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Why the desire for manual?

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Old 03-18-2014, 09:45 AM   #1
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Default Why the desire for manual?

I am Mr manual transmission. Had an Accord manual, RX-7 Turbo manual, Mercedes SLK manual, Subaru STi manual, etc. etc.

But even I know that those days are over. The dual-clutch autos are faster shifting, get better fuel economy, do 0-60 faster, and you can keep both hands on the wheel.

So while I would always get a manual over a conventional automatic, I would always get a dual clutch auto with paddle shifters if one is available.

I am looking into an S4 or a Cayman S, and I keep on reading journalists drop how they prefer the manual. I am pretty sure they are are all 50+ years old, set in their ways, and want to convey the image that they are cool because they use a manual - which is lame to me as of course we can all run a manual - no need to prove it. I cannot think of any real reason why they would want to slow down the car for the pleasure of having to push in a clutch pedal which sucks in heavy traffic.

But maybe I am missing something. Is it worth slowing down the car for the "pleasure" of clutching over the possibly lower amount of pleasure of paddle shifting?
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:02 PM   #2
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u serious?

Auto = boring, pretty much the end of story. Even worse is the fact that the DSG auto shifts to the next gear, not even letting you have full control over your gear changes. I'll pass.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:09 PM   #3
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u serious?

Auto = boring, pretty much the end of story. Even worse is the fact that the DSG auto shifts to the next gear, not even letting you have full control over your gear changes. I'll pass.
Shifting is entertaining but I am not sure that is worth slowing down the car for.

So if you are approaching redline and about to shift the car will shift for you?

My Ford Focus DCT will do this but only if you do something incorrectly and about to damage the engine. I have never triggered that situation. I assume the Audi is the same?
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:52 PM   #4
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I am sooo with you rsilvers. I read -- with healthy doubt -- all the stories about the CVT transmissions and how much better they were ASSUMING you were looking for performance and improved efficiency.

Then I drove one (OK, more than one).

The CVT may be **** -- for someone -- but, KMN if I would have to drive my Audi saddled with such a transmission.

Then I drove the 5-speed Audi automatic transmission (tip) -- it was actually better (from the way it felt) standpoint than the CVT, but I still went back to the 6-speed manual.

Until I could no longer get one in the Audi I, at the time, wanted.

Then the software in the tiptronics improved and I said I could live with the 6-speed tiptronic.

15 seconds later, the 8-speed tips came out and also a few notable 7-speeds hit the market. I liked both of these choices, but still -- the 6-speed stick had my number -- unfortunately, there were no cars that I wanted that I could buy with a stick. After my wife's third and final TT and my ordered allroad (both within the last 10 years) both equipped with sticks, we have moved on, never to look back, even though we would, from time-to-time bitch and moan about how the autos were really quite good, but still couldn't fool anyone. . . .

Then, I saw god . . . it was in my 2014 S4 S-Tronic.

The song, "I can do anything better than you . . ." springs to mind every time I get in my S4 and pull the shift lever back and into "S" mode.

Good as the manuals are -- the S-Tronic simply "picks more corn" than a horse drawn [er, manual shift] combine.

With the S-Tronic, you get both effectivity and efficiency. Let me make certain you understand that by effectivity I mean performance (and fun factor).

If I need to take control, well, the paddle shifters are -- with the S-Tronic at least -- faster and more reliable than even the best of us ever were with one hand on the wheel and three feet (well, sorta) on the three pedals under the dash.

And, if you are a believer in the efficacy of left-foot braking, well, that too is possible with the S-Tronic.

Not so much with the stick.

On the other hand, I loved (well, I guess I still do) shifting all my manual shift cars (especially my 1996 S6).

But, I would argue, if the joy of driving is what you're about, the current S4 version of the 7-speed DSG (S-Tronic in Audi speak) does indeed impart that certain je ne sais quoi missing from EVERY other transmission on the market today.

BTW, I'm 60 and have had -- perhaps. . .maybe. . .could be -- more manual transmission cars than a significant majority of folks who already have or will ever post here on Audiworld.

Le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi! Where Roi is the manual transmission and the S-Tronic transmission (in that order).

