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Old 28th September 2012, 13:09   #31
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Originally Posted by AdiSinghV12 View Post
Read somewhere that even the next-gen M5 and M6 won't have a manual option as they are a money loser for the brand because of the low demand globally.
F10 M5 launched finally a M/T (6 spd) but only for the US market.

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Ironically, if that is true, Skoda has had more trouble reported with DSG boxes failing than clutch wear issues
Correct , but the DSG Failure was not due to the driving style ( and how can one possibly drive an A/T wrong ? ) but more related to the malfunction of the mechatronics module & this wasnt specific to India only , but a global problem faced in overseas markets like China too.
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Old 28th September 2012, 13:36   #32
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post

What's stopping you?
Nothing is stopping me. I am doing it. The manufacturers don't bother responding or acknowledging my repeated communications. The dealers act like I'm an eccentric. the car magazines responded but only with excuses on behalf of the manufacturers. And "enthusiasts" here have just gotten upset at my "rudeness" and lack of "ethics" is saying that their arguments and choices in favor automatics reveal the truth about their "enthusiasm"
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Old 28th September 2012, 14:02   #33
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

I think the answer lies in the demography of target population in terms of the average incomes of people in relation to their age.

I think that the average age group of the 'enthusiast' who wants MT cars would be anywhere from 18 yrs going up to the late 30s perhaps. Now how many people in this age group in our country can afford premium cars costing 25 lakhs +. Out of this what is percentage of enthusiasts? I bet that would be a very small number.

Take the case of the US for example. My 30 year old sister who moved to the US about 3 years back. She has been driving a used Camry for the past three years and now wants a change as its too boring to drive. She called me to take my advice whether to go for the Audi A4 or the BMW3. According to her the BMW3 is the obvious upgrade for Indians who are in her age group and is very common in her circle.

When it is common for people in their early thirties to buy these kinds of cars, it is obvious that the demand for MT cars would be higher. Sadly that's not the case in our country.
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Old 28th September 2012, 14:34   #34
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

Its a question of demand and supply. If the demand is high, they will supply.
The demand needs to be a justifiable number. You cant have 50 odd people demanding an MT, for an otherwise AT only market.

Look at it this way- most of my driving is done within city limits. Highway runs amount to less than 10% of the total kms the car does on an yearly basis.
Now, with the ever increasing traffic in our cities, it only makes sense to go for an AT, and let that left knee survive for a few more years.

Enthusiast you ask? Yes I am an enthusiast. But more than that, Im practical .

That said, the Superb is now available as MT in the 1.8TSi engine catagory. Though, stripped down of a few bells and whistles.

Last edited by Swanand Inamdar : 28th September 2012 at 14:40. Reason: Grammar
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Old 28th September 2012, 14:45   #35
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
Nothing is stopping me. I am doing it. The manufacturers don't bother responding or acknowledging my repeated communications. The dealers act like I'm an eccentric. the car magazines responded but only with excuses on behalf of the manufacturers.
I can understand the outrage , it is really irritating in India.

Well been there done that as i interacted with top people @ Auto Expo , car launches / debuts, showrooms etc also in one to one interaction with Editor of a top car magazine & a car show hosts but no proper justification given ( Just told me the new age A/T's are faster)

Well , i was also ready to buy the EVO X at a non sense price if a M/T was on offer but though being a CBU no M/T ( should learn from the 370Z )

Also if a person buys an M/T car only then he is considered as an enthusiast is also i disagree, for an example ;

If a person buys the latest Nissan GTR ( which is only available in A/T ) does he become a non enthusiast ? Or less enthusiastic about driving ? Im afraid not

Last edited by karan561 : 28th September 2012 at 14:57.
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Old 28th September 2012, 15:27   #36
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
They feel validated in auto-only decision. there are no manual transmissions in cars like the Mini Cooper S or the E90 BMW 330i or the S4, but Indian enthusiasts have expressed no outrage, neither on forums like this one, nor in Indian car magazines, nor in letters to the editor, nor in clear statements to dealers.
You haven't read the Mini Cooper S review, have you Habir?

