Experts told why the days of a manual gearbox are numbered

When Mercedes-Benz announced in the spring that it would be phasing out the manual transmission from 2023, one camp of motorists felt relieved, while the other became sad.

Because while many find manipulating gears and clutches difficult or at least uncomfortable, for some it is the epitome of sporty driving.

But as loud as the discussion between machine gun enthusiasts and fans of “handle” cars is, since the advent of the dual-clutch transmission and its triumphant distribution in compact cars, the mechanics have become hopelessly outdated.

A dual clutch transmission is an automated manual transmission that can shift very quickly, either by itself or by pressing a rocker switch or lever. Since it does not require a clutch pedal, many consider the robot to be an automatic without going into details.

False judgments

Until now, it is believed that a manual gearbox is not only a sportier (in terms of shifting speed), but also a more economical solution to reduce fuel consumption.

“This judgment is no longer valid, automatic transmissions have overtaken manual gearboxes in terms of efficiency,” says Peter Kerkrath of the expert organization KÜS. Especially dual clutch gearboxes – they shift faster than any racer.

In addition, the days are gone when the difference in fuel consumption was one or two liters when comparing versions with mechanics and a classic automatic.

That’s why, aside from the marketing promise of alleged sportsmanship, the only selling point left was price, says Kerkrath. This is due to the fact that mechanical boxes are less complicated to manufacture and therefore cheaper. Therefore, on average, cars with mechanics are slightly cheaper.

But with mass production this advantage disappears. In addition, because manufacturers have to test and homologate every single model variant, which is a huge expense, they are trying to reduce diversity in the lineup, said Britta Seegers, head of sales at Mercedes-Benz.

Not only money, but also a place

By completely eliminating manual gearboxes, manufacturers not only save money, but also space in the cabin, which in turn benefits customers. At the bottom of the center console, where once clunky gear levers had to be placed, more and more often only a compact “twist” is mounted, and next to it is often placed a cup holder, wireless smartphone charging pad or storage niche.

Mercedes is not alone in its statement. According to a report in the German newspaper Automobilwoche, VW also wants to get rid of the manual gearbox by 2024.

A picture: Depositphotos

Source: Z R


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