didn’t know it was used on so many other vehicles until now. Seems like a brilliant design.

            I’m more leery of the chain/belt and cone type CVTs. They still don’t even have those things figured out in snowmobiles. People carry belts around when they ride because catastrophic failure during a ride is considered normal.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I, knock on wood have had zero problems with automatics if I exclude the POS Grand Caravan we owned. It was a rough shifter but never failed.

      If I look at manual transmission vehicles I’ve owned, I had to replace a clutch on my ’84 Ranger after 4 years of hard off-roading. I had to replace the shifter twice due to wear.
      My ’90 F250 went through 2 slave cylinders but the clutch was fine. It had a recall on the manual transmission for problems with the syncro’s. My buddy with a Chevy also had the same issue. In the ’90’s it was a common problem with ZF transmissions.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I guess I can understand where he’s coming from. I’ve owned one TR6060-equipped American car and driven a couple of others. The shift quality is not Bad per se, but it’s very un-BMW-like: relatively high-effort, with the feel of operating heavy machinery.

    There’s also clutch life to consider. At the torque levels they’re reaching it gets really, really hard to make a clutch that has low effort, progressive engagement, and the ability to handle hard launches. The stock clutch in the G8/SS is biased toward the street-friendly side of that equation and durability under abuse is not great as a result.

    • 0 avatar
      tlk

      Centerforce DYAD. Just one example of a twin disc clutch able to hold 1300 ft lbs and just about any silliness you want to throw at it with a clutch feel identical to OEM.

      Bottom line, there’s no excuse for low manual sales other than the inherent laziness of humanity. Lowest common denominator always wins eventually. We’re all doomed.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “Bottom line, there’s no excuse for low manual sales other than the inherent laziness of humanity. Lowest common denominator always wins eventually. We’re all doomed.”

        elitist horses**t.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @jimz: With my son, learning and driving a manual was a huge self-confidence booster. We live in a hilly area and it wasn’t easy. He was convinced he would never be able to drive the car. I rode along to school with him in the mornings and brought the car back in the afternoon for him to drive home. After about a week, I had an early morning meeting and told him to take the bus. When I got home early, the car wasn’t there. He decided to go solo rather than take the bus. It was a good lesson at mastering something he thought was difficult and it even seemed to give him a confidence boost at everything else. It also gave him a skill that the other kids in school didn’t have. He even showed off when his starter failed by continuing to drive to school while waiting for an appointment to have it fixed. Plenty of sloped parking spots at school and a nice incline on the driveway at home let him show off the push-start skills I taught him.

          Years later, when he bought his first new car as an adult and finally retired the high school car, we were able to get a substantial amount of money off of it because the dealer knew they were going to have a tough time moving a new car with a manual 6-speed – and we had no problem reminding him of that fact.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I was bristling at the “laziness” part. the vast majority of people drive because they have to, not because they like to. a manual transmission brings them no utility or benefit whatsoever.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “the inherent laziness of humanity”

          Yeah, they suck. Which species are you?

        • 0 avatar
          tlk

          I guess your avatar must mean you know something about horses**t.

          There’s no technical reason for automatics replacing manuals, it’s a consumer preference. Why? Because automatics are easier. There’s no thinking, no technique. Push pedal, go. Call it whatever you want but lazy works for me. And anyone who thinks that the majority of people won’t take the easy way most of the time is living in an alternate universe.

          Enjoy the air up there.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            tlk, unless you bicycle/walk everywhere, manually pump your water from a well, never use a power tool of any kind, only preserve your food with ice or salt and your only household heat and lighting come from fire, you’re a silly-butt hypocrite.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Dal, what’s the clutch life expectancy on the G8/SS? Do you still have your G8?

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    The market has spoken for pedestrian cars. For the sports cars manuals are in fact resurgent, witness the cayman GT4 and the new GT3, Astons anyone?. Sports cars are for driving enjoyment, a human machine interface. 3 pedals a stick, steering that has feel are all integral to this experience. If you want to sell paper number cars, auto turbo is the trick, but it dotn build brad cred as real drivers apply elsewhere..

    Whats the takeup rate on the M3/4 for manuals? I read 40%. On the vette the numbers are similar. Dodge challenger over 50%.

    Each transmsion motor setup needs certifying with epa. its easier for manufactuers to do just one, and show on paper its faster. But then somone always spoils the party by offering a real mamaual which tends to be the car many (proifitable) entusiaists buy.