I've made it quite clear that even though the AT is good, the Cooper S NEEDS a manual to make it a complete package.

Honestly, I was a little uncomfortable driving the AT Cooper S. It didn't feel right. I hardly drive ATs and if there is an AT car to be driven, I generally take the passenger seat. Somehow, it doesn't give me that sense of control and I absolutely hate that.

That said, the moment we found ourselves in crawling Mumbai traffic, I could not help but praise the AT. I'd still get myself a MT Cooper S though. Traffic be damned.

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Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
I don't buy any of these arguments because in my mind, for an enthusiast driver fun-to-drive and driver involvement would matter more than any argument for buying an automatic. We don't have very many true enthusiasts.
Not arguing for the sake of argument. Just putting it out on the table. I agree with you completely though.

The new 991 type 911 GT3 is rumored to be available only with the 7-speed PDK. People buy GT3s because they are enthusiasts and they track it quite often. Some people are enthusiasts of a different kind. While you and I would love swapping cogs, there are some who are obsessed with lap-times. And the PDK beats the manual hollow when it comes to clocking the best times around a track.

In a way, modern ATs are good. It allows you to concentrate on steering the car and achieving balance on the track while the computer sorts the gears out for you. So they are good. Only if you're absolutely nuts about numbers and figures. Think about it. Generally, people who are nuts about numbers and figures are enthusiasts too and I'm sure they're driving enthusiasts if they are obsessed about getting it right on a track.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 28th September 2012 at 15:36.
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Old 28th September 2012, 15:48   #37
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Rush- there may be a different explanation for that. The Laura MT option is offered only with a detuned 110PS engine (AT comes with 140 spec). Couple that fact with how smooth and "Mt-like" the DSG box is and it's a no-brainer.
The Laura DSG only recently got the 138 BHP engine. For the better part of its Indian innings, the AT & MT both had the detuned engine. Even then, the MT was consistently outsold by the DSG.

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Originally Posted by S@ndy View Post
But can you elaborate why AT apremium cars sell faster at a higher price than MT?
Simply because more people want an AT Premium Car (than an MT).

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Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
their arguments and choices in favor automatics reveal the truth about their "enthusiasm"
Lets leave personal preferences out of the picture. While I personally love MTs, I can fully understand how an "enthusiast" enjoys "AT" gearboxes too. To each his own.

There's no set rule that enthusiasts can't love ATs. If some do, it's their choice.
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Old 28th September 2012, 15:57   #38
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Originally Posted by karan561 View Post
Also if a person buys an M/T car only then he is considered as an enthusiast is also i disagree, for an example ;

If a person buys the latest Nissan GTR ( which is only available in A/T ) does he become a non enthusiast ? Or less enthusiastic about driving ? Im afraid not
Buying a GTR certainly indicates that you have an enthusiasm for fast cars. But it doesn't tell us much of how much you are an enthusiast of good driving. THe fact is, most lamborghinis, porsches and ferraris (and BMW for that matter) customers are not driving enthusiasts. These cars are also representations of wealth, style, prestige, and they create a sense of occasion and drama that make them very desirable. But if you take a look at ferrari and lamborghini for sale ads, you find few of them are ever driven much. It is not uncommon to find a 20 year old ferrari with 15,000km on it, and $30,000 in service bills showing timing belt changes, brake replacesments, etc. These are not cars owned by enthusiasts, even if they have manual transmissions.

In another thread (F30 drive review), I got into a similar discussion where I posted this comment:

Quote:
Enthusiasm for anything makes you an enthusiast. IF you feel enthusiastic about the cars that are offered in India, you are an enthusiast of those cars.

THat however does not change the fact that there is little experience, understanding, appreciation, or HUNGER for the characteristics and compromises that make cars fun, exciting, thrilling to drive, that cause people to develop an appreciation for fine driving technique, that reward fine technique, cars that reveal an unusual level of brilliance but only to those who have got the technique to explore a car's capabilities and therefore understand them and use them well.

