Man­ual labour

Wheels (Australia) - - Editor's Letter -

As au­tos take over our roads, pock­ets of re­sis­tance live on for the man­ual gear­box.

The bot­tom end of the ute mar­ket, for ex­am­ple, is pop­u­lar with those look­ing to save a few bucks, pre­dom­i­nantly tradies.

Some sports cars, too, work best with a man­ual. The Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ spring to mind, as does Wheels’ cur­rent COTY champ, the Mazda MX-5. Mazda Aus­tralia boss Martin Ben­ders says the-man­ual-mx-5 – with one of the sweetest gearshifts around – is cru­cial, with it ac­count­ing for more than two-thirds of the fourth­gen­er­a­tion sports car’s sales.

The re­cently launched BMW M2 ( above) has had the high­est take-up for man­u­als of any BMW for years, with one in four own­ers choos­ing to self-shift.

“It’s to have a car there for the enthusiast­s who love driv­ing man­ual cars,” says BMW Aus­tralia prod­uct plan­ning boss Shawn Tice­hurst.

Mercedes-benz’s new SLC will sell here with a man­ual, test­ing the mar­ket with a view to im­port­ing more self-shifters.

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