    Why do we think aston brought back the manual in the vantage. Its a niche and a very profitable niche. Yes manuals are dead for transport devices, they are certainly not dead for entusuast drivers, BMW will forget this to its peril.

    in the fture there will eb real sprts cars and robo electro hybrids for everything and everyone else.

    BMW as barnd ins now playing on the ultimate machine that also can be driven sometimes.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    What utter nonsense, that there’s no manual trans that can take more than 450 ft-lb! Even BMW’s own Getrag boxes from the 80’s and 90’s are beyond capable of routinely handling that kind of input. “Long term durability”? Since when is BMW concerned about that?

    If “Quick and efficient” is all we’re after, we should all just up and drive a Prius. So why does BMW exist, exactly?

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      The part about not being able to handle the power is BS, but maybe the weight issue isn’t. If your the type of car company to put a can of tire inflator in the trunk instead of a spare in your top dollar luxury cars.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      ““Long term durability”? Since when is BMW concerned about that?”

      Amen. BMW is a for profit enterprise. They just happen to make cars.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      I’ve driven track built E36s, Getrag & ZF, with well over that arbitrary 450ft-lbs figure. They can withstand more abuse than anyone daily driving one could ever dish. The dual mass flywheels on the other hand…

      There are days where I cherish my manual gearbox, there are other times when I wish I was driving a Honda CVT instead.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      single countershaft manuals are limited to about 650-700 lb-ft. ‘s why the Ram with the Cummins has to de-rate the engine to 660 lb-ft when paired with the manual. Manual transmissions use parallel gear sets, and parallel gears will try to force each other apart as you increase the applied torque. Plus the shafts themselves have a limit before they’ll experience torsional fracture.

      automatics, on the other hand, don’t use a continuous shaft from input to output; they chain together planetary gearsets which can be incredibly strong.

      and heavy trucks get around the input torque limit by using large, double countershaft boxes.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The second M in BMW M stands for “monstrosity”. There’s no saving those 2.5 ton pigs… it’s like calling a 3 pedal Tahoe a driver’s car.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Power, tires and suspension do quite a bit to compensate for the weight.

      A Tahoe isn’t a driver’s car because it’s a BOF truck. Weight has nothing to do with it.

      You need a 740i or X5 to even start to crest 4,000lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        ????

        The E39 M5 was 2 tons, and all the ones that followed have been heavier. The only F10 5er that was under 2 tons was the 4 banger. They’re boats.

        And the F30 3er is light, but still a mess dynamically, all the way up the line. A 3rd pedal cannot fix all of BMW’s dynamic problems.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          BMW is chasing Mercedes to be a luxury carmaker. Like most carmakers, their overarching goal is to sell more cars. BMW’s tagline is marketing speak, at least it is now.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      M is for Mass. The weight of M3’s has soared over what, 1200 lbs since it introduction. But you know what? The BMW display at the car show was packed with the drinkers of the Kool aid. Loss of driving acumen and poor reliability are not hurting sales.

  • avatar
    krohde

    What a load of crap about the US manuals not being worthy. Drive a 2015+ Mustang GT or GT350. Drive a new Camaro or Corvette. Those shifters are attached to motors making as much power as any BMW we’re talking about and they’re damn good.

    Thankfully, it seems like Mustangs continue to be 1/4 to 1/3 manual, plus the ST/RS Ford lines are all manual only so doubt the manual is going away for the Blue Oval anytime soon.

  • avatar
    beken

    2 of the 3 cars in my house are manuals. My daughter prefers the manual but we don’t live in the downtown core of the city. She does mention the stop and go of rush hour traffic makes autoboxes preferable, but the shear act of driving, she likes the manual.

    A few weeks ago, I got the invite to the MINI dealer in downtown Vancouver to the new Countryman introduction. They had valet parking. I arrived late. After the event, my car was still parked in front of the dealership. Apparently, there was only one valet driver that knew how to drive a manual and he had left early. So they left my car there.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    My household – 2003 SVT Focus/6MT, 2011 GTI Autobahn/6MT, 2014 Fiesta Titanium/5MT. Wife’s company car is a 2015 Corolla with the CVT…but she didn’t choose it or buy it.

