Most sports cars and supercars transmit power to the wheels via an automatic or semi-automatic gearbox with at least six speeds. There certainly are compelling arguments for it; you get a better run off the line, the driving experience is smoother, it is far easier to meet emissions standards and the most unfortunate one of them all, no one except the true petrol heads want a manual ‘box. However, Jaguar who has always been a bit different feels otherwise and is planning to offer the F-Type with a manual gearbox.It is likely that this model will be launched in 2014.
Adrian Hallmark, global brand director said that Jaguar understood the advantages of a manual box both in terms of cost and driving pleasure and added that the company was currently researching the possibility of a six-speed manual. He also said that in the future, the XF saloon could also get a manual transmission. This is of particular interest because Jaguar went so far down the ‘automatic only’ route that it eschewed even a digital lever to select gears like BMW has chosen; instead, it has a rotary dial that is a beautiful design element (but makes it a right pain to get into neutral should you find yourself in a situation where you can’t start the car and you’ve left it in Park.)
Manual transmissions in most sports/supercars get the driver more involved with car and as mentioned earlier, also endowing the driver with the usual bragging rights of “I drive stick” and “I can heel-and-toe” . It also significantly lowers the cost of the vehicle traditionally, although if this cost benefit remains with ever-tightening emission norms remains to be seen.
Other sports car manufacturers are giving up on the manual gearbox in the face of the emission norms, with only Porsche and BMW showing any inclination for developing the stick shift. Porsche has a seven-speed concept with a dual H-gate, while the Bavarian manufacturer has been working on an eight-speed manual with magnetorheological assist.