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Discussion Starter #1
I don't understand why it's getting more and more difficult to find cars with a manual transmission.

I know a good automatic is faster then a manual but I just love driving a manual.

All of our cars are manual even the wife's X3 which is how we like it. I don't know what it is about rowing through the gears but I really do enjoy it.

It took me a while to find my 05 350 in a 6 speed with all of the options that I wanted.
And I don't think the newer ones are even offered in a manual.

Maybe I'm just getting old :biglaugh:
 

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aka John
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Seems to be location specific to a certain extent - manuals are still pretty popular in Europe, and sure seem to be a dying breed in the US..
 

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It took me a solid 3-4 months of working closely with my dealership to find a used 350 with a manual that had the other options I wanted (for some reason a lot of the manuals had no Airscarf, which I consider crazy in our climate). That said, there were quite a few that showed up in inventories throughout the city during that time, though still without a doubt were far outnumbered by the autos.

It would appear that Canadians buy (percentage-wise anyways) a lot more manuals than do Americans. I guess we get rewarded for that too, as we can still spec a new '09 350 with a manual box.
 

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Sadly Woolly has passed away
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Its a dying breed in the U.S, Middle east as well.

In Europe its common to find 95% of the cars to be manual.
Mo, I'd disagree with that - I've got a 350 6spMT - Very rare in the UK. When I bought mine, there was a waiting list, you specced exactly what you wanted, and the car was built to order.
 

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Manuals are definately rare in NZ too. All my car's have been manual, the SLK is my first auto. I think it is pretty much impossible to find a manual one! I didn't find one!
Considering the manual is cheaper to purchase than the auto from new, but I guess if your paying $120,000 for a car, an extra $5k is not going to make much difference!
 

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Premium 2006 SLK55 AMG (Kleemann K2)
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Mo, I'd disagree with that - I've got a 350 6spMT - Very rare in the UK. When I bought mine, there was a waiting list, you specced exactly what you wanted, and the car was built to order.
The only people who I know with manual gear box cars are some friends of mine, one with a BMW Z4 M roadster which only comes in manual, a 2006 V8 Vantage which was only available at that time with a manual and another friend with a 997 GT2. Other cars like Porsche Turbo's, F430's and sports cars are all F1 over here, if I'd want to get a manual car the dealership will most surely take a higher deposit when I would want to submit the order.
 

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Don - Founding Member #4
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:confused:I agree, it's discouraging. Manual is both my wife's and my choice. Back in late 2005, I started looking at SLKs. I happen to stop by the local dealer and they had a used 2005 Launch Edition SLK in the show room. It was a six speed which peaked my interest. It had basic options other than heated seats and AirScarf which was a big plus. The price seemed reasonable. I mentioned it to my wife and she was interested. We went and looked at it together, drove it, and negoiated. We offered a price which wasn't accepted. With it being a early 2005, I was glad we didn't get it. I started checking eBay. I found my wife's used 2006 SLK 350, six speed, out of state. We didn't get several options we wanted, but overall the car was too good to pass on. Three years later, we're still pleased. Two years later, I wanted a SLK 55. Based on all the pluses, I was willing to live with the auto only option. I'm happy with both cars. But I would like the option of choosing a transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It is sad that it's not even an option I wouldn't mind paying more since they're not as popular but don't stop making them especially on the higher end models.

I could see the AMG in my future but I don't want to give up the stick.
I did it once and regretted every minute of it
It seems like more and more auto manufactures are going that way of the automatic as the only option and that really scares me.

In searching for my slk I actually had a dealer tell me that mercedes doesn't make a good manual which is why they're hard to find and that I should just go with one of the automatics that they have on the lot.

I like the SLK 6speed it feels nice even without modification.
The E46 M3 I had felt sloppy/rubbery until I put on the short shift kit but that's not the case with my SLK.
 

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I don't understand why it's getting more and more difficult to find cars with a manual transmission.
Economics 101, I suppose. The dealers don't want to have cars sitting on their lots, because they come with a combination of options that is not in high demand. I suppose the manufacturers have some leverage to force a certain percentage of these cars into a dealer's allocation, but there are limits to that. Some manufacturers make more of an effort to push for manuals, because it is in their brand marketing interest to foster the perception of offering "drivers cars" (e.g. Porsche and BMW), but sadly, MB is not among those.
 

