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Old 05-31-2007, 04:30 PM   #1
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Manuals are faster?

I know the topic of manuals vs. automatics is always brought up but there are many things i still dont understand. I'm only 17 and have never driven a manual car before, but i think i know some about driving one. Everyday I think about what I want on my camaro when i get it. One thing i cant decide is manual or automatic. What my question is, are manuals faster than an automatic. If they are faster, why? Right now my mind is set that if they offer paddle shifting I'll have to go with that. Anyway it would be awesome if you guys could help me out with my question. Thanks
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Old 05-31-2007, 04:35 PM   #2
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Autos are faster off the line if you're racing because you don't have to mess with shifting or worrying about maybe missing a gear. But Autos are just more convenient... Plus all the work gets done for you! I drove my boyfriend's 02 Z28 a lot (it was an M6) and absolutely loved it... but after 4 days I was like "Okay... I miss my auto now..." But it might just be because I'm used to the automatic transmission... My new Camaro will definitely be an Automatic... Especially since I want to go to the track and make a few passes and see how she does.
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Old 05-31-2007, 04:53 PM   #3
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Manuals are faster mainly because the engine has a direct mechanical connection with the transmission, whereas an automatic uses a torque converter which is a fluid connection (there's actually no mechanical connection in any gear except overdrive in your standard production automatic....transmission fluid flow is running the show in there). The result is loss of energy transferred.

Now a racing transmission is a completely different beast, and no human can possibly outshift a built racing auto transmission. The real deal with manual VS auto is the fact that if you mash the gas in an auto, the car does the work. In a manual, there's many ways to screw it all up, from miss-shifts, to short-shifting, to tapping the rev-limiter, etc....so a team that builds a car to race because that's their INCOME will typically never use a manual...there's too many variables to be consistent.

I have a tendency to go too deep, I hope I didn't totally blow past your question there.

Cliffnotes: Yes, if you compare production-release versions of a manual or an auto transmission, the manual will be faster. But there are ways to make an auto tranny perform better than a manual. And most high-end race teams use automatics, but those transmissions can't be used on a street-driven car.
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MerF View Post
Manuals are faster mainly because the engine has a direct mechanical connection with the transmission, whereas an automatic uses a torque converter which is a fluid connection (there's actually no mechanical connection in any gear except overdrive in your standard production automatic....transmission fluid flow is running the show in there). The result is loss of energy transferred.

Now a racing transmission is a completely different beast, and no human can possibly outshift a built racing auto transmission. The real deal with manual VS auto is the fact that if you mash the gas in an auto, the car does the work. In a manual, there's many ways to screw it all up, from miss-shifts, to short-shifting, to tapping the rev-limiter, etc....so a team that builds a car to race because that's their INCOME will typically never use a manual...there's too many variables to be consistent.

I have a tendency to go too deep, I hope I didn't totally blow past your question there.

Cliffnotes: Yes, if you compare production-release versions of a manual or an auto transmission, the manual will be faster. But there are ways to make an auto tranny perform better than a manual. And most high-end race teams use automatics, but those transmissions can't be used on a street-driven car.
Which high end race teams are you speaking of?
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:42 PM   #5
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Sorry, I was mainly referring to drag racing. Should have specified that. I was talking in terms of acceleration.
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:57 AM   #6
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In my experience, manuals are faster. But, the proof and logical reasoning has already been noted above.
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Old 06-01-2007, 11:07 AM   #7
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Ok. cool. Thanks a lot guys. Especially MerF.
When you say faster, we are talking maybe one or two tenths of a second right?
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Old 06-01-2007, 11:48 AM   #8
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Yeah for the most part. There are exceptions here and there but overall the difference won't be drastic.

I'm having the same dilemma though, as far as "which is faster", but mine is between the coupe and the convertible. Do I care about the extra speed/handling or the major-fun-cruising factor? Hmm...
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:04 PM   #9
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For me manual is about my connection to the car. My first car was a 5 speed. it's about control. i live in the twisties... like 30 miles of them. i want the option to drop to 2nd and follow the guy for a tight turn then be able to have my power coming out onto the strait stretch. Or racing from a highway roll i don't have to wait for the car to downshift, it can already be done.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:09 PM   #10
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I've been driving manual cars for ... a long long long time.

I can shift smoother in more situations than an automatic, i can go to the edge of acceleration and do partial burn outs where the tires are just starting to squall. You can't get that kind of fine tuning without the clutch.