Now anybody who gets excited about a car and likes to own or go for a drive in it can be said to be enthusiastic and therefore an enthusiast, but that does not make him the sort of enthusiast that I am talking about.
Enthusiasts of this sort almost universally prefer 3 pedal manual transmissions. Allow me to quote some excerpts from test drives of the cars equipped with automated manuals (DCT/DSG/PDK type) by the big american enthusiast magazine Car and Driver:

Quote:

1. Re 135i DCT: "We generally prefer the driver involvement of traditional manual transmissions, especially when they’re as good as the ones offered on most BMW models. In the case of the 135i, the fitment of the DCT might close the preference gap for some"

2. Re M3 DCT. "we think it’s far easier and more satisfying to exploit the M3’s excellent dynamics with a traditional manual, which was not necessarily what we expected."

3. R8 5.2: Its not like we’re going to kick the R tronic out of bed for eating weiss*wurst. No matter which transmission is fitted to the car, the result is brilliant. We just prefer the gated manual for its tactile connection to the powertrain."

4. R8 5.2 "Our enthusiasm for the V-10 was probably helped along by the old-fashioned, honest-to-God manual transmission of our test car, a refreshing change from the computer-controlled, automated manual transmission that has become nearly omnipresent in this class of car. Guiding the shifter through the six-speed’s gates and using a clutch pedal provides direct, human control over the gearbox, making for a closer relationship with the V-10 than would paddle shifters alone. Exploiting the 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque is that much more satisfying without a layer of computer interference. "

5. Gallardo Balboni: "A Balboni is definitely more intense and, with the gated six-speed manual to manhandle, more fun than the regular Gallardo."

6. 911 GT2 RS: "Compared with Porsche’s other leading turbocharged rocket, the 530-hp, all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo S—which is fitted with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic—the GT2 RS’s six-speed manual gearbox and rear-drive layout invite a significantly higher level of driver involvement."
If in the case of a GTR or a EVO X MR or a Ferrari 458, you only have a DCT, certainly an enthusiast can put it to work and enjoy it. But is it his preference? Usually not. Something very significant is lost, which the truest enthusiast laments and is not happy to lose.

Allow me to quote a post I made on another forum about my dislike for DSGs.

Quote:
I've been critical of DCT from my limited experiences in DCT equipped cars, but I have always had in the back of mind the nagging thought that perhaps one needs a longer experience with them than I have had to switch off the part of your mind that is used to pulling and pushing on a lever, and adjust your mental processes to the DCT before you can appreciate its brilliance.

Now I have had that chance. My dad's A6 3.0T has a 7 speed DSG transmission. I have now driven the car extensively over many months and the verdict is in. DSG sucks. Its just an automatic. And no amount of snappy on-command shifts from electrical switches produces the control, feedback, and authority over the machine, and a close coupling of the driver with it.

There is simply no intuitive feedback from, and no intuitive control of, the driveline. And since gear selection affects car behavior in cornering so hugely, the loss of intimacy and interaction with the driveline negatively impacts the totality of the car's experience as an enthusiasts' driving tool.

An example from the last drive i had in the audi. There I am, barrelling at a superb second gear corner after a full throttle rush up to 150km/h. I am hard on the brakes, setting up the line. But i don't know what gear I'm in. is it 4? 5? 6? I don't know. I don't know how many times I need to flick the paddle to get to 2nd. I take a guess. I flick the paddle thrice. I trail off the brakes, and back on the throttle. I guessed wrong. I haven't down shifted enough. I'm in 3rd, I need to use more throttle, but its not enough. I'm just in the wrong gear. I stay in the throttle, rocket through the traffic signal at the empty intersection and another left hander comes up. How many upshifts were there since the last corner? 2? 3? I don't remember. how many times do I flick the paddle? I don't know.I can't tell by feel. What gear am I going to get from my guesses? I don't know. I slow down the shifts, flicking the paddle one at a time to feel for the right gear. I've found it. but now I've lost too speed trying to figure out the right gear, and I've lost my flow through the curve.

