At their core, supercars are the ultimate representation of progress. The supercar segment, now more than ever, cannot allow anything that smells like stagnation. Automakers are working around the clock to bring new performance levels to this space; from advanced hybrid engines to the use of next-level exotic and rare materials, supercars represent the very best of performance and thrill in the car market.
And as carmakers keep breaking new grounds, the space between manual gearboxes and automatic transmissions keeps widening. The time when drivers lusted over manual transmission supercars becomes history every new dawning day. Now, many of the best performing supercars are fitted with either swift-shifting DCT or the traditional automatic transmissions. Since the Bugatti Veyron hit the roads with a DCT, many other mainstream supercars have followed right behind. This is a compilation of some of the final shift-it-yourself supercars. Their demand is relatively high because they’re so rare and represent the end of an era.
2009 Ferrari F430
Ferrari designed the F430 as the successor of the Ferrari 360. Sold between 2004 and 2009, the F430 featured a 4.3-liter F136 E V8 engine and six-speed manual transmission. The F430 is one of the most important cars in Ferrari’s history, as it was the final vehicle to roll out of the company’s factories with a manual transmission.
Through its model years, few examples were sold every year, and it was subsequently replaced by the 458 Italia, which famously removed both the manual gearbox and the F1-style single clutches. The Italia was instead fitted with the DCT as the only transmission option.
2014 Lamborghini Gallardo
The 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo is one of the greatest cars available with a manual transmission; unfortunately, it was the last Lamborghini to feature the stick shift. Powered by a fierce 5.0-liter V10 engine, the Gallardo was built for drivers who wanted to be seen and heard.
The car was replaced by the dual-clutch-only Huracán that arrived in 2015. And like the Ferrari F430, only a few models of the Gallardo came with the manual shifter, including the track-only LP570-4 Performante.
2015 Audi R8
The famous R8 holds court as the only supercar ever produced by Audi. The car eschews a strong Lamborghini DNA and shares much of its underpinnings with either the Gallardo or the Huracán, depending on the model. The first-generation R8 that exited the market in 2015 was the last R8 model to feature the sleek gated manual transmission.
It is a lavish luxury supercar equipped with some of the best equipment in the modern auto market. It is robust and swift, and despite its exotic appearance, this mid-engine supercar is highly refined. Its head-turning beauty and comfortably welcoming seats mean no one wants to stop driving.
2006 Porsche Carrera GT
The last Porsche Carrera GT rolled out of the factory in May 2006. And it was not just the last Carrera GT; it was the final Porsche supercar to feature the manual gearbox. Launched in 2003 for the 2004 model year, this supercar featured a massive 5.7-liter engine that cranked out 605 horsepower, enough to send it from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds.
Initially intended as a homologation version of a failed Le Mans racer, the Carrera GT was a worthy road-going supercar that came with a manual transmission as the only option. And to make the GT as memorable as possible, the six-speed gear shifter was operated via an exquisite wood knob.
1998 McLaren F1
Unlike all other supercars, and of course Gordon Murray’s latest baby, the GMA T.50, the McLaren F1 is designed with a central driving position. Passengers sit on either side, slightly behind the driver. The F1 is powered by a potent 6.1-liter V12 engine paired with a manual gearbox to produce 627 horsepower.
Following McLaren’s road car brand relaunch in 2011, all supercars produced afterward have a dual-clutch transmission. The only way to drive a Production McLaren with a stick shift is to spend eight figures on one of the 106 units of the F1 ever built.
2012 Ferrari 599 GTB
The Ferrari 599 GTB presents the best way to enjoy long-distance touring with supercar performance – a true GT that comes with a front-mounted 6.0-liter V12 with 620 horsepower. The 599 GTB comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, and it is also offered with Ferrari’s six-speed sequential manual gearbox with paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
Throughout its production run, only 30 units of the 599 GTB were ordered with the manual transmission. And being a V12-powered supercar, it is pretty sought-after in the collectible market. The precious few that finally enter the market exchange hands at extremely high prices.
2010 Lamborghini Murcielago
The Lamborghini Murcielago is among the best and most adored supercars of all time. Despite its age, the car still turns heads wherever it goes. And unlike many other supercars, the Murcielago is relatively easy to live with as a daily car and not daunting to drive.
The high-performance exotic supercar is offered with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. However, there is an available e-gear auto-shifting manual with paddles mounted on the steering column. This shifter allows for split-second gear shifting. It is estimated that less than 50 units of the Lamborghini Murcielago were ever built with a clutch pedal. And while they’re still affordable, their value is expected to skyrocket as their collectible status continues to build.
2012 Porsche 997.2 911 Turbo
The 911 Turbo is not necessarily the most dramatic supercar on this list. Even so, the car has been for a long time considered the most easy-to-live-with supercar. It is a usable sports car that won’t cost an arm and leg to maintain.
For many years, Porsche offered the 911 Turbo with a stick shift, but like other automakers, the advent of the dual-clutch did away with all manual gearbox 911 Turbos for good after the 997.2 generation.
2012 Ferrari California
The first-generation Ferrari California sold between 2009 and 2014 was the first Ferrari fitted with a dual-clutch transmission and the final one to feature a manual transmission. The car brought 65 years of the Ferrari sleek gated shifter to its ultimate end.
The emphasis is on the 2010 to 2012 model because the hard-top convertible launched in 2009 flopped terribly. It came with a dual-clutch in 2009, added a six-speed manual in 2020, and dropped off the market after the 2012 model. The car failed so severely that only two units were sold in these three model years. Even then, these convertibles have become so much sought-after to the extent that one sold for $444,000 at auction in 2016.
With car companies continuing to move away from manual transmissions, it’s only a matter of time before it dies out. Here why it shouldn’t.
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