The Slow Death Of The Manual Transmission

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment [H]ard as it Gets

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    Force all cars to be manual so people have to actually drive and pay attention thus giving less "free time" to do stupid crap like texting
     
  2. Hagrid

    Hagrid [H]ardForum Junkie

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    That's funny. You really think that would stop stupid people?
     
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  3. bobzdar

    bobzdar [H]ard|Gawd

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    Modern autos and dct's are better than manual transmissions in every objective way - they're more efficient, shift faster and allow for more control of the car.

    That said, there are literally millions of manual transmission cars out there should you desire one. I don't plan to ever sell the gated manual I have in my garage, but I wouldn't buy a modern peformance car with a manual as it's too much of a performance sacrifice.
     
  4. AshG

    AshG n00b

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    I'm glad you're not in charge of my local DMV, then. It's hard to drive a manual when you're missing a leg and can only hit one pedal at a time.
     
  5. Meeho

    Meeho [H]ardness Supreme

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    Ahmm, no, no and no for the above.
     
  6. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Huh. Is that what used to be the Pontiac G8?
     
  7. turquoisewords

    turquoisewords n00b

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    In my long driving life I have never owned an automatic transmission. But I rarely ever have to drive in stop and go traffic. My current car is a 2015 VW Jetta GLI 6-speed manual. Loads of fun to drive. When I rent a car its painful to drive in the US with an auto trans. Of course you're usually getting lowest common denominator vehicles in the class of car you rent.

    In Europe you can easily rent manual transmission cars, but here in the US that went the way of the dodo.

    To the person who mentioned the VW Alltrack and a 6speed manual. I don't believe you can get 6 speed in the US yet -- supposedly coming in early 2017. Only 5speed and 1.8T engine. Don't know why they don't have available -- at least as an option -- the same drivetrain that is in the Jetta GLI or Golf GTI: 2.0L turbo and six speed manual transmission. There is also DSG, but after test driving a friend's I would still vastly prefer the 6 speed manual.
     
  8. YeuEmMaiMai

    YeuEmMaiMai [H]ardForum Junkie

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    CVT are used solely for MPG/emissions related issues, it's all about MPG and car emissions... you can thank people like CALIFORNIA and the EPA....

    Negative nowadays... CVT are more efficient and the MPG returned shows it.


    Now on to what I think

    It's a family car so what transmission that allows for me to drive without rowing gears is great. I drive a roughly 50/50 mix with a 2014 legacy with a CVT and my MIXED mileage is a solid 30mpg calculated running on winter blend fuel. In the summer, I am closer to 32mpg. This is outstanding for an AWD car with a curb weight of 3400lbs.. when I drive on slippery surfaces, I do not need to worry about controlling anything.. the car's brain takes care of it for me... If I do not want traction control, I turn it off and let the car go at it...

    It's not a sports car, it's designed to reliably and safely get me from point A to B... and it excels at that
     
  9. westrock2000

    westrock2000 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    This is not the significance of an electric motor. There are plenty of internal combustion engines that have "flat" torque (positive displacement superchargers being one).

    The advantage to the electric motor is the generally high RPM that it is capable of. I don't know what a Tesla can do exactly, but I have heard it's somewhere in the vicinity of 14-18K RPM's. Remember that RPM's are the rotations of the flywheel, so the transmission doesn't care WHY the engine spins, only that it spins.

    So yes, if you have an internal combustion engine that could do 18K RPM's and have usable torque over the entire band, then you would see 2 speed transmissions in cars that could still do 160MPH.

    The real answer is that electric motors are "good enough" for most users to simply not need a transmission. And it allows for stronger transmissions. Putting more gears in the same sized case always leads to weaker gears, and Tesla has needed all the help they could get when it comes to transmission durability.
     
  10. westrock2000

    westrock2000 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    We've had two cars now with CVT's. Outside of high performance applications, I absolutely love them. The ride is so smooth, never get the "kick" when it down shifts or anything. The RPM's are free to move up and down as needed.

