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?
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 02:56 PM.
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).
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.
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.
2011 S4 Brilliant Red, Red/Blk leather, 6MT, Sport Diff, Navi, 19" wheels, Carbon Inlays, supercharged badging, 3M clear bra, 35% tint, 18" tires/rims for winter, etc.