How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

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How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the feeling?

100% performance, 0% engagement
0
No votes
80/20
0
No votes
60/40
0
No votes
40/60
3
33%
20/80
2
22%
0% performance, 100% engagement
4
44%
 
Total votes: 9

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blauenlanze
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How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by blauenlanze » Thu May 02, 2019 2:59 am

Hey everyone, back from a long hiatus, looking at a my next car again. So much has changed in the last decade that I'm seriously questioning what a manual transmission means in today's automotive world. However, I figured out of all places, this might be the place to poll.

I'm realizing as I'm looking at the current generation of cars, that indeed a large part of the importance of driving a manual was the actual performance benefit. Now that even under best-case scenarios (it's hard to mess up an automatic launch), the manual is nearly always slower by 0.2-0.4s, and worse by 1-3MPG, it's getting harder to justify on that front. Still, the control and engagement is important to many drivers, as well as that feeling of "flow".

But with the manual take rate under 2% (I think it was at least ~10% in 2009 and higher in the 80s), it's likely very true that a huge % of drivers did it for the MPG and 0-60. It also makes me wonder, for the die-hard stick-shifters, how much worse/slower would the manual have to be for you to ditch it? 10% worse mileage? 20%? 30%?
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by potownrob » Thu May 02, 2019 6:42 am

willkommen zurück blau!! 10 years ago, i too would say i shifted my own gears for performance and engagement. these days, i do it mainly for reliability. my main car is an automatic (2016 golf), but my 2nd car is a manual (2007 altima v6). that said, the altima is fairly fun to drive with the manual, and it's a nice change of pace from driving the automatic golf, when i do drive it (it currently is having engine issues which keep me from driving it much, til i figure out the problems). what are you driving these days??

edit: eye now sea that ewe drive a prelude. i almost got me one of those way back when, but the specimen eye drove was red and slightly riced out, so i passed and eventually got a '98 maxima.

edit 2: eye all ways liked your avatar, with the cute girl and the younger looking guy. eye'll let you use your imagination as to why eye like it. :)
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by Rope-Pusher » Thu May 02, 2019 12:55 pm

potownrob wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 6:42 am
edit: eye now sea that ewe drive a prelude. i almost got me one of those way back when, but the specimen eye drove was red and slightly riced out, so i passed and eventually got a '98 maxima.
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by watkins » Thu May 02, 2019 4:39 pm

Experience, control, and not being bored. Also the sound, but that wouldn't be a thing without a nice exhaust.
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by tankinbeans » Thu May 02, 2019 6:55 pm

I've never considered myself much of a performance driver per se. That said, I like them because it gives me something to strive for on every car journey; a perfect launch, a perfect revmatch downshift, a perfect heel toe downshift into a turn where I can carry enough speed through to avoid fully accelerating again and save some petrol. Generally my launches are a bit wibbly wobbly, my revmatches fall short of perfect, and I overshoot my heel toe slightly, but when everything aligns perfectly it's a minor source of amusement. Gives me something to occupy my mind in traffic. Had a CX-5 as a rental with all the tech fripperies and gubbins, could feel my mind wandering.

Also, I won't lie, most of my friends can't drive a manual and so I'm never asked to lend out my car.
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by ClutchDisc » Fri May 03, 2019 7:02 pm

Absolutely 100% engagement. The performance part is just a bonus!
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by ClutchFork » Fri May 03, 2019 10:43 pm

I'll don't care if performance is ten times better with some automatic, I am still driving a stick. It's a way of life!
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theholycow wrote:Why in the world would you even want to be as smooth as an automatic? Might as well just drive an automatic...

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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by Rope-Pusher » Sat May 04, 2019 8:13 am

ClutchFork wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 10:43 pm
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.... I am still driving (with) a stick. It's a way of life!
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by Shadow » Tue May 07, 2019 10:21 am

I started driving manuals back in the late 80s with a 5.0 Mustang. And back then, there were several good reasons to have the manual version of the car over the automatic. The manual cars were less expensive (automatic was a costly option), faster, and better fuel economy. So who would even want an automatic with all those downsides?

As mentioned, those advantages are pretty much gone on newer vehicles. For the most part, newer cars with automatics are often faster and get better fuel economy. But driving a manual is still so much more engaging and fun, so I'm fine with getting a couple less MPG and a tenth of a second or two slower 0-60 times as a trade-off for the driving engagement. Interestingly, my Audi is one of the few vehicles today that has a higher EPA fuel economy rating with the 6-speed manual compared to the 8-speed automatic. My 6-speed manual is rated 2 MPG higher than the 8-speed automatic version of the car.
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by Stelcom66 » Tue May 07, 2019 9:03 pm

Shadow wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 10:21 am
Interestingly, my Audi is one of the few vehicles today that has a higher EPA fuel economy rating with the 6-speed manual compared to the 8-speed automatic. My 6-speed manual is rated 2 MPG higher than the 8-speed automatic version of the car.
That is surprising, My '99 Honda Accord 5MT is rated 2 MPG higher than the automatic, typical of the year but that year the automatic was a 4 speed. I'm averaging 2-3 MPG more than the combined city/highway EPA ratings for the manual.

