Racing car aficionados ...
==> Racing car aficionados will probably send me hate mail for this, but my experience has been that there is only one case, in normal driving, where a good automatic transmission is inferior to a manual transmission.
When the engine is running??? I wondered too.
I have a very good (Lexus) automatic transmission in my car and the only thing I can think of doing handbrake-turns or handbrake-parking.
Steve Jones (UK)
As an aside, I drive a stick and the only time I don't like it is in stop and go traffic.
Engine Braking, of course.
A manual transmission gives you better control of the engine in general. A/B comparisons on race tracks have shown that a good driver can get better times with a manual. Automatic transmissions are always realtime so to speak, where as a driver can see the road ahead and prepare.
Funny, I've always found automatics faintly unnerving.
a cynic writes...
I live in Minnesota and feel much safer and more in-control with a manual when driving on ice or in snow.
You can't push start an auto.
You'd think the UK would be crazy for automatics, because who wants to keep shifting and wearing out their shin bone sitting on a stiff clutch in all that traffic?
Automatics are better when dealing with boats on trailers. When putting in and taking out at the landing you don't want to be modulating a clutch with that much weight back there as you fine-tune the position of the trailer.
Ah but outside of rush hour (and the consequent traffic jams), our roads are narrower, with more bends and higher speed limits. Plus - most of us learnt on a manual.
a cynic writes...
Plus manuals are more fuel efficient. And I see some of you Americans have been complaining about rising fuel prices - in the UK, they're already some 60-70% higher!
James 'Smiler' Farrer
Throwing a car with auto trans into a hard downhill corner means letting off gas and braking hard into the turn.
Sassy - they might be racing techniques but I use the last one most days coming off Sadler's Farm Roundabout* on my way to work every morning.
a cynic writes...
"Plus manuals are more fuel efficient..."
The shiftable automatic transmissions are becoming more and more common. They are standard in all the high end cars in the US, and some of the lower-end cars, like Subaru are starting to put them in. I believe a lot of F1 racing cars use them too. With a shiftable automatic you can do pretty much anything you can with manual, except for the push start. Before poeple complain about lag with shiftable automatics, go chech out BMW's SSG or SSG2 inspired - from what I've read it better than manual.
heheh, I'm with you cynic. I take runs up the hills whenever I can.
All F1 cars use shiftable autos now. But f1 cars don;t have starters or reverse, so what's that saying.
Back when I owned a car :-) I found a manual gearbox made it much easier to "rock" it (i.e. shift rapidly between 1st and reverse) when attempting to free oneself from snow (or mud or gravel) ... the latency of shifts made it a lot tougher to do with an automatic.
- former car owner in Queens
Give me a Hewland box anyday.
Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
F1 cars are not shiftable autos. They are manual transmissions with a computer controlled automatic clutch. It's the same technology as any old manual except when you hit the paddle to shift, the computer declutches, matches RPM, shifts, and reclutches. For very high end cars, this is starting to appear as as an computer controlled automatic.
(As an occasional weekend racer...)
I think automatics are inferior when you're intensely interested in the experience of driving for its own sake.
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