There’s no understating the convenience an automatic gearbox provides, especially for most daily commutes through heavy traffic. But for us driving enthusiasts, driving an automatic vehicle just feels like soulless and disconnected.
However, most people are not driving enthusiasts, and the low demand of manual transmissions have made stick shifters a rare breed. Locally we pretty much can’t buy a brand-new car with a manual transmission, unless you opt for the barebones ‘kosong-spec‘ variant.
Fortunately, there’s at least one carmaker committed to keeping this dream alive. Speaking to Autocar, Volkswagen has said that it is committed to offering the manual gearbox on its cars for the long-term.
Volkswagen Head of Technical Development Operations, Matthias Rabe said, “Some people enjoy going back to their roots and changing gear manually, and so long as there is a demand, we will continue to offer them.”
It’s not all talk no show either, the latest eighth-generation Golf GTI, unveiled just last month, comes with a manual transmission as standard. Although, the electrified GTE variant is only available with a seven-speed DCT.
Volkswagen’s sister company, Porsche has also pledged to keep the manuals alive, with the reintroduction of an manual option for the Carrera S and Carrera 4S variants.
German rival BMW has also committed to saving the manuals. BMW M division chief Markus Flasch previously said in an interview that the M3 and M4 will continue to be offered with a manual gearbox.
Well then, now is perhaps the time for us to walk the talk and buy up the manuals. With demand, distributors would be more willing to take a risk and offer the more enthusiast-oriented products, and we might one day see great driving cars being offered with a manual gearbox again.