With the automotive industry focused on the environment and fuel economy nowadays; it is of no surprise that certain designs and standards have considerably changed in the way we build cars. We have been seeing a shift into a kind of boring or dull direction and this really scares and alerts us as car enthusiasts.
Of course thinking of the environment and the future of the Earth is a very noble and vital cause though the objection from my side would be as follows: Environmentalists generally tend to view car enthusiasts as evil, to the annoying extent of pointing fingers on our personal choices. As car enthusiasts and as people we would like to say that nobody likes to have some stranger come and tell them how to run their life. Plus, eliminating a vital aspect and essence of the automobile is not the only way to protect the environment.
We might look like evil consumers for them but we also know it’s important to be responsible so please don’t dictate crap on us. And don’t try enforcing a change that might destroy something too good to be killed off. Now that I am done with this rant, I will proceed with going back to the main topic at hand:
Automatic transmissions have become more complex and it became common to see 6 speed transmissions and semi-automatics on mainstream cars. One reason is, as previously mentioned, due to fuel economy being the important factor. Manual transmissions on the other hand are losing their reputation as being the more efficient choice. The formula has been reversed but some carmakers still do find the minority of car enthusiasts a key market segment; carmakers are not forgetting our needs and our lust for the more frugal manual transmissions. Carmakers are left with two options: either kill the third pedal or further develop the manual it to match the requirements of the future.
Lately Porsche released a 7 speed manual transmission in their new 911 to meet the driving needs of enthusiasts while keeping room for fuel economy:
Besides Porsche, BMW is also ambitious about developing a 7 speed manual transmission.
Although, I am not very confident about the idea of it becoming a more complex system like BMW attempts to do it. One reason I always liked Manual cars is due to the fact they are mechanically and electronically simpler than automatics. Now this is just on paper so far but it is nice to know that the conventional manual transmission is meant to survive. During this decade we had an assumption that the future of cars is going to be all about “dull gadget loaded Premium-German copy-cat automobiles”. It seems like this small 10% of car enthusiast market segment cannot be forgotten or discarded by car industry or the people that operate it.