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Is A Flappy-Paddle Gearbox Better Than A Stick Shift?

My first car was a stick shift manual, and one of my favorite things to do in my first car was to downshift in to a stop. There was something very visceral about working the clutch and lowering the gears to get the car to slow down.

Double-clutch transmissions are killing the manual gear box. In 2016, less than 3% of cars sold in the U.S. were manual transmission. Both BMW and Jaguar report similarly low numbers, and it’s clear why. Double-clutch gear boxes offer the driver the option of using the transmission like an automatic, or shifting up and shifting down just like a manual, without the annoyance of pushing in a heavy clutch. It seems the days of a grinding gears is gone for good.

Flappy paddles on an Aston Martin via AutoGists

The eight sped transmission is now common place among high end cars, and in the near future that will seem quaint. Today, if you have a spare $100,000.00 US lying around you can buy the gorgeous Lexus LC 500 with a 10-speed transmission. However, if you can hold out until 2018, Honda has plans to put a 10-speed double clutch automatic in its upcoming Odyssey minivan! Are we about to see an age where 10 and 12 speed clutches are commonplace?

Lexus LC 500

In a recent article from Extreme Tech by Bill Howard, he tells us that not only are manual gear boxes dead, but they are worse in every possible way compared to modern double-clutches!

Additionally, the Director of Research and Development at Lamborghini, Maurizio Reggiani, told Road and Track that manual transmissions are dead and will never be back on a Lambo.

2014 Chevrolet 6-Speed via AutoGuide

I don’t know if Bill Howard of Extreme Tech is right about the superiority of the modern transmission or not. But, I certainly do love my ZF 8HP45 eight-speed automatic transmission in my Jaguar. However, I do miss downshift braking…

So what do you think? Are modern transmission better than manual transmissions? Should we old-timers give up and embrace the new, or is the nostalgia of downshift braking worth the fight?

Keep driving my friends!

My thanks to Jeff for helping me with this article.

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