Last edited by markcincinnati; 03-18-2014 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:02 PM   #5
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I had to special order my Mercedes with a manual and waited nine weeks. But the auto was slower back then. Now the auto is faster. I do enjoy shifting most of the time but not all of time (in traffic).
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:02 PM   #6
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I'll beg to differ -- it is likely YOU will BE PASSED (by the S-Tronic equipped model).

But, I'll grant there is still a bit of nostalgia in getting up and walking over to the ol' Zenith and changing the channels by hand.

And who doesn't love a bit of nostalgia.

Let it go, let it go -- win the war: Winning this battle just isn't worth the loss of your men.

Assuming you are right, that autos -- even of this caliber -- are boring, don't deprive yourself of some mighty fine cars just because they no longer come equipped (or optioned) with a stick shift
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:09 PM   #7
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I don't care how fast the car can shift for me, I would still rather do it myself
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:13 PM   #8
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The Audi -- either with or without a stick transmission -- will not permit the engine to damage itself. The auto up-shifts, the manual [engine's computer] just cuts the engine to prevent over revving.

For most of us, getting "this close" to the red line is something that simply never comes up.

I mean, unless you think beating the bejeezus out of your $50K to $60K+ S4 is something you "choose to afford," why in the wide wide world of sports would you ever want to live THAT close to the red line?

If the stock S4 doesn't provide the level of performance you need, well you can "up tune" the thing or, if you've got the scratch (and the stones) go ahead and upgrade to an RS 5 or an S6 or RS7 for pity's sake.

It really pisses me off that in my home town of Cincinnati, I rarely have the need for much more than a relatively small fraction of the performance the S4 delivers right out of the box.

And the same goes for my wife's new SQ5 (with her "wanna be" DSG transmission -- so good it almost fools you into thinking it is a real DSG, even though it is just a very cleverly tuned 8-speed tiptronic.

Signed,

A formerly-biased-in-favor-of-manual-transmissions-Audi-lover.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:25 PM   #9
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I claim that if the auto shifts for you in manual mode, then you failed as a driver. I don't think it will over ride a skilled driver.

Someone claimed the Ford was bad because it will override you, but I tested it and it didn't override me unless I went into the redline.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:42 PM   #10
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The DSG (and all dual clutch transmissions) are only slightly faster than their manual counterparts...only if you use the car's launch control feature. That takes pre-planning to activate that feature. Those of us in a manual can decide at the very last second to go all out in our cars and get the maximum acceleration (assume you drive a manual properly).

As for gas mileage, that may be true on the EPA circuit, but in real world driving, I have found that a manual almost always out performs an auto or dual clutch transmission car. I have found this from personal experience. Same cars, different transmission...generally about 2 mpg better on the manual trans car.

Add to that the extra cost of the DSG...upfront and in maintenance and complexity.

It isn't quite as cut and dry as many of you are making it sound.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:55 PM   #11
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Every shift is faster as there is no torque drop from pushing in the cutch as the dual clutch already has the next gear in place and just switches over.

Agreed there is a cost and complexity difference. The is also true of the sports differential. And that even adds 50 lbs.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsilvers129 View Post
Every shift is faster as there is no torque drop from pushing in the cutch as the dual clutch already has the next gear in place and just switches over.

Agreed there is a cost and complexity difference. The is also true of the sports differential. And that even adds 50 lbs.
That doesn't explain why the fastest car magazine tested DSG S4 (using launch control) is only 1/10th or 2/10ths of a second faster to 60 than a 6-speed S4. If you don't use launch control, the DSG S4 would inevitably be slower to 60 than a properly driven 6-speed manual. Launch control is the reason all of these dual clutch cars are able to slightly outrun their manual clutch counterparts.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:56 PM   #13
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Well, each car is individual.

A DSG can't not be faster as it has two clutches.

The better the driver is, the closer the manual can get to it.
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Old 03-18-2014, 05:16 PM   #14
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Launch control is the reason they can hang with a manual car. The reason automatics are usually slower than manuals is because they don't allow the redline clutch drop that a manual does.

Launch control with the S-tronic holds the RPMs at a pre-determined place, then engage the clutch for you, very quickly.

