Looking at the automotive market and what’s on offer today, you would probably think that the manual gearbox doesn’t stand a chance. And the truth is, it doesn’t. Most car makers are dropping this option for a number of reasons. From the fact that not a lot of people are buying it anymore, to the fact that slushboxes get better mpg numbers, and that’s crucial to stay competitive today. Some people might be tempted to say that’s just something happening today but the harsh truth of the matter is, that’s not exactly true.
Look at the BMW E63 M6 in the video below, for example. This car comes from an age when manuals were still pretty much alive. Back in the early 2000s, a lot of cars were sold with manual boxes, most likely the majority of them (excluding the US, where automatics have been dominant for quite some time now). And even though BMW did offer the majestic five-liter V10 S85 engine with a manual gearbox, people just didn’t buy it as much as you may be led to believe.
Instead, only 701 BMW M6 models were fitted with a manual gearbox so finding one is truly a detective’s job. Luckily for us, the guys from Roads Untraveled managed to get their hands on one and the video below shows one of the jewels of the industry (of all time) in action. If you just stop and think about it, there are very little choices out there, if you want a V10 mated to a manual gearbox. You can look either at this M6 or a first-generation Audi R8 V10 which also had a manual option which wasn’t too popular.
So, while we do love the engagement such a setup provides, we also understand why car makers are dropping the manual choice all over the place. While some very vocal fans of this setup do paint a tragic picture, the reality of it is that there’s just no business case for it anymore and companies like BMW should be praised a bit more often for keeping the manual alive on certain cars, like the current M3/M4 models.