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.