Manual? Automatic? Paddle-shifted? The choice of transmission is a subject to a heated debate in any automotive discussion.
Performance driving used to be associated with a stick-shifted gearbox back when automatics were clunky, clumsy and fidgety. But technology advances at exponential rates. Automatics are now better than the average driver’s ability to operate a manual gearbox.
And paddle-shifters are now standard equipment in any racing vehicle. With modern dual-clutch transmissions shifting gears in 1 millisecond, there is simply nothing to back manuals when we talk about performance and efficiency.
If we picked our cars for their efficiency, we’d all be driving with a CVT and the monotonous drone of 2,000 RPM. But we don’t.
Driving enthusiasts are looking for a fun and engaging ride – not necessarily an easy one. We want to rev up our engines. We want a clutch pedal. We want to downshift and get a kick in the back. It’s hard work but brings a rewarding feeling you can only get with a stick.
Porsche proved there is a good market for high-end performance cars with a manual transmission when it re-introduced the GT3 with a manual option.
But for Lamborghini, that’s not the case at all. In an interview for Motor Trend, CEO Stefano Domenicali explained why you won’t see a manual transmission in Lamborghini’s current product line.
It boils down to the cost. The current generation of supercars was developed with automated, paddle-shifted transmissions – single-clutch for the Aventador and dual-clutch for the Huracan.
The Huracan is built over the Audi R8 platform, which originated from the Gallardo – both of which had a stick-shifted gearbox. But those transmissions have been out of production for so long. Updating the design to fit the Huracan and restarting the production line would require a significant investment and effort.
The Aventador, on the other hand, uses a completely unique V12 engine. It doesn’t share a single component with any other engine out there. It would require a bespoke transmission developed specifically for the Aventador with no application elsewhere.
Developing a manual gearbox for either car would cost many millions of dollars – an investment that the company can’t justify or recoup even if they charged $25,000 for the option.
So, even though there are plenty of folks who’d buy a manual Lambo, they won’t be getting a new one anytime soon.