It has been reported several times over the past few years that manuals are dead. Yet, the manuals are still alive and kicking, running everything from trucks to sedans to high-performance supercars in some cases.
But their death is imminent. No matter what we may do or want, the age of the manual is slowly decaying and leaving place for highly complicated and intelligent transmissions. Recent years saw a bit of a manual renaissance, but it’s still just a drop in the bucket of transmission choices.
In 1987, 29.1% of new vehicles sold in the U.S. were coming with a manual transmission, according to the EPA. By 2010, however, the rate of manual transmission acquisition had fallen to just 3.8%. But, who is to blame for this? There are several reasons.
1. Engine Development
Fuel efficient engines work perfectly with automatic transmissions. With the advent of new turbocharged engines, the era of fuel efficient motoring really begun and part of that can be attributed to the automatic transmission. From eco-friendly driving modes and fuel efficient settings to the smoother power delivery, the cars now get better fuel economy.
2. CO2 Levels
Most of today’s automatic transmission solutions help save fuel and lower CO2 emissions, therefore, in most BMW cars picking a fuel saver mode over a sport mode brings best of both worlds: fuel efficiency and ecologically friendly driving. Want to save fuel? Just pick a setting on the automatic transmission. Want to achieve better 0-62mph times? Pick the Sport mode and have fun. It’s that easy.
3. Ease of use
Automatic transmissions are definitely best experienced in a busy city driving scenarios and the truth is that consumers simple love them. From stop-and-go traffic to parking and highway cruising, the auto gearboxes are also best for less experienced drivers.
4. Fuel Economy
In the early days of automatic transmission, it was evident, in most examples, that manuals yielded better fuel economy, but newer automatic transmissions have reverted that thinking. Boxes like the ZF eight-speed are often awarded for their great fuel efficiency and smooth delivery of power, and they have found a home in many premium cars, including BMWs.
Most, if not all BMW models, are currently faster from 0-62mph in automatic transmission-powered vehicles leading to easier acceleration, downshifting and cornering twisty roads. Going completely automatic is not that appealing to many high-performance drivers, but newer cars offer shift paddles on the steering wheel which gives you the option to shift at your own pace in a semi-automated mode.
6. Playstation Generation
The Y generation. Call us Millenials, call us what you please, but we are spoiled little brats that like to take the easy way out. We are used to the Playstation controllers and swift shifts of in-game selections, or often, we don’t know how to virtually drive in any video game without having the gears changed for us. So we can extrapolate to the real world and see how video games can influence our behavior in the real world.