There’s a valiant effort among car journalists today trying to save the manual transmission. Despite offering a more fun and engaging experience, the manual transmission is going the way of the Dodo. More and more sports cars are forgoing the row-your-own gearbox in favor of quicker-shifting, more efficient automatic transmissions. However, there are still a few sports cars on the road today that offer an old-school manual. But which is the best? Road & Track recently posed this question and the responses are interesting.
One of them is obviously, the BMW M2. Being the most fun-to-drive coupe BMW currently offers, the M2 is a popular choice among enthusiasts, even many who aren’t necessarily BMW enthusiasts. The reason being is that it can be had with a manual transmission. BMW’s manuals are honestly not the best on the market but, at this point, we’re just happy it has one. Sure, the BMW M3/M4 can also be had with a manual but the M2 is the better driver’s car.
Another popular choice seems to be the Lotus Evora 400, which is a great choice. Every Lotus is a riot to drive, as Lotus makes possibly the finest balanced chassis in the world. The only problem with choosing the Evora is that it’s damn near impossible to actually find one to buy in the ‘States.
One choice that I saw that gets my vote as well is the Mazda MX-5. It’s possibly the cheapest way to get into a rear-wheel drive sports car with a six-speed manual and it’s also possibly the most fun. The MX-5 also has one of the absolute best shifters I’ve used in a modern car. Throws are short, slick and have a well-oiled mechanical feel to them, like slotting the bolt action on a rifle. It’s just lovely. The pedals are also perfectly spaced for heel-and-toe, which makes the experience of a manual much nicer.
Honorable mention is also the BMW 230i, which offers a great all-around sports coupe that won’t be as sharp and delicate as the MX-5 but also much more comfortable. The only problem with the 230i is it’s a bit pricey for what it is. Another honorable mention is the Volkswagen GTI, which is probably the best all-around car on the planet, as it’s great fun to drive, good looking, practical and comfortable. The only thing that keeps it from being my choice is that it’s hard to say no to a rear-wheel drive roadster like the MX-5.
What would be your choice for best current car with a manual transmission?
[Source: Road & Track]