Et Tu, Ferrari?

If you’ve got even half an ear to the cacophony that is the auto news world, you probably heard a disturbing piece of information from Ferrari earlier this week. No, I’m not talking about the fact that the 458 Italia will be the newest Autobot in Transformers 3 – though that’s unsettling enough in its own right. In a back hand to all good hoons everywhere, the Prancing Horse itself said the company is giving up on on manual transmissions for good. In their stead will be a new generation of dual-clutch wonders capable of swapping cogs faster than any mortal man can. This leaves me conflicted. On the one hand, a faster gearbox means a faster car, and as anyone who’s ever abused the skinny pedal can tell you, that’s no bad thing. Dual clutch transmissions are an amazing piece of kit, too. Yes, there are a million moving parts just waiting to ruin you track day with an expensive clang, but they blend the ease of a slusher with the benefits of a manual. At least that’s what I’m told. Thing is, I’ve never really had enough time with a DCT to really get comfortable with those flappy paddles. For a long time, my biggest defense of the manual transmission was that it was faster and more efficient than its automatic counterpart, but these days, that’s just not true. GM’s six-speed auto box can crank out impressive fuel economy numbers all day long, and a solid dual-clutch transmission can make a third pedal weep for its mommy when it comes to tallying up the shift times. So why do I have this pang in my heart when I hear Ferrari’s walking away from the row-your-own option? Because when it comes right down to it, I simply want a manual gearbox. It has nothing to do with being able to clip off faster 0-60 times or saving an extra mpg per tank. I want it for the bolt-action feel, and because only 10 percent of the population knows how to drive one. Because I grew up shifting from HI to LO in a Testarossa in Sega Outrun, and because in the end, a Ferrari isn’t ever about being faster – it’s about what you want.

By |2010-08-14T05:09:23+00:00August 14th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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