Since the direct inputs of a good clutch are control you can slide the rear end of a high performance car around using the clutch and down shifting (rear wheel drive of course). Great for auto cross.

A high performance car with a manual transmission on twisties will easily out perform an automatic equipped car if driving on the edge. I'm talking about a lot more control than just drifting.

The requisite skill of driving a manual transmission takes years of experience to get out on the edge but you end up controlling the entire drive train versus the fuel system and brakes with an automatic. With a manual "YOU" get to look ahead and set the drive train up for what is coming next proactively versus responding with an automatic transmission that is only taking into account a few variables.

When you can define the task at hand very narrowly like with drag racing you can limit the variables significantly and an automatic transmission will make sense (I though you can imagine disagree). Some guys in auto cross disagree with me and say automatic all the way since they can't imagine feathering a clutch to capture a little more traction without giving up RPM's and horse power.

Then again it all comes down to traction pies and drag coefficients and how you want to spend the different forces getting from point a to point b. Once they release some spec data on weighting of the car (60/40, 55/45?) and if they stick that short ratio six speed in the car will be a runner. Manual or automatic? Depends on where you want to go.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MerF View Post
I'm having the same dilemma though, as far as "which is faster", but mine is between the coupe and the convertible. Do I care about the extra speed/handling or the major-fun-cruising factor? Hmm...
Go with the convertible and put some subframe tie-in's to get the added suspension performance? That's what I'm planning on doing.

I'm only interested in a high performance V6 or small V8. Since I don't care about straight line racing either of those will break the rear end loose in a hurry and provide plenty of power for anything approaching my expectations. Added bonus is that they are lighter engines in the front of the car.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:59 PM   #12
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I'm also concerned about the added weight of the convertible. Only time will tell really.
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:04 PM   #13
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Sorry to throw a wrench in the gears here(no pun intended), but GM has changed the Manual VS Auto argument with their 6L80 paddle shifter tranny...

I plan on getting this, though only time will tell. But with the 6L80, you get the best, if not better of both worlds. When you want it, you get the convience and easy-shifting of an Auto. But when you need it, you click into Sport/paddle mode and tap your way past the manuals. Because you get control over when you shift without the time it takes a manual to shift from, say 2nd to 3rd.
I'll try to takle the corner/power issue, too. When in sport mode, the tranny will not upshift to overdrive while cruising, so you get the power you need for coming out of corners. And won't downshift for you unless in danger of stalling...

Odd 6L80 facts in my head:


6L80 is GM's newest 6 speed Automatic transmission, with versatile options including rear-mounting ability with no massive changes, driver shift selection(paddle), and more.
It will last longer than average Autos due to a clutch to clutch operation.
It is built for power with forged innards
Paddle mode gives driver complete control over shifting. Only if danger zones are reached due to driver incompetence, will the tranny shift itself: over-revving, or stalling out.
2007 gets quicker shift response time with the paddles
First gear is a severly steep 4(or so):1 for outstanding off-the-line speed.
2 overdrive gears
6th is .6:1 for amazing top speed potential Vette can cruise 80+ at 2000 rpm's

don't get the idea that I hate manuals, I respect them, A LOT. I've just never driven one, so I don't have the experience to really know what their like (inconvience, performance, etc.) I know what they can do on paper...and this 6L80 blows me away...on paper.
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:23 PM   #14
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the main thing i like about a stick is that when you come up or some one and u want to get there ation is push in the clutch and the gas and rev the baby up
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:25 PM   #15
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It would be really interesting to see how far apart the gears are and how large the variation of gearing is between first and sixth on the auto (My SM465 blows away an NV4500 for span). I still like metal to metal without the fluid in my drive train, but can understand and appreciate constant velocity transmissions and high performance automatics.

I'm going to likely put a 5.7L or 5.3L in my Jeep and keep my SM465 behind it simply because off road I like the crawl ratios. In my sports cars I like a few more gears and closer ratios.
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoneye View Post
Sorry to throw a wrench in the gears here(no pun intended), but GM has changed the Manual VS Auto argument with their 6L80 paddle shifter tranny...

I plan on getting this, though only time will tell. But with the 6L80, you get the best, if not better of both worlds. When you want it, you get the convience and easy-shifting of an Auto. But when you need it, you click into Sport/paddle mode and tap your way past the manuals. Because you get control over when you shift without the time it takes a manual to shift from, say 2nd to 3rd.
I'll try to takle the corner/power issue, too. When in sport mode, the tranny will not upshift to overdrive while cruising, so you get the power you need for coming out of corners. And won't downshift for you unless in danger of stalling...

