We started a “Save the Manuals” campaign in 2010 to raise awareness, educate the community, and altogether save the precious manual transmission. Why? Because we enjoy the connection between car and driver that only a manual gearbox can provide. But, sadly, the industry has continued to abandon stick shifts, even in many sports cars – you know, the cars that most deserve them. To highlight the offenders, we’ve compiled a list of every sports car that isn’t available with a manual transmission.

Disclaimer: The definition of a “sports car” is a bit hazy these days, with every automaker that builds a somewhat sporty car claiming it’s a sports car. Everything from track-ready muscle cars such as Ford’s Mustang Shelby GT350 and Chevrolet’s Camaro SS 1LE to grand tourers such as BMW’s 8-series and Ferrari’s Portofino might seem to qualify – but not to us. Although a sports car doesn’t strictly need to have only two seats, a minimum of practicality, and rear-wheel drive – like, say, the benchmark Mazda MX-5 Miata – that’s a good starting point. For the cars on this list, our selection for what qualifies as a sports car largely is guided by a “you’ll know it when you see it” philosophy. To us, a sports car can have a back seat, so long as it’s basically useless, and it must have a minimum of extraneous weight or size and a maximum focus on driving satisfaction.

Car and Driver

Acura NSX

The original NSX made its debut more than 25 years ago and featured technologies ahead of its time, with an aluminum unibody and chassis that held up a mid-mounted transverse V-6 engine with forged pistons, titanium connecting rods, and a VTEC valvetrain. That’s all great, but it pales next to our favorite feature: the standard five-speed manual transmission. In the United States, only 767 were sold with the optional automatic compared with 8182 examples with the manual gearbox. But that was back in the 1990s, and the remastered NSX that returned for 2017 is once again pushing technological boundaries. As such, it’s a hybrid, with a trio of electric motors augmenting a twin-turbocharged V-6 and a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Fun though a stick-shift option might be in theory, it likely wouldn’t play well with the Acura’s electric half. Acura NSX: Reviews, Photos, Features, and More

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa’s ongoing comeback in the U.S. market has included some pretty special road cars. The Giulia sedan and its high-performance 505-hp variant, the Quadrifoglio, won a spot on our 10Best Cars roster this year, and the Stelvio Quadrifoglio crossover made our 2018 Editors’ Choice list. But it was the 4C coupe (followed later by the topless Spider) that spearheaded Alfa’s return to American dealerships and set the brand’s stick-shift-free tone here. No 4C is available with a manual, and although a manual Giulia is sold to Europeans, it isn’t offered here. It’s really too bad that the 4C lacks the option. In spite of its high-tech carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, mid-mounted turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and mini-exotic looks, the lightweight 4C is an emotional performer more than a do-it-all master like its chief competitors, the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman twins. Its focus is on fun, with non-power-assisted steering, one of the most feelsome brake pedals in any production car, and a rorty exhaust note that impresses more than the car’s hard performance numbers. Not only would a stick shift fit the car’s carefree mold, it’d surely be a smoother match for the turbocharged engine than the Alfa’s sometimes laggy and jerky dual-clutch automatic transmission. Alfa Romeo 4C: Reviews, Photos, Pricing, and More

Michael Simari – Car and Driver

Aston Martin DB11

Aston Martin’s dazzling lineup is sorely lacking in manual-transmission choices. That includes the gorgeous DB11, which is available with either a twin-turbo V-8 or a twin-turbo V-12 – both of which are mated to an eight-speed automatic. But there is hope for at least one of the company’s models . . . Aston Martin DB11: Reviews, Specs, Images, and More

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

When the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera was revealed, we said that “Aston Martin’s past, present, and future hit the Blendtec.” The Superleggera name (it means superlight in Italian) is licensed from style house Touring, with which Aston has rekindled its old relationship. The car’s basic format – a long nose hiding a V-12 engine powering the rear wheels – is classic Aston Martin. Given the Superleggera’s stature as a fast GT car (Aston refers to it as a “super GT”) and not a hard-core track weapon, a stick shift wouldn’t be an absurd addition to the options sheet – but, alas, an eight-speed automatic is the required mate for the 715-hp twin-turbocharged twelve-cylinder. Aston Martin DBS Superleggera: A Super, Light GT

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Aston Martin Vantage

For seven decades, Aston Martin has applied its Vantage nameplate to some of its most legendary creations. In 2017, it slapped the name on its freshly redesigned entry-level two-door that we dubbed “gorgeous and supremely athletic.” Since the launch, however, only an eight-speed automatic transmission has been offered, although a seven-speed manual transmission is slated to arrive as soon as next year. We’ll happily remove the Vantage from this list when that happens; we can’t wait to row the gears on this stunning British sports car. Aston Martin Vantage: Info, Photos, Specs, and More

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Audi R8

Now in its second generation, Audi’s mid-engine R8 sports car has abandoned the original’s manual-transmission option (which had an ultra-cool gated shifter!) for a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic alone. In our in-depth review, we mentioned that the seven-speed is “not exactly the smoothest gearbox, and occasionally it downshifts too abruptly and perhaps too deeply.” Allow us to elaborate on that point further: Bring back the manual, Audi! Audi R8: Reviews, Images, Pricing, and More

