Wednesday, 29 January 2020 - About Torquingpoint | Advertise | Rss

Am I The Only One?

Car journalists the world over are mourning the loss of the manaual gear box, but why?

Perfect gear changes, quicker than you could ever do it. What's wrong with that?

People have been resisting the move from manual to double clutch, paddle shift gear boxes for years now. I know this because I used to be one of them.

It's about time they gave up the uphill struggle of trying to save a 20th century relic though and embraced the hugely impressive modern way of changing gear. I'm sure most people have experienced paddles in some form or another by now. If not, make sure you do. Anybody not completely familiar with them needn't think they are only found in foreign exotica, they are in cars costing less than 10 grand now.

The straw that broke the camel's back and made me start writing this article is the new Cayman launch currently taking place. A couple of leading journalists said it was a shame that out of 20 or so cars at the launch, only one had a manual gear box. One too many if you ask me. That one is representative of the proportion of sales with a manual 'box though, and the reason for that minority? Porsche's PDK system is fantastic! It's a sign of the times.

I read about it so often. "The double clutch transmission is an impressive piece of engineering, but you don't feel as connected to the mechanics or the driving experience." Yep heard it all before. How about this as a counter argument: It's faster, allows average drivers to access more of the car's potential, is more fun to fly up and down the cogs, the system makes lovely throttle blips every single time, it's safer because you keep your hands on the wheel, should I go on?

It may sound like I'm having a dig at the more 'traditional' writers for want of a better word, and I'm definitely not. I just think it's a major improvement in one of the fundamental features of a car and offers so many more positives than debatable negatives. And even if you can't accept this, 95% of cars can still be specced with a manual, but just don't complain when the majority aren't because everyone else wants to enjoy a lovely bit of modern engineering. 

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About Matt

Contributor Without the motor car I'd be bored and also late. Lifelong petrolhead. I hope you enjoy reading articles written from a different stance to the rest of the motoring world.  ... read more