    What's really cool is getting on the highway and watching the speedometer move up, but the engine speed just sits there at the same RPM.

    They are power limited, which is why I mention high performance. But for normal A to B cars, I highly recommend them.

    The CVT fluid is pricey though because all the manufacturers use their own formula and charge a grip for it.
     
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  11. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    If you have two identical vehicles, same engine same everything, but one has a CVT, and one has a regular automatic transmission.

    The CVT model will:

    1.) Have faster acceleration; AND
    2.) Get better milage

    all while being more controllable and predictable.

    Other benefits include smoother operation as there are technically no gears to switch between, you just get a completely optimized ratio based on road speed, engine speed and throttle position.

    I think people don't like them because they are used to the shifting patterns of traditional transmissions with fixed gears to choose from, but objectively, they are better than traditional transmissions in just about every way conceivable.

    What's not to love about that?

    I don't think you know what you are talking about at all.

    A toroidal CVT is not cheap.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
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  12. YeuEmMaiMai

    YeuEmMaiMai [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Subaru 1gen CVTs retail for $8K installed... hardly cheap....
     
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  13. westrock2000

    westrock2000 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Making mandatory SCCA/NASA participation would probably go a lot further in getting people to respect the machine.
     
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  14. Nanogrip

    Nanogrip Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, the death of manuals is inevitable, but what about third world countries? I bet CVT and auto-electrical everything cars won't last in some parts of Africa.. I think it is just automotive standards moving forward, just like electric power steering, CVTs, fake induction noise (sound aktor??) electric motors, etc. For me, I drive a manual R33 single turbo Skyline, heel and toe is a blast and I know it's something I'll never get in a slush box. That mechanical feeling and the whole body and senses working with a car, feet to buttocks, to the fingertips, and occasional head banging on the window sills hahaha.
     
  15. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    OVerall, that's not true. On the highway, you're in 5th gear and you're not changing gears. On most surface roads, you'll be at whatever the top speed is and you're only changing gears to break. I just switched from Standard to Auto and there's almost no difference. My right hand is always free now and before it was free 99.9% of the time.
     
  16. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Yes, and I am a prime example of that. Drove my 1969 truck today and enjoyed going through the gears. Guess you could say I am old school. :D
     
  17. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I just want a car where the noise can't be heard inside. But I'm one of those that looks at a car as a nice way to get from point a to point b (preferably in comfort with locks of cool tech stuff ;) )
     
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  18. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Well I didn't say you couldn't get worse mileage, but I mostly drive from 2000 and shift at 3000. Again, I don't buy cards for excitement. It needs to pass other cars on the highway and ideally make no noise. And since the vast majority of my miles are on the highway, I get up to 79 or 84, set cruise and steer.
     
  19. SilverSliver

    SilverSliver Beat It To Deformation

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    That's a pretty dumb idea, to be fair. Might as well say making Jesus take the wheel in emergency situations should be a mandatory safety feature.
     
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  20. nightfly

    nightfly 2[H]4U

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    I hear the same type of thing by the docs I work with when they complain that they have to pay more for premium gas.....as they drive away in their beemers and mercs. The cost of synthetic lubricants is negligible compared to every other cost of owning a vehicle (insurance alone is often >$1000 a year in many areas if you finance a car). Synthetic fluids benefit everything. I switched to synthetics in all my manuals, transfer cases and differentials, as well as using synthetic greases as well, decades ago as soon as they became available (started using Mobil 1 when it became available to us in 1976, and never turned back). Why? Better lubrication. Why buy old technology? Because it's cheap?
    Like the old commercials; you can pay for your mechanicals now by taking better care of them, or pay for them later when they fail due to lubrication failure; the choice is always up to the owner. People who want to go cheap when taking care of their cars, are either just cheapskates to begin with, or choose to buy more expensive cars than they can actually afford, and then feel they have to cut costs on other things. I've known many of each type.
    Synthetics work well over a much wider range of temperatures. And checking fluid levels is simply routine maintenance that will bite you in the ass if you don't do it, even with a manual; let it drain low, and those gears bearings will fail too.
    Watches aren't subject to the heat and pressures that automatic transmissions are, nor do they use forced fluid lubrication. Not a good analogy. The 'simple' part came from someone who rebuilds them for a living. The comparison is that in order to rebuild a manual, you have to get the gear lash exactly right, or the gears will chew themselves up and a manual will destroy itself just like a poorly built automatic would. Transmissions today are very reliable when used in the way they are designed for, and taken care of. New designs do have teething problems. The cost of repairs before warranties run out, or consumer backlash if too may fail, encourage carmakers to improve the design. Aftermarket specialists also come up with novel ways around known problems. Here's an example of evolving knowledge regarding newer transmissions:
     