I haven't driven a manual S4 for a few years, but I don't recall them allowing you to redline the engine with the clutch down either...
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Old 03-18-2014, 05:20 PM   #15
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The manual will allow a hamfisted driver to downshift the engine to pieces though, where the S-tronic won't.. =)
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Old 03-18-2014, 05:22 PM   #16
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The S-tronic will shift up (in all but the RS cars) for you, but only at max revs. This isn't a bad thing. In a manual car, you'll just end up hitting the revlimiter, then slowing down as you try to shift a car that's fighting itself internally.
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:02 PM   #17
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I was one of the "save the manual" guys with all previous cars being manual. Crazily enough the first DSG car I ever drove was a 458 in one of the exotic experiences in Vegas. Following that we switched from a '10 manual S4 to a '14 DSG S4, and can't ever imagine going back. Shifting without a clutch did take a little getting used to, however now it's second nature and the DSG provides the best of both worlds. While it is video game like, I don't find anything wrong with that.
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:53 PM   #18
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When I was younger I was a die hard manual guy but after I moved to a hilly urban area with lots of traffic, I quickly tired of the constant shifting and hill starts and stop and go traffic etc. Eventually it became more burdensome than it was worth in entertainment value.

Then I bought my A4 with Tiptronic which I hoped to be the best of both worlds. It wasn't, but it did do the job just fine, and I could still use manual mode when I wanted to. Sure it was slow, but still fast enough that I'd at least need to try to beat it. Comfort went way up. I kept my eyes on new advances like CVT's and DSGs waiting for one of them to get good enough. Eventually it did with the current S4.

I originally shopped the TTRS, but the manual only version was a real turn off. That's a car that requires you to be on your A game every moment or it'll murder you. It seemed that the DSG was the only real option, not to mention a heck of a lot faster but it wasn't available. Regardless I shopped it anyway but ultimately decided that it was too impractical. I was crushed until my wife turned to the next car and said "How about this S4?"

Yea how about that S4?

I love it. The DSG is awesome 95% of the time. Yea it can't skip gears very quickly but as a daily driver I toggle between D and S frequently, and still can use M/Dynamic mode to twist my face into funny shapes through curves so sharp that I really don't want to take one hand off the wheel to shift anyway. Especially when all the blood drains to one side of my brain and the other side goes momentarily retarded.

So whats the final answer? Drive both, buy the one you like. Don't give a crap what anybody else thinks.
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:45 PM   #19
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Driver preference is subjective, some of us enjoy the interaction while others have commutes in heavy traffic thus it's understandable that manual transmissioned car would be inconvenient. However, I hope Audi and other manufacturers of "performance" vehicles still allow the option for a traditional manual transmission. I'll pay for the option if it comes to that but give us the option to choose!
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:53 AM   #20
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only if you use the car's launch control feature. That takes pre-planning to activate that feature. Those of us in a manual can decide at the very last second to go all out in our cars and get the maximum acceleration (assume you drive a manual properly)
This is not at all accurate on the current S4's... The LC that Audi provides has been proven weak and ineffective and the GIAC one hasn't improved 60ft times either... I currently have the fastest documented 60ft time(1.622) and my 2010 doesn't even have LC... Unless you can show me a faster 60ft time please don't spread false and unproven statements...

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That doesn't explain why the fastest car magazine tested DSG S4 (using launch control) is only 1/10th or 2/10ths of a second faster to 60 than a 6-speed S4. If you don't use launch control, the DSG S4 would inevitably be slower to 60 than a properly driven 6-speed manual. Launch control is the reason all of these dual clutch cars are able to slightly outrun their manual clutch counterparts.
I prefer my own and others testing over magazines who are paid by car manufacturers but that's just me... Again, a non-LC DSG S4 has proven time and again to be quicker than a LC S4... Do some research please...

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Launch control is the reason they can hang with a manual car. The reason automatics are usually slower than manuals is because they don't allow the redline clutch drop that a manual does.

Launch control with the S-tronic holds the RPMs at a pre-determined place, then engage the clutch for you, very quickly.

I haven't driven a manual S4 for a few years, but I don't recall them allowing you to redline the engine with the clutch down either...
See above on the DSG... In regards to the 6-speed you can rev them but the clutch won't hold especially when tuned... I've found my TTRS launches the best around 5-5.5K with a swift clutch dump... I cut 1.67ish 60 with that approach...
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