Odd 6L80 facts in my head:


6L80 is GM's newest 6 speed Automatic transmission, with versatile options including rear-mounting ability with no massive changes, driver shift selection(paddle), and more.
It will last longer than average Autos due to a clutch to clutch operation.
It is built for power with forged innards
Paddle mode gives driver complete control over shifting. Only if danger zones are reached due to driver incompetence, will the tranny shift itself: over-revving, or stalling out.
2007 gets quicker shift response time with the paddles
First gear is a severly steep 4(or so):1 for outstanding off-the-line speed.
2 overdrive gears
6th is .6:1 for amazing top speed potential Vette can cruise 80+ at 2000 rpm's

don't get the idea that I hate manuals, I respect them, A LOT. I've just never driven one, so I don't have the experience to really know what their like (inconvience, performance, etc.) I know what they can do on paper...and this 6L80 blows me away...on paper.
Good find. That is interesting for sure. It's not enough to convince me I'd take an auto over a manual though. But if there are more than an occasional article saying the paddle-shifted car is faster than the rest...well...that's different.
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:34 PM   #17
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From basically everything I've read a paddle shift setup is way faster than a human shifting a manual ever could be. I'm on the fence myself on what to get, but if a paddle shift 6L80E is offered I will definitely buy that.
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Old 06-04-2007, 01:54 PM   #18
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When paddle shifting is avaliable, is it an extra option or is a feature that comes with when you get an automatic? I ask becuase of cost
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Old 06-04-2007, 09:45 PM   #19
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my grand dad has a bmw with paddle shifter and i was an extra and thats all i can say at this time so i may be like that
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:56 AM   #20
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I'm not 100% certain, but I think you can get it optional on the automatic C6, with it being standard on the automatic C6 Z06. Automatics in general cost extra over a manual transmission. It's still extremely new with the American automakers, so we will have to see where it goes. Regardless the paddle shift setup is basically garunteed to cost extra over a manual. I've never heard of a BMW with a paddle shift setup. Z8 maybe?
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Old 06-05-2007, 09:37 AM   #21
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with it being standard on the automatic C6 Z06.
Not to nit pick, but there is no such thing as a Z06, be it C5 or C6, that has an auto tranny from the factory. All are built by the General as 6 speed stick manuals.

It is an option on the base C6 Vette. Have a friend who just got one, but have not have a chance to drive it...yet.


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Old 06-05-2007, 01:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Not to nit pick, but there is no such thing as a Z06, be it C5 or C6, that has an auto tranny from the factory. All are built by the General as 6 speed stick manuals.
JWz28.
Right, and a 6-speed automatic is an option on the coupe and vert C6's, not Z06 (those Auto trannys can't handle that kind of power). Paddle shifters are standard on the Automatic option - as is "sport mode".

The paddles on the earlier C6's weren't all that great, but this year GM has fixed that, and from what I've heard they are greatly improved.

As for what I get - I, too am on the fence, and must reserve judgement untill I drive both standard and paddle. But I CAN guarantee this - I'll be ecstatic with either choice!
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Old 06-06-2007, 02:24 AM   #23
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I stand corrected. You guys are right. There is no auto Z06. They only come in manual, and have lots of problems with sticking clutch pedals. It is to the point that people are changing the fluid out once a month. Also the 6L80E apparently shifts faster, but is overall slower due to more parasitic loss from the transmission itself. There is rumors of the paddle shifted 6L80E being tested in a Z06, but nothing official on production or even testing. I found a pretty good thread about it on a Corvette forum. Here's the link:

http://www.corvetteactioncenter.com/...ad.php?t=93791

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Old 06-06-2007, 02:31 AM   #24
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I also learned that some of the M cars from BMW do have a paddle shifted tranny, but it is not an automatic. It is actually a paddle shifted manual. I didn't read too much into it, but this tranny is supposed to be awesome. Like all awesome performing stuff though, it is also expensive. Porsche is supposed to be releasing one in the next year or two, and Audi apparently has one. It is mentioned in the thread I posted above.
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Old 06-06-2007, 10:21 PM   #25
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Mitsubishi put's paddle shifters on the Lancer too.
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