The automotive enthusiast world was aghast when Ferrari decided that manual transmissions would die off as models were replaced. Ferrari wasn’t lying: the only new Ferrari model available with a clutch is the 599 GTB Fiorano. Praise has been heaped upon Lamborghini for its ingenious independent shifting rod transmission, the clutchless device that’ll send power to the wheels of the new Aventador. Porsche and BMW, meanwhile, two former bastions of manual transmission glory, now seem to believe Doppelkupplung and M DCT Drivelogic are routes to the future. Perhaps the sweetest shifting car known to man, the 2011 Mazda RX-8, is available with a 6-speed automatic that saps 20 horsepower from the rotary engine. Sucky.
This isn’t about saving the manuals à la Car And Driver, however. There remain plenty of manual transmissions on the market, particularly if you’re willing to accept base models which sometimes aren’t even available without a clutch. Setting aside such models, there are only 13 cars on sale in North America right now* built exclusively with a manual transmission.
Before you assume The Good Car Guy despises any vehicle that forbids the driver from operating a clutch, be mindful of a few sports injuries (skiing, then tennis, eventually basketball) that have forced automatic transmissions into the family. Oh, rowing your own is a blast, a blast generally enjoyed by this left ankle for no more than three or four days. This is only mentioned so you don’t mistake this post for a dose of ridicule aimed at automakers who only celebrate the arrival of new clutchless technology. No, interpret this list as a celebration of inevitably rare cars, specific models that don’t take kindly to the phrase, “Can I get it with an automatic? I have a long, high-traffic commute and my ankle swells up.”
BMW 1-Series M Coupe
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Ford Mustang Boss 302
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Honda Civic Si
Mazda MazdaSpeed 3
Porsche 911 GT3 / Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Subaru Impreza WRX / Subaru Impreza WRX STi —–
Know of other non-base model cars that are always built with a foot-operated clutch? Leave a comment and the list will be upgraded immediately.
* Honourable Mention: The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X GSR is sold exclusively with a 5-speed manual. Thing is, the GSR is actually the basic Lancer Evolution – we decided to exclude base models from this list, remember? – and the up-market MR is sold without a clutch. Also, at least initially, we’re led to believe the 2012 Ford Focus ST will be fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission only.