  21. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Honestly, I'm way beyond that age, and I have never darned a sock and I never will. I honestly don't know anyone that has. My mother sewed a lot when I was a kid and she did knitting and other such things and darning socks never ever happened. I'd also consider knowing phone numbers, something that most don't know. I'm not sure my parents know my number and it hasn't changed in almost 20 years (it's written on the refrigerator).

    I could go on down the list, but there's probably more items that I don't need/use than I do need/use and there are several times (touch typing) that older people don't know how to do either and proper spelling is bad, but let's be honest, there are a lot between 40 and 50 on here and a shocking number think loser is spelled looser (and no, it's not a type-o, because virtually nobody uses the word looser). I'll add that most milennials that I know know how to cook.
     
  22. c3k

    c3k 2[H]4U

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    I love manuals when it is time to drive...for pleasure. The control is fantastic. When I'm schlepping around, a slushbox is fine.

    Modern automatic transmissions are getting very good. At one point in my life, 3 speeds were considered fine for them. Now we're up to 10 or more gear ratios. The DSG systems are fast. But...I still prefer driving twisty roads with a stick. (Unless I'm in traffic, or trying to drink a coffee, or...)

    The US sales numbers have always been much smaller than Europe's when it comes to manuals.

    FWIW.
     
  23. Seankay

    Seankay Limp Gawd

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    Despite the fact that many great drivers I know prefer Manual over automatic, most of the people prefer an automatic one because it is more convenient. They don't consider driving as a fun hobby or a passion. It is merely a need for them which is the reason why the manual transmission is slowly dying. However, I also believe that its death is not that easy anytime soon!
     
  24. Vader1975

    Vader1975 Gawd

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    The "battery" powered car will fail over time. This is due to the volume of rare earth materials in the batteries. We don't have the materials needed to power the planets cars on battery. Thus we will eventually end up on Hydrogen Fuel Cell. This can be created from any energy source. It does generate power like gas and the manual trans lives.
     
  25. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I'm not sure why you say that. Unless something recently changed, Rare Earth materials are not rare.
     
  26. westrock2000

    westrock2000 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I don't see the equivalency between a program that encourages maintains safe control of a vehicle under demanding situations versus an imaginary person being boxed up into every single vehicle on the road.

    Maybe you thought I was talking about NASA the space agency?
     
  27. bobzdar

    bobzdar [H]ard|Gawd

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    Look at the zf 8hp70 in the new alfa romeo (among others). Better in every single objective way, and it's not even a dct, it's a traditional torque converter auto. Shifts faster, better fuel mileage, higher performance and all reviews I've seen say the car drives better with it than the manual.

    I love manuals and have two. But I wouldn't buy a new car with one. The new autos and dcts are just too much better. 10 years ago that wasn't the case, especially for non exotics, but things have changed.
     
  28. N4CR

    N4CR 2[H]4U

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    Yes its the final refresh. The G8 GXP was built on the opel omega platform (VE Holden since mid 00s), they had it very well sorted by the end, the Gen5 camaro was based upon this, but the new platform, GM Alpha (IIRC) is shared with the Gen 6 camaro and is getting rave handling/(all round) reviews here in NZ/AU as the VF Holden. They put them next to the BMWs and similar cars at a higher cost and they often take the win... go figure. Bang for buck and a real engine, NA, no turbo bullshit, great handling, safe cars, four door, sleeper as hell and parts galore (they share parts with the camaros and most LS platform engines!).

    edit: PS if you did want one but wanted to make it look more aggressive like an HSV (different body kits) let me know as I deal with HSV (Holden Special Vehicles, like SRT etc) parts here in NZ.
     