    What’s left out there with an MT? Can’t believe nobody has mentioned Volkswagen GTI. Every GTI at every trim level available with 6MT…and with a high percentage of them selling with the MT, there is a lot of selection out there at dealers. Plus it’s widely considered the best car in its class.

    For those with a couple extra bucks, that all goes for the Golf R, too.

    And no immediate plans by VW to change any of that.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    While not a good thing for manual transmission fans, this is a good thing for automatic transmissions in general. BMW announcing and declaring classic torque converter autos to be superior to complicated dual-clutches is good, and hopefully the rest of the herd follows. We don’t want any more Ford Focus with a super high tech but brittle transmission that doesn’t even work that good.

  • avatar
    raisingAnarchy

    Wait just a minute here.

    “We looked at US gearboxes. We found they were heavy and the shift quality was awful”

    So American gearboxes are all of a sudden unacceptable, with poor shift quality and too much weight, yet the autotragic models of the E90 generation 3 series received the GM-made 6L50…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_6L50_transmission

    Maybe if BMW started making proper cars again, people who are interested in driving with 3 pedals would buy their (now very limited) manual offerings.

  • avatar
    Ron

    I don’t know which US manufacturers BMW looked at, but if they looked at Tremec, I will attest to their awful shift nature. They’re just too damn notchy. Between that and the occasional but violent 3rd gear kickback that nearly broke my arm in two Mustangs that I owned (one with a T56 taken out of a Corvette), I will never own another car with a Tremec. Shitty transmissions; Jeremy Clarkson agrees, BMW agrees (I think), and I’m sure the list is much longer.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Jeremy Clarkson, now there’s an unbiased opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        Ron

        Maybe this goes without saying, but ALL opinions are biased – that’s why they’re called opinions, and not facts. Opinions may or may not be *based on facts, but that doesn’t change anything. Tremecs are shitty transmissions in my biased opinion, but it’s at least rooted in personal experience. People and/or companies with different experiences certainly can and do have different opinions on them.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      My Gen I CTS-V has the Tremec T-56, as they all did. In nearly three years I’ve never experienced a ‘3rd gear kickback’ and hope never to do so. The sixer needs some time to warm up ( 15 minutes of driving will easily do it ), after which I can whale on it with impunity. It gets slicker and slicker the longer it’s driven. Out of the driveway – even at the height of Summer – it IS a little recalcitrant.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Stop acting like automakers don’t like manual shifters. It’s the buyers who don’t and a few enthusiasts won’t make a difference with the exception of very few niche car makers like Porsche.

    The US gearbox comment is a deflection. If there was demand then they could source them in Europe.

    Add to that the better fuel economy of the auto-boxes and the writing is on the wall for manual shifters.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    I’m good with that as it will save me 10’s of thousands of $ because I don’t even have to think about new Bmmers.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Time to buy a manual trans M3/M4/M5, keep the miles down, and hold on to it. You’ll be rewarded in 10 years with a hefty sum of $ once you sell it.

    Desirable cars with manual transmissions are holding their value extremely well these days and that is going to continue as manual transmission cars continue to be phased out. I have a 2010 S5 V8 6MT that is slowly becoming a unicorn. They’re consistently selling in the high $20s and low to mid $30s.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Widespread mobile phones are a big factor here also.
    Much more challenging to text and drive with a manual.

    Women in Europe can do it, plus smoke, drink coffee, and apply makeup, but they’re in a different league.

  • avatar
    dror

    Back in 2015, I traveled to Iceland, turn out most rental cars are manuals, I was pretty exited about it since I got my driver license on a manual car (1977) and drove mostly automatics since then, it took me some time to get used to it but at the end it was OK.
    I live in NYC, driving every day to work, there is no way I will ever go back to manual unless I live on some mountain or in the middle of the desert (:-)

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    A neighbour recently brought home his present to himself. A Camaro ZL1 with a manual transmission. One of only 50 Zl1’s allocated to Canada and possibly the only one with 3 pedals.

