The joy of rowing through gears manually unaided is one that continues to edge closer into being, exclusively, a thing of the past.
Iconic British marque Aston Martin had once distanced itself from the push to plonk a dual clutch or torque converter auto in every performance car, with former CEO Andy Palmer once declaring that the marque would be “the last manufacturer in the world to offer manual sports cars.”
But, the times they are a changin’, and Palmer’s replacement at the helm of A-M isn’t nearly as attached to the manual ‘box. Speaking to Australian press at a media roundtable event last week, new Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers confirmed that the brand is set to phase out manuals this year, with the V8 Vantage AMR to be the last manual Aston.
The brand had previously confirmed it would be producing a manual Vanquish in 2022, but those plans have since been scrapped.
“You have to realise sports cars have changed quite a bit,” he said.
“We did a few assessments about that car [manual] – you don’t need it anymore. And you have to maintain it with the new regulations, year-by-year with the emissions because it’s a bespoke powertrain. It makes no sense.”
Moers moved into the Aston role off the back of being CEO of Mercedes-AMG. The three pointed star announced the end of the line for its manual transmissions in 2020, a year after Audi did the same thing.
Moers noted that automatic transmissions are the overwhelming preference among the luxury brand’s customers. This is common amongst the majority of sports car and supercar firms around the world.
The news means the list of those who will sell enthusiast-based cars with a stick is down to just a handful. BMW still offers some of its M products with a manual, most notably the M3 and M4 (although neither are offered in New Zealand).
Honda, meanwhile, still exclusively sells the Civic Type R with a manual. The Suzuki Swift Sport, Ford Fiesta ST, Renault Megane RS, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Toyota GR Yaris, Hyundai i20 N, and i30 N can be had with a manual. As can the Mazda MX-5, Ford Mustang GT, and Porsche 911.