When is a manual car not a manual car? Simple answer, when there is no clutch. What about clutch-less manuals, simple answer they are a farce. Readers the sad reality is this, the only true manual has a gear stick and a clutch and no matter what a car owner says anything else is an automatic. You see automatic has two meanings depending on perspective, it either means relaxation and comfort, or it means lazy and lack of driving skill. Now the former meaning is why people buy automatic cars, and hence why many cars are auto only. Most people buy an auto cause it is easier and in city driving, no gear changes makes life very easy. And the reality is most people see driving as a chore.
But the latter meaning bothers many sporty car owners and car makers. You see if you have just sprung 50,000 for you new Golf GTi you don’t want someone laughing at you for buying an auto sports car. So car makers have tried and tried to improve autos so they are manual-like. And let’s be honest they are better. But they aren’t a manual and I for one won’t accept the illusion any more. One day I was chatting to a guy about his Golf GTi, “Did you buy the manual or auto?” I asked, “I bought the DSG.” He responds like he has some special transmission that somehow is better than an auto. It is still a frigging auto. No clutch and changes itself… that is an auto. It doesn’t matter how it does it, it is still an auto. “You see they have the wheel paddles so you can… blah, blah, blah”. It doesn’t matter that you can change it manually it is still an auto. No clutch means it is an auto.
I had a friend with an Alfa 147 which wasn’t an auto, no it was a Selespeed. This is Alfa speak for: “we feel dirty that we have to make auto cars cause we make drivers cars but this tries to replicate the manual experience”. Sadly the way it did it was when you changed it dropped revs and then changed then picked up again, so harshly I might add you move in your seat noticeably. I mean it was contrived and embarrassing, it was an auto pretending to be a manual because sadly Alfa knows no auto option in Australia means very few sales.
So to all out there, I will bear it no longer. If you tell me you car has [insert marketing hype name/acronym for auto] transmission I will now say, “Oh the auto”. An auto by any other name is still an auto. No matter how much you cover it up with techno jargon your sports car really is just an auto. Which means you aren’t really into driving.