I've addressed this topic before, including one post with an equally cheesy name, as well as the saga of purchasing my R32. But my dad recently sent me a link to an article that seems to be a harbinger death for true manual transmissions.
Road & Track explains that the new Ferrari 458 Italia will only offer one gearbox, Ferrari's new 7-speed dual-clutch setup. Apparently only one percent of F430s were sold with sticks, and elsewhere in the world of true sports cars, manuals are going away. Godzilla, the Nissan GT-R, is not available with a manual, nor will be the next McLaren.
The following was from my original post on the subject:
Am I like those who rejected the fancy new water-cooled engines? Or those who proclaimed that airbags would never be a legitimate auto technology? Was I penning myself in with the automotive nay-sayers who refused to make way for new advances? If Mitsubishi had decided that the new SST was good enough for their most discriminating enthusiasts--hey, it's good enough for F1 drivers--then maybe VW was in the right. Maybe I would get used to shifting without a clutch.
Well, the fact is, I'd still prefer a real stick-shift. There's nothing quite like the delicate dance between a man and a machine, wherein you discover the unique character and limits of a vehicle through working a shift lever, a clutch, and a gas pedal. It's truly makes daily driving more fun.
But on the track, I actually prefer the paddles. The DSG offers quicker responses, and allows you to keep both hands on the wheel, while still controlling the rev range perfectly.
I may never be completely happy with having a paddle shifter. But it seems increasingly likely that I one day will. And ironically, my dad, who only within the past decade returned to a stick as his daily driver (my old car, actually), will be a lot slower to accept this new trend.
Of course, computers and I came of age around the same time, which certainly has something to do with this. But when it comes down to it, I just don't wanna be a stubborn old fart.