  29. John 13

    John 13 n00b

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    We have weekly reports on the news here in Oz of people driving into store fronts, their garage, family members etc. Pretty sure they are driving autos. Hit the wrong pedal and panic. Wouldn't happen if you had a clutch in the mix.
     
  30. RPGWiZaRD

    RPGWiZaRD [H]ard|Gawd

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    Thank god manual transmission is still preferable by roughly half here in Finland and some models, even some newer models in europe are still more common with manual than automatic even if the automatic is getting more common in general.

    Personally for me it's not such a big deal, I would opt for both, so far only driven manual though. Both have pros and cons but biggest ones are "fun factor" if you're into driving that is vs "convenience" with automatic.
     
  31. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    What I meant was I wouldn't give a license to anyone to drive a manual, without taking the test on a manual.
     
  32. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    If you think of a car as just an appliance like the toaster in the kitchen, then nothing. But if you like driving and want some enjoyment out of it, then everything about cvts is despicable.
     
  33. krotch

    krotch [H]ardness Supreme

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    Nah, then you'd have the person who can't go up a hill in a manual, panics, stalls the car, and rolls backwards into something. That or they aren't paying attention to the road, cause they shifted into the wrong gear or can't get it into gear. So they're busy looking down at the stick, trying so shift, and crash into something. People will still get into stupid accidents, be it an auto or manual. They'll just into different kinds of accidents.

    You're talking like every single new auto and DCTs are better. They simply aren't. Some are better, some are horrible. Go rent a brand new base model automatic VW Golf. Bet you'll come back and tell me how horrible that automatic is.


    Me, I drive manuals. I like being able to tell me car exactly when to shift up or down. I'm not sitting there waiting for the computer to decide when it shift. I also maintain my own car. A manual transmission is a hell of a lot easier to service.
     
  34. N4CR

    N4CR 2[H]4U

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    Agreed, laptimes alone the autos are better in most cases. In traffic they are better. But for driving engagement and fun they take a big L in my books. And that's why I drive, not because I think I'm better than Schumacher around a track lol. I'll happily try though!
    Used to sequential manuals on superbikes, which are the perfect middle ground solution for purists, will eventually put one in the track car. They are all the speed of the auto, with the finesse of manual and additional clutch control when needed. They feel a little like firing a gun or other manually mechanised device 'CLU-NCK'.. love em. You can pretty much automate the manual now to do best of both with the manual control still when wanted, as some manufacturers are beginning to do.

    The other thing to take away from this all is you can still put a manual in any car on the planet if you really want to. T56 platform has adaptors for so many applications, plenty of transaxles, sequential and various combinations out there too, chuck on a good standalone ECU and you are away.

    Interesting to see you give accolades to a TC auto. Most think TC autos are old tech and dinosaurs, next to 'dual clutch' (lol) autos, without realizing they're what powers some of GMs and others fastest super cars, sportscars and muscle cars. If you want to talk about dual clutch, the modern TC autos are also multi clutch with multiple banks, operating with a very similar end result in many cases, but with the advantage of a torque converter for launching. Drop a higher stall converter in it and your auto is even quicker off the mark. Last time I was looking into the now last gen 6L80, they'd improved that in the '14 stingray vette to be extremely close to the damn R35 GTR box shift times. That's a dinosaur TC auto multi clutch system, with a dinosaur pushrod v8 that harks from the 50s and it's still more efficient! Same one that's in the Camaro, many of the RWD SUVs, Chevy SS/Holdens and G8.

    6L80 Components.png 6L80 Cutaway View.jpg 6L80 Range Chart.png
     
  35. Zurginator

    Zurginator Gawd

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    IMO DCTs with paddles are the best of both worlds. You get an incredibly capable auto for performance, for traffic, and for commuting - but then you have the option of choosing gears when you want to.

