FREE KITTENS!!! Glad, I have your attention. Now; lets start with my rant.
I went to visit my extended family in London, Ontario the other weekend. Most of the cousins were all together which is a rare occurrence because we all have families, jobs, wives, “responsibilities”, parole, etc. Our visits together usually go like this. Everyone goes inside and greets one another and then the guys go outside and drink beer on the driveway and discuss who is driving what. This is a time tested routine as my extended family are all car nuts and very passionate about there car-nut-feelings.
One of my cousins, we will call him “the sensible one” is an accountant.He just bought a brand new Honda Accord sedan with leather, navigation and…. wait for it… a manual transmission. “Only real cars have a clutch, blah, blah, blah. Let’s step aside from the fact that my cousin is effectively driving a unicorn (family sedan, manual transmission, with options). Let’s address the issue at hand. Does driving a paddle shift car make you less of a car nut or immediately reject you as a car enthusiast? Dead stop the answer is NO! Let’s start by examining some basic facts.
That was easy… what do I do for the next 300 words… FREE KITTENS!!!…what? You want me to explain further? Fine.
This is the deal: when paddle shifters first started making their way onto performance cars back in the early 2000’s (think Porsche’s Tiptronic). In those days they shifted in the amount of time that it took a sloth to do long division and they had the telepathic powers of drywall. My cousin is convinced that all automated manual shifters are like this. This is akin to thinking that all computers come with Windows 95, Toasters are a new technology or that having a colour TV will damage your eyes…
The fact is that today’s automated manuals, can be found in a range of vehicles from economy cars to super cars and from 5,000lb SUV’s to 1,600 pound bantam weight track day racers. These things shift FAST! How fast? Milliseconds. Say the word, go on say milliseconds… in the time it took you to say milliseconds the Nissan GTR, 911, M3, S7, etc… popped of 4 shifts and made you look like a driving legend. Let’s see your flimsy brain and reflexes handle that? Let’s see your brain anticipate your shifting before you even think about it like the new Audi’s and BMW’s. You want to constantly shift for optimal fuel economy? Let’s see you do better than the Ford Focus does with their dual clutch in the Focus.
I made those points to my cousin who quipped with “yeah but it takes away from the driver involvement blah, blah, blah” ahh! The real debate emerges. 3 pedals gives you more driver involvement and a more “pure” driving experience. I get that, I really do. Driving a traditional car with a manual transmission is so much more involving and ultimately makes you feel like you rule the machine and not just a vessel traveling in the machine. 5 years ago I would have agreed but on today’s cars they are almost made to be run by the computers running everything else, one more job (shifting) won’t upset the union rep too much, will it? Numbers are a stubborn thing. Look at 0-60 times of new cars in manual and automated manual, the manual transmission cars are actually slower and get worse fuel economy. Try telling that to my cousin who loves to row his own gears.
Moral of the story: don’t get in an argument with your cousin without bringing a cool car for him to experiment with (his words).
*no kittens were harmed in the making of this blog post.