Michael Simari – Car and Driver

Audi TT RS

The previous-generation TT RS was powered by a 360-hp turbocharged five-cylinder engine and was available to U.S. buyers solely with a manual transmission. How quickly things change – transmission-shifting pun intended. The current TT RS is again powered by a turbocharged inline-five engine delivering 400 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque, only this time around it’s available only with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Hey, at least the upgraded engine helps propel the coupe to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 174 mph. Audi TT RS: Reviews, Photos, Specs, and More

Michael Simari – Car and Driver

BMW i8

BMW introduced its second mid-engine sports car (the first being the M1) in 2013: the plug-in-hybrid i8. The i8 features a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine as well as a battery-powered electric motor. The i8 uses a two-speed automatic in the front and a six-speed automatic transmission in the rear and can launch to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds – 1.4 seconds quicker than the M1. Similar to the Acura NSX that appears elsewhere on this list, the i8’s onboard tech would be a weird match for a stick shift. Still, it’s a sports car, and it lacks a manual. BMW i8: Reviews, Technology, Research, and More

Alex Conley – Car and Driver

Bugatti Chiron

The Chiron nearly defies categorization. Is it a missile? A time-warping device tethered to the earth by gravity? We’re calling it a sports car, albeit one capable of a claimed 261-mph top speed. Since few other cars can hit similar speeds – and none with the Bug’s luxuriousness and incredible overall execution – it’s little wonder its maker charges more than $3 million for one. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is the only choice, and Bugatti claims that the clutches used are the largest on any production car. It must be because they have to handle the Chiron’s 1180 lb-ft of torque. Bugatti Chiron: Everything You Should Know

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Ferrari 488GTB / 488 Pista

It has been more than five years since Ferrari offered a manual gearbox in any of its cars. The California, since replaced by the California T and now the Portofino, was the last Ferrari commercially available with a manual transmission. (Fun fact: It was a 599GTB Fiorano that ended up being the last car to actually leave the Ferrari factory with a stick shift, as customer interest in the manual California had waned long before the option was killed off.) Maranello’s dearth of manuals is a shame, and no current Ferrari makes us lament that reality more than the incredible mid-engine 488 family. We’d gladly accept a manual in any 488, from the coupe to the Spider to the unreal Pista. Ferrari 488GTB: Tracked, Photographed, Reviewed

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Ferrari 812 Superfast

The F1 dual-clutch automatic transmission, which Ferrari beefed up to survive the mind-bending V-12 engine it’s bolted to in the 812 Superfast, shifts speedily. Given how eager the naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V-12 is to scream toward its 8900-rpm redline, the transmission is practically a necessity for executing seamless, ultra-fast shifts during full-bore acceleration runs. Super fast though the 812 may be, there’s something charmingly old-school in its straightforward nature, approachable handling, and lack of turbocharging or hybridization. It’s a perfect candidate for a manual shifter. Ferrari 812 Superfast: Reviews, Specifications, Photos, and More

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Ford GT

The GT that debuted for 2017 is the first Ford GT to lack a manual transmission. Its seven-speed dual-clutch is pretty much par for today’s exotic-car course, although at least the Ford’s use of a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 is unique among its competitors’ V-8s, V-10s, and V-12s. Nevertheless, this powertrain helped shoot the GT around Virginia International Raceway in two minutes and 43 seconds, making it the fastest car around that track as part of our annual Lightning Lap track test. So far. Ford GT: Research, Pricing, Photos . . . It's Insane!

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Jaguar F-type 2.0T / R / SVR

You can get a manual shifter in any F-type so long as it has a six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive. That’s fine if you’re okay with the supercharged V-6 Jag’s 340 to 380 horsepower, depending on trim. But what about the base model with its turbocharged inline-four, the R with its supercharged V-8, or the range-topping, eight-cylinder SVR? You’re out of luck – they’re all automatic only. Sure, the all-wheel-drive SVR can rocket to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, but we’d be willing to sacrifice some of that accelerative punch for a proper manual in place of the SVR’s eight-speed automatic. Imagine pulling off the perfect rev-matched downshift to the staccato exhaust crackling of the SVR’s supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. You’d feel like a hero. Jaguar F-type: Photos, Research, Reviews, and More

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Lamborghini Aventador S

Lamborghini’s 730-hp, V-12–powered supercar is offered only with a seven-speed automated-manual transmission and all-wheel drive. The Aventador is named after a famous fighting bull, and while you might decry the car’s lack of a manual transmission as “bull,” there’s no way a stick shift could match the automatic’s launch-control function, which helps the Aventador stampede to 60 mph in just under three seconds. Lamborghini Aventador: It’s an Incredible Car

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Lamborghini Huracán / Huracán Performante