Am I having fun? No. I don't know what the hell is going on with the car. most of the time I am just guessing and second guessing driving this thing. About the only way I can get a decent drive is to put the thing in sport mode, let if shift for itself, see what effect that had, THEN follow it up with more shifts as I need or want. Which is the best the car can do, but its still a herky jerky, two step process.

I find the manual gear selection in the car a guessing game all the time. I find it inadequately competent shifting for itself. I feel DCT (in every car I have driven) disconnects me from the machine for no compensating benefit.


For me, a DCT is just a dumb automatic
Anybody is an enthusiast if they feel enthusiastic about something. But sophisticated in the craft of fine driving with an expectation of purity and competence from their machines? Those are vanishingly rare in India.

Last edited by Harbir : 28th September 2012 at 16:02.
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Old 28th September 2012, 23:57   #39
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

May be we need our tuners to take inspiration from this ;

http://www.automotiveaddicts.com/186...l-transmission

^ im sure there would have been many such builds & this gap can to be filled in India too. Once the biggies see this happening they may eventually offer M/T's

Last edited by karan561 : 29th September 2012 at 00:00.
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Old 29th September 2012, 08:00   #40
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
Allow me to quote a post I made on another forum about my dislike for DSGs.

Anybody is an enthusiast if they feel enthusiastic about something. But sophisticated in the craft of fine driving with an expectation of purity and competence from their machines? Those are vanishingly rare in India.
Quick question: doesn't DSG support a fully manual mode ?
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Old 29th September 2012, 09:31   #41
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Quick question: doesn't DSG support a fully manual mode ?
Most DSGs allow you to change gears via either paddles behind the steering-wheel or the gear-lever. It allows the driver to bounce-off the rev-limiter too. In fact, the shift-times are generally faster than a manual-'box. The problem is they don't feel as intuitive or as engaging as a manual because of the lack of a clutch-pedal.
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Old 29th September 2012, 10:00   #42
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Most DSGs allow you to change gears via either paddles behind the steering-wheel or the gear-lever. It allows the driver to bounce-off the rev-limiter too. In fact, the shift-times are generally faster than a manual-'box. The problem is they don't feel as intuitive or as engaging as a manual because of the lack of a clutch-pedal.
I was referring to the comment by @Harbir that he couldn't keep track of the car's shifts. It seemed to me like he was in a mode where along with his gear shifts the car automatically upshifted. Reading it a couple of times again I realize that my guess was wrong and it was more of a comment on intuitiveness.
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Old 29th September 2012, 10:59   #43
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

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Originally Posted by MHG View Post
I was referring to the comment by @Harbir that he couldn't keep track of the car's shifts. It seemed to me like he was in a mode where along with his gear shifts the car automatically upshifted. Reading it a couple of times again I realize that my guess was wrong and it was more of a comment on intuitiveness.
Most DSGs will automatically upshift at redline even in full manual mode, some will not.

But it doesn't make a difference to what I said. Unlike mechanically shifted transmissions, computer controlled transmissions disconnect you from the feel and vibes of the driveline. There are all sorts of physical sensations in shifting for yourself that flood your brain with information, even if you are not consciously aware of the details (the position of the shifter, the vibes in the shift lever, the extent of release of tension in the driveline when the clutch is pushed in, feel of the driveline as the clutch is being engaged, the vibes in the clutch pedal, etc. These physical inputs to your body make a mechanical bond of information input and reaction between car and machine that goes completely missing with DCTs, information that your brain interprets to know what the machine is doing. These sensations are quite varied and quite complex but quite subtle. And they fill your mind with an intuitive feel for the machine that is not present with DCTs. Go back to my previous post where I quoted excerpts from Car and Driver. You find comments about conventional 3 pedal manuals being more involving, more satisfying, more direct control, more direct, having a tactile connection and a closer relationship to the engine, more fun than computer controlled 2 pedal manuals.