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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by potownrob » Thu May 09, 2019 7:43 am

eye was jest having this discussion with myself about how cars used to be much better with the manuals, and now the autos are just as quick and miserly and sometimes no more expensive. reliability though, especially on cvts, is usually not as good. also, still not as much fun. it's too bad i'm getting too old and fat to daily a manual. it was nice driving the altima the other day though.
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by ClutchFork » Thu May 09, 2019 7:50 am

potownrob wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 7:43 am
eye was jest having this discussion with myself about how cars used to be much better with the manuals, and now the autos are just as quick and miserly and sometimes no more expensive. reliability though, especially on cvts, is usually not as good. also, still not as much fun. it's too bad i'm getting too old and fat to daily a manual. it was nice driving the altima the other day though.
No matter how "good" automatics get, I still can't get them to shift the way I want them to shift.
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by tankinbeans » Thu May 09, 2019 8:33 am

Ain't dat da troof. Mom's auto Mazda3 is nice enough when it does things for itself, but Sport mode is ridiculous. All it does is hold a gear for an excessively long time, even after acceleration has abated.
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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by IMBoring25 » Fri May 10, 2019 10:57 am

In large measure, the price, efficiency, and performance penalties have been reduced, eliminated, or even reversed with the multispeed automatics, SMGs, and CVTs. With a proliferation of flappy paddles and +/- buttons, you can have almost full control over gear selection in most models/trim levels.

While automatics are generally more prone to reliability issues (and more expensive to fix if you get a bad one), you may or may not know how good an automatic you're purchasing is at the time of purchase.

Remote start and several of the driver assistance technologies are more difficult to implement in manuals.

To opt a manual at this point pretty well requires you to enjoy the experience.

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Re: How much do you drive manual for the performance reasons vs. the experience?

Post by blauenlanze » Fri May 10, 2019 12:31 pm

Hey rob, I drive a BMW M240i 6MT now, haven't updated haha - but I really do miss the Prelude from time to time. I created this poll because I used to think I was 80/20 or 60/40 performance/experience split, but the fact that I picked this car, means I'm probably 40/60 and do sufficiently enjoy the experience and the flow to continue doing it, but it's a close call.

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The 4MPG highway probably comes from 44% higher revs - 60MPH in 6MT = 2130rpm (6MT) or 1475rpm (8AT) - cue the classic thread about short gearing to pass on highways. But the torque peaks at 369lb-ft at 1500rpm, I can't see why you'd want higher revving. Maybe it's to actually hit the quoted top speed numbers.

I also do lose 0.2s in the 0-60, so I definitely picked manual for the experience. With shrinking manual options and performance gap (I'm now convinced this generation will be the final 2 series to have a manual the way Shadow's A5 dropped the manual a few years ago - I had considered the car then actually), there's a high chance I am not daily driving manual in the near future. I saw a thread by Shadow about paying more for a manual - at this point, you are basically doing so on the fuel front. As IMBoring25 mentioned, manufacturers are annoyed at the extra configs and putting active safety + electrification is a huge stopping point too (though Honda and BMW have proved otherwise). I think this is definitely path dependent, if we had come of age in an era of snappy, responsive automatics, few would have the desire to daily-drive a manual.

My previous car was a Honda Accord V6 6MT. For this one at least, the acceleration was definitely much faster in the 6MT vs. 5AT, so sacrificing 2MPG is less of a deal. A few years later, the car got a 6AT and cylinder deactivation, and the MPG gap went up to 5MPG on the highway. Then Honda killed the Accord Coupe and V6 in one fell swoop, and later added a 10 speed auto (and yet the 6MT vs. 10AT difference is now only 1MPG).

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While we're at it, does anyone know why the same automatic transmission is often listed twice (e.g. automatic AS-6, and automatic 6-speed) on the Accord? Are they just driving it in different modes e.g. sport vs. Drive? Or in the 2019 Accord 1.5, there's only a CVT for auto, but there's "AV-S7" and "variable gear ratios". The PDF guide says A-S means "automatic transmission, select shift", but I don't know why you would test an auto in select-shift mode for the EPA...

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I also don't think the auto/manual gap can get much worse than a 15% fuel economy difference - perhaps that was the height of manufacturer laziness. Similarly in the 0-60, it probably can't get worse then 0.4s or so for the best DCT vs. a manual that needs to shift twice to 60mph. I don't understand why the Mustang's 6MT vs. 10AT is a 0-1 MPG gap, for instance, but the difference on some of these other cars is so massive. Other nerdy mysteries: various 2 series convertibles getting better MPG than their coupe counterparts despite being several hundred pounds heavier, etc., Shadow's 6MT outperforming 8AT by 2MPG. There are also now some things automatics can do that manuals can't (effectively), such as downshift into 1st at moderate 20-30mph speeds, which is the tradeoff for the good 'ol bump start saving you from being stranded.

I will say that the ZF 8-speed, the Chevrolet 8-speeds, and the Mustang 10-speeds have all been amazing, and entirely changed my views of automatics. I started on some very lazy, slushy, laggy 4-speeds on the Camry and Accord, so that's probably why. The newest transmissions don't gear hunt (even with 10 gears!), respond quickly to paddle shifts, lock up quickly/don't lose power, can handle spirited driving, hold gears well/downshift as needed in sport mode, and can coast effectively in neutral to save fuel (the myth of the deceleration fuel cutoff fuel savings is negated in 98% of cases by the extra acceleration needed after engine braking). I do agree that slightly older 5- and 6-speed autos are not nearly as good and nearly every CVT or single-clutch SMG has been bothersome
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