  • avatar
    tonyd

    I would love to have the pleasure of jammin my own gears. But I live in a metro area with horrible rush hour traffic. That IMO is the reason manuals are dying(dead). If an oem could create a manual with a tall 1st gear that could do the at creep in traffic without using third pedal I would buy it! So you would need to use the clutch to put it into 1st and out of 1st but not while IN 1st.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    Unsure where BMW is getting its take-rate numbers. I ordered my 335i with a manual, there’s several 6-speed M cars in the lot at work, I’d say its more like 30-40% in the sportier cars. Sure the fleet-special white 328i $299/mo lease makes up the bulk of 3-series sales but this guy is talking out his ass both on take rate and there being no suitable transmissions from US/wherever.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris FOM

      Yes, I’m sure your eyeball estimation of the work parking lot gives you far more detailed and reliable information than the data available to BMW’s VP of marketing and sales. If only he’d talked to you first he could have been properly informed of the cars his company is actually selling instead of his fantasy numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      FWIW, in a nonscientific test about 1% of all new BMWs on Autotrader are listed as manuals.

      For 3-series only it is .7%

      For vehicles with an “M” on the badge (so including the M760LI and M240i), it is 22% with a manual.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        It’s even lower than that too, with many of those ads likely listing automatics as manuals.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatic

        Three years ago a friend went into lease a 3 series. Told the salesman he wanted a manual transmission car. Salesman said they could sell him one but would not lease him one. They were concerned about clutch life on the trade-in. This was in the NYC area so I’m not sure if this is BMW policy or a local thing. If nation wide it would explain the low take rate since leasing makes up a large percentage of new BMW sales.

  • avatar
    craiger

    My 2004 Z4 had the clutch delay dampener (damper?). Very annoying. I had it drilled out a few weeks after I got the car.

  • avatar
    pb35

    The Tremec in my SS is a little notchy but it only has about 1700 mi on it so far. I think adding a short throw shifter with a big white cue ball on top will be a great improvement.

  • avatar
    whoever

    Stop making dumb arse excuses BMW! Honda offer 6 models with stick in US!

  • avatar
    brucebanner

    Honda is keeping the manual alive

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    I just lived through the buying process with BMW when I bought my (almost new CPO 2016) 228i this winter. No one had a manual version for me to test drive anywhere in the upper Midwest – neither a 2016 or 2017. I drove the 8 speed automatic and, frankly, was incredibly impressed. The combination of paddle shifters and switchable driving modes gave me some level of control, while also the convenience of the automatic shifting for daily use. In addition, because I live in snowy climes, I wanted all wheel drive, which is ONLY available with automatic transmission.

    Yeah, I could have found a manual rear wheel drive version 1,000 miles away. But frankly, the incremental driving pleasure of having a manual wasn’t worth it. I bought the automatic and after 3 months, I’m actually fine with that. I love manuals and I’m old enough to remember when automatics weren’t always reliable or smooth shifting. But the current BMW 8 speeder is really a marvel and, in a car like a 2 series, there is enough of the old Bimmer sportiness to make the tradeoff worth it. It’s an excellent car in base 4 cylinder turbo or beefed up turbo six mode. For 99% of my driving needs, it works out fine. And I have sport and sport plus mode when I want to let loose a bit.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    The question of how best to shift gears goes away with electric drivetrains.

    I’m looking forward to a future!

  • avatar
    kokomokid

    I have four cars, two of them with manuals. One of the three-padal cars is a 1989 Dodge Caravan with a 2.5 turbo. I can’t get a new manual transmission minivan now, so I’ve had to keep this one.

  • avatar
    kokomokid

    Does anyone know what the manual take rate is on MINIs? When I bought my 2010, a lot of cars in inventory were manuals, and they had what I wanted, a near-zero-option base, non-S car.

    With MINIs getting bigger, and less enthusiast oriented, I suppose you might need to order a manual now, at many dealers.

  • avatar
    jaybee2

    I don’t think one can generalize and say it’s only the mainstream, non-enthusiast cars that are driving the demise of the MT – look at Porsche GT3, Mercedes AMG-GT, Ferrari, Aston and any of several other high end sports machines – none available with MT (altho’ I did just very recently read that Porsche will bring back MT for the GT3 in ’18).

    I think there will continue to be a small but vocal demand for MT esp in sports-oriented cars, but the issue is whether the manufacturers will serve that market demographic. And unless one has the necessary chops to swap or coin out an auto for a MT, it is foreseeable that most people will just throw in the towel. As @SteveMar indicates above, the modern autos are very good and in some instances better than a MT.

  • avatar
    REVitHigh

    Nobody in the US wants a manual so manufacturers are forced to comply with what the customers want in the largest car market.


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