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Right. I can call my local MB dealer on the phone any time, and order almost any MB car through this dealer with no deposit. The GM of this dealership says, "if you don't buy it, I'll sell it to somebody else." But I said "almost" because an SLK 300 with a manual is an exception. To order one of those, the dealer requires a $5000 non-refundable deposit. The GM says he can't sell them, should something happen and I fail to buy.
 
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All of the above are totally valid points, i would just like to raise another here - protection, a manual gearbox represents a weak point, a spot where the owner can damage the car be it brought on by incorrect use or totally accidental.

The manual (i.e stick shift) is on its way out but the manual gearbox in sequential form is alive and well, i totally appreciate the feeling of driving a stick shift car knowing your physically moving cogs is really rewarding but i also see die-hard manual owners being converted to SMG or auto boxes all the time because they think they know how the box will behave only to find out its a different animal when they get behind the wheel.

Manuals in general are more popular in Europe because of the small, cheap car idea and an auto add's expense thats not required for a bare-bones machine, with certain exceptions of course. Mercedes sales and offering of manuals is low worldwide because the 'average' owner will be buying a C/E/S and sitting on the freeway at cruise 99.9% of the time and they just don't need a manual to pi$$ around with, when you add options like Distronic into the equation it becomes even more clear why auto's are so popular in the Benz model line.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The manual (i.e stick shift) is on its way out but the manual gearbox in sequential form is alive and well
I hope you're wrong and the need to actually drive a car prevails.
I really did want to like the BMW E46 M3 with the SMG.
But it took something away from me and that's the whole reason I drive a fun car because I'm the one driving it. And even though you're kind of in control with that dumb looking stick that could just be a button. You know that if you just left it alone the car could do a better job by itself anyway.

If I was on the track as a profession and my only goal was to win give me anything you can to beat the other guy but for everyday driving or the weekend romp on the country roads heck even the occasional track day.
I need a manual.

You know you're probably right one day a manual transmission will be just a memory heck we'll probably just touch the map and the car will take us where we want to go.
But I'm going to go down kicking and screaming :soap:
 

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I hope you're wrong and the need to actually drive a car prevails.
People enjoy tactile experiences. Look at the success of the Nintendo Wii, that's done away with the Joystick replacing it with more natural-feeling controllers like the Wii remote and the Wii balance board. In the same trend, I believe we're going to see a revival of the stick in a form that's more efficient and more fool-proof than today's incarnation. In a way, even the status quo is an already refined version of the original design that did not have synchros. Now Nissan has come up with a nifty way to make the "manual" transmission do automatic throttle blips during downshifts in the new Z370.
 
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I agree with Ikarus on his revival comment, nothing is stopping manufacturers from producing a stick control gearbox that would be computer controlled and monitored to keep everything within limits but has a clutch pedal and a stick with a layout that copies todays stick shifter manuals, you could drive the car like a manual but knowing its impossible for you to damage the gearbox no matter how hard you push it or how many times you mis-shift but at the same time you could just press a button and let the car take over.
 

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For sure a vast majority (I think over 85% over all cars, and over 95% in some styles) are automatics. It is a shame.

WIth appologies to those with autos, I was actually going to pass on the SLK until I drove the manual. Personal opinion of course, but for me it was a whole different car.

I don't think a manual suits every car, but it certainly does for the SLK.

Some of the new DSGs and the like are OK (I have a smart with a sequential), but it's still not the same as a true manual.

Strangest I've driven are the first Eaton autoshifts (in a bus). It still had a clutch, but you just put it in "D" and the computer would shift from there. Was pretty weird the way the engine would cut out, it would shift, then the engine would cut back in. The hardest part was remembering you had to push the clutch down when you stopped. The newer models like the ZF had a torque converter, so don't have the manual clutch anymore.

Cheers!

Dang
 

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Here in Europe upper level cars, like the E class, are in the majority of cases automatic, and its was a tendency that came in the last 5 or 6 years. I guess it depends the type of car and the use you want to gave it. For instance, in my case, I ordered my upcoming R171 with manual gearbox because I want to enjoy driving. For daily purposes I have the other mercs with automatic gears.

But I must say that the automatic is so addictive...
 
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