There was a time, believe it or not, when any sports car worth its salt was sold exclusively with a manual transmission, or in some rare cases, with a crappy automatic for profiling purposes. Unfortunately, those days — aka any time before 2000 — are long gone, and even stalwart supporters of three-pedal driving are giving it up.
The latest of these is Aston Martin, according to a report Monday by Australian website CarSales, which is funny (and sad) because it wasn’t all that long ago that it proudly proclaimed that it would be the last sports car company on Earth to .
Why would it suddenly change its tune? Well, the change in leadership is a huge part of things. Former Aston boss Andy Palmer viewed the manual transmission as a feather in its cap as other brands of exotics like Ferrari and Lamborghini have long since ceased to offer any models with manuals. Current CEO Tobias Moers (best known as the former head of AMG) sees things differently.
“We did a few assessments about that car [manual] – you don’t need it anymore,” Moers said during a recent media round table. “And you have to maintain it with the new regulations, year by year with the emissions because it’s a bespoke powertrain. It makes no sense.”
This makes a lot of sense given, but it’s still more than a little sad. While automatics and dual-clutch transmissions offer substantial performance benefits, there is a lot to be said for the engagement that using a manual transmission and clutch pedal offers.