Clicking electrical switches just isn't the same thing as operating the machine with your hands and feet, and feeling it flood your nervous system with information with its touch.

Last edited by Harbir : 29th September 2012 at 11:13.
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Old 29th September 2012, 11:30   #44
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

Regarding the many gears like 7 - 8 spd transmissions , it may not be required to know the gear youre in but keeping an eye on the tachometer is enough so that you are always in the meat of the powerband.
Regarding the confusion about what gear youre in, simply just take a look @ the speedo dial interface display to know the current gear, which will hardly take < 1 sec .
While the advantages of these 7-8 spd gearboxes are more than the negatives.
Also these gearboxes say like an 8 spd one have shorter ratios till 6th gear so the performance is crisp & not sacrificed at all , while the last two gears are long for increased FE.

Infact to implement the above concept ;
BMW has patented their 7 speed M/T design & who knows in the long run will introduce 7 speed M/T's too

Also Porsche if im not mistaken has a 7 spd M/T ?

Mind you , im a die hard M/T guy too , its just that the indian consumer is left with NO OPTION when it comes to buying their dream machines , well i would have gone in for the 328i if was offered in a M/T even > 10-15 % premium & im sure every BHPian would have opted for the same.

Last edited by karan561 : 29th September 2012 at 11:37.
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Old 29th September 2012, 11:59   #45
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Default Re: Why don't manufacturers bring manual transmission in their premium models?

Being in the meat of the powerband is not enough. Being in the right ratio is important. If I say that its a 2nd gear corner, then its a second gear corner, even if the engine would be in its power band in 3rd as well. Thats because the car's reaction to the throttle in the corner, and therefore its behaviour, depends on the torque at the wheels. Even if in 3rd the engine is still in its powerband, the torque at the wheels is significantly lower and the reaction of the car flubby and soft compared to 2nd (this is true in 6 and 7 speed transmissions as well)

Also, how much are you going to watch the tach instead of at the road? A tach should need the merest glance off and on. How much of your brain capacity in hard driving are you doing to devote to working out power bands and appropriate gears from visual rather than sensory information?

Obviously what you suggest is doable. the fact that many cutting edge performance cars now only come with a DCT tells you that its doable. The question is whether its an adequately rewarding way to drive for a hard core enthusiast. In my experience it is not, and the impression I have gotten from talking to others with a wide experience, it is not for them either. I am yet to see experienced people consistently and vociferously arguing for DCTs in preference to 3 pedal manuals.

We have no option because there in no demand because few of us know anything about it.

________

By the way, 7 speed manual transmissions have no rewards for the driver. Thats too many ratios for manual control and this is useful only if you have an EXTREMELY narrow power band and very poor flexibility. If you don't have that limitation, so many ratios are hard to keep a track of and increase the probability of selecting the wrong ratio because there are no clear inputs to the brain to make clear what ratio is the correct one at any instant. More ratios are good thing when they are computer controlled because that allows the car to approach the theoretical perfection of a CVT. It is especially useful for fuel economy and CO2 emissions reasons because the car can select the absolute highest ratio possible to keep engine revs as low as the speed and acceleration demand allows. This is unlike in a 5 speed where you need to rev the engine up higher than necessary in order to get to the speed that will make the next gear usable.

So the Porsche 7 speed manual is trying to go for the fuel economy advantage that the 7 and 8 speed computer controlled transmissions have become capable of. 7th is so tall that its virtually unusable except for highway cruising with minimal acceleration.

This trend towards more ratios is not something that favors the enthusiast driver. its what manufacturers are doing to meet the increasingly stringent fuel and emissions standards around the world. More ratios actually become more confusing for the enthusiast driver because it becomes harder to figure out the right ratio because more than one will be OK, but only 1 will be perfect. with the ratios so close to each other, it becomes hard to figure out which.

Last edited by Harbir : 29th September 2012 at 12:22.
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