    I drove an 18-speed for years. I understand the occasional want for control over shifts, however the vast, vast majority of the time I don't want to bother with gears. But when I do, it's just a click away.
     
  36. nightfly

    nightfly 2[H]4U

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    I have another take on that
    FIFY.
     
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  37. Wierdo

    Wierdo [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don't know about how big of a deal these points are these days really, maybe in the 1950-80s it was, but allot has changed since then.

    1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 may not be that significant in modern cars, computers are taking over and are more accurate about optimizing car performance characteristics.
    4 is probably not that big of deal due to mass production narrowing the gap - if any is left by now.
    5, 7, 8 are debatable, sometimes you can call it more control, other times more things that can go wrong in a tough spot. It can be a double edged sword.

    9 I'll give you that, some people will probably enjoy that sort of thing for novelty's sake.

    I used stick shift a long time ago, but after switching to auto I can't imagine ever wanting to go back to the hassle or switching gears again. Perhaps if it was a passion rather than a commute tool I'd have a different perspective on it, and I don't really care to attach validation of masculinity to the act of fondling a stick to engage something created for the early 1900s lol.

    As it stands safety, convenience and modern day efficiency for the average driver comes first in my book but, again, as a "hobby" I can understand the draw.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  38. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I would sort of agree with you compared to a manual transmission. There is a certain pleasure in working ones way through the gears and I certainly miss mine.

    Compared to a traditional automatic transmission though? No way. a CVT is superior to a traditional Automatic in every single way, even for spirited fun driving. CVT is the Automatic transmission done right.
     
  39. krotch

    krotch [H]ardness Supreme

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    I don't see those advantages even being advantages nowadays.

    1. 7+ speed autos have higher fuel economy than 5-6 speed manuals. Back in the day of 3-4 speed automatics, this was true.
    2. I don't think the drivetrain loss is all that much higher and it actually is more beneficial to be able to rapidly change gears in a semi-automatic, than go normal manual to keep drivetrain loss down.
    3. Depends really, some manuals weight more than some automatics. My 5 speed box weighs less than the same auto tranny for my car. While my 6 speed weighs more than the auto tranny.
    4. Not with mass production. It's becoming more costly to make manuals, as more autos are being made. But...depends on cars and manufacturers.
    5. Shouldn't need to slip your clutch at low speeds expect in traffic or accelerating from a standstill. Really, it's no different than an automatic. Instead of them slipping their clutch, they're applying brakes to control speed.
    6. Semi-automatic gearboxes. You can downshift/upshift when you want. It's literally a manual transmission, except it's a computer controlled clutch. It's quicker to change gears than you would in a normal manual.
    7. Again, semi-automatic gearboxes can engine brake. Normal automatics can do the same, why they have a 3, 2, L, etc gear selection. It's clunky, but it'll do the same.
    8. Once again, semi-automatic gearboxes can do the same. Ride your 1st gear until redline or go well past it and destroy your engine.
    9. I definitely prefer a manual over an automatic/semi-automatic. I feel much more connected with my car. The manual transmission is also a hell of a lot easier to service, for those who wrench on their own cars.
     
  40. ep0x73

    ep0x73 2[H]4U

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    What I mean is some auto trans like ZF are very fussy about the level being spot on, if not it will slip and trust me I know this one well.
    You are correct, synthetic is the way to go and I use it but the point I was making was many cars especially European demanded synthetic by design back 20+ years ago and it's $$.

    Pentosin goes for around $15 qt or something and when you need 6+ qts every 25-30K it adds up.

    Meanwhile Redline MTL in a standard you might need 20 bucks worth and it's good for 60k+.

    If you live in a big city and drive across town then auto's would be nice but if you do mostly freeway driving then standards are ideal, if you like to shift of course.

    Not a fan of the manual shifting auto, neat idea but they don't seem to very durable.

    My Audi tech friend will back me up on that one and the tiptronic.