When we tested Lamborghini’s highest-performance Huracán, the Performante, we said that “it accelerates so hard, you’re not sure if your eyes are widening because your brain is desperate for more input or if it’s simply the g-forces packing your eyelids deep into your skull.” Maybe it’s for the best, then, that Performante drivers’ brains aren’t also tasked with manually rowing a gearbox. It raced to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds in our testing, and it currently holds the third-fastest production-car lap time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The regular Huracán is no slouch, either – it still makes it to 60 mph in a silly 2.5 seconds. The Crazy Quick Lamborghini Huracán: All You Need to Know

Marc Urbano – Car and Driver

McLaren 570S / 570GT / 600LT

There hasn’t been a production McLaren road car with a manual gearbox since the storied F1 supercar faded into the history books in the 1990s. Since making its return to building road cars in 2013 with the MP4-12C, McLaren has kept the manual transmission in its past. Every modern McLaren, from the 570S to the 720S to the Senna – each representing the Sport, Super, and Ultimate Series tiers of McLaren’s range – shares the same seven-speed dual-clutch SSG (Seamless Shift Gearbox). In our testing, the 570S rocketed to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds with help from the quick-shifting seven-speed automatic. Still, this lightweight and lightning-sharp mid-engine sports car would be even more involving if it were offered with a stick. McLaren 570 Series: Research, Photos, Specs, and More

Chris Doane Automotive – Car and Driver

McLaren 720S

McLarens keep getting better and better. When the 720S debuted in 2017, we said that “it’s easy to imagine that McLaren’s rapid model-development program is causing alarm in Maranello.” One thing the folks at Ferrari shouldn’t worry about? McLaren getting the jump on them and offering a manual transmission. Like Ferrari, McLaren’s lineup has gone fully automatic. McLaren 720S: Reviews, Photos, Specs, and More

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

McLaren Senna

Like every McLaren introduced since the MP4-12C, the range-topping Senna is fashioned around a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis and is powered by a twin-turbocharged V-8 mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The track-focused Senna makes 789 horsepower, and after driving it we found that it “breaks through barriers for the McLaren brand.” McLaren Senna: Is This Thing Street-Legal?

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Mercedes-AMG GT / GT C / GT S / GT R

The lineup might be confusing (just check out that list of alphabet-soup names above), but the Mercedes-AMG GT family’s transmission story is extremely simple. Every model – from the base GT and the mid-level GT S to the more dynamic GT C and the wicked GT R – uses the same basic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transaxle. Mercedes-AMG’s GT Family: Research, Reviews, Clarification

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Nissan GT-R

Nissan’s flagship sports car sure had a name to live up to when it debuted in its current form in 2007. Over the following decade, Godzilla saw a number of incremental enhancements and power upgrades. None of those powertrain tweaks fully solved the GT-R’s rather jerky transmission behavior or the gearbox’s “characterful” gear gnash and whine, although they did improve things somewhat. A better GT-R a manual transmission might not make, given the model’s focus on being a computerized take on a performance car, but it’d surely be an interesting way to breathe fresh life into this aging sports car. Nissan GT-R: A Buyer’s Guide for Godzilla

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission helps Porsche’s racing-inspired road cars outperform most of the other cars on this list. It’s one of the quickest-shifting transmissions on the market today, and like other dual-clutches it enables uninterrupted torque flow during upshifts. While the PDK costs up to $3730 as an option on numerous current Porsche models, it’s the sole choice for buyers eyeing the track-ready RS version of the 911 GT3. Regular GT3 iterations now offer a stick, mostly because American customers revolted when Porsche tried to drop it from the options list at the beginning of the 991 generation. So maybe there’s a chance Porsche could add a manual option to the GT3 RS. We can hope, right? Porsche 911 GT3 RS: Research, Performance Numbers, Photos, and More

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Porsche 911 GT2 RS

We may have lied when we said there is some hope that Porsche could be cowed into adding a manual transmission to the GT3 RS. The automaker sees its RS models as the zeniths of a given model line’s performance, with no compromises against speed and lap times. We humans, working a clutch pedal and a shift lever, are no match for Porsche’s revered PDK automatic around a racetrack. And so it goes for the 700-hp GT2 RS: The PDK helped it briefly stand atop the podium in production-car Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times with a blistering 6:47 rip – that’s ten seconds quicker than the 887-hp 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar. (The GT2’s time has since been toppled by the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.) Sure, a stick-shift option would be fun, but it wouldn’t be faster. Porsche 911 GT2 RS: Research, Info, Images, and More

The Manufacturer – Car and Driver

Porsche 911 Turbo / Turbo S

Although it was once offered with a stick shift, Porsche’s Turbo-badged 911 comes equipped only with the ultra-quick-shifting PDK dual-clutch automatic. The seven-speed Doppelkupplung transmission – which is essentially identical to the gearbox used in the GT3 and the GT3 RS – helps launch today’s top-dog 580-hp Turbo S from rest to 60 mph in a ludicrous 2.6 seconds. Yes, the fancy transmission shifts quicker than you possibly could, contributing to that crazy acceleration. But don’t you want to try to mimic the Turbo’s launch-control protocol with a several-thousand-rpm clutch drop? Porsche 911 Turbo: The Perfect Car?

Michael Simari – Car and Driver

Original Article

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