In years past, most cars came standard with a manual transmission and had an optional automatic, but this is beginning to change as technology advances. Years ago, you bought a manual-equipped car to either save money, or to get better fuel economy and performance. However, today’s automatic transmissions and dual-clutch automated manuals are starting to deliver better performance and fuel economy than manuals, leaving no quantifiable reason to offer a manual transmission other than the joy of shifting the gears yourself.
With manual transmissions now desired almost exclusively by driving enthusiasts who feel that it gives them a better connection with the car, the manual transmission is being eliminated from some lineups. For those of you who feel the need to shift gears on your own, we’ve compiled a list of our 10 favorite 2015 models that are still available with a manual transmission.
Let us know in the comments what your favorite 2015 model with an available manual transmission is.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
I wish I could add the Golf R to this list, but here in the U.S. it is still only available with the DSG dual-clutch gearbox. However, its less-powerful sibling, the Golf GTI, is available with a six-cog manual gearbox. Attached to this manual transmission is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 210 horsepower and 258 pound0feet of torque. If you prefer the ease and quickness of a dual-clutch transmission, it is optional on the 2015 GTI.
Ford Focus ST
For 2015 gets some slight styling updates and a new rearview camera, but it stays the course of offering only a six-speed manual transmission – there’s not even an optional automatic available. This transmission pairs with a 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine that cranks out 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque to launch it to 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds. What’s more, it’s one of the cheapest hot hatches at just $26,215.
Acura ILX 2.4
Luxury cars and a manual transmission are typically not the norm, but Acura is not your normal luxury automaker. The ILX 2.4, which is based upon the 2015 Civic Si Sedan, comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. This transmission combines with a 2.0-liter engine that pumps out a respectable 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. This combination makes for a seven-second 0-to-60 time and a decent 31 mpg highway.
Buick Verano Turbo
Buick is so often overlooked that people may not realize just how much its changed in recent years, In 2015, the brand offers the Verano Turbo, which features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, plus it comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. This drivetrain combination nets the 2015 Verano Turbo a 0-to-60 sprint of about 6.5 seconds.
The 2015 Chevy Camaro is available in multiple setups with a six-speed manual transmission, you can pick up the base LS with a 323-horsepower V-6, the SS with the 429-horse V-8, the 580-horsepower ZL1, or even the range-topping 505-horsepower Z/28 with do-it-yourself shifting. For those who just gotta have their automatic transmission, the Camaro also has a six-speed auto available in all trims but the Z/28.
As goes the Camaro, so goes the Mustang, or vice versa. The Mustang is also available with a six-cog manual transmission mated to any of its three available engines. These powerplants include a base 2.7-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, a 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder with 310 horses and 320 pound-feet of torque, and a 5.0-liter V-8 with 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of twist. Each engine also has a six-sped auto available as an option.
The 370Z is also available with a six-speed manual transmission across its lineup. What’s more, this manual gearbox also features SynchroRev Match, which automatically blips the throttle when downshifting. In its base setup, the 370Z features a 3.7-liter V-6 with 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, while its Nismo trim bumps the output to 350 horses and 276 pound-feet of torque.
This is a bit of a hot-button topic this year, as the 2016 R8 will not be offered with a manual transmission, making the 2015 model year the final one for R8 lovers to snag up a manual gearbox. This transmission mates to a standard 4.2-liter V-8 – also discontinued in 2016 – that produces 430 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. The optional engine is a 5.2-liter V-10 that produces 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque in its standard guise, and 550 horsepower and 398 pound-feet in the Plus model.
Yes, they are technically two separate models, but their drivetrains are identical. Both models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission mated to a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder that produces 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Both the M3 and M4 sprint to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with the manual transmission.
The Porsche 911 is often tauted as one of the best driver’s cars ever built, but that is slowly fading as it makes the switch from manual to PDK transmissions. However, for 2015, there are still a few versions of the 911 available with a manual transmission. The 911 Carrera with its 350-horsepower 3.4-liter engine, the 911 Carrera S with its 400-horse 3.8-liter, and the 911 GTS with its 430-horsepower 3.8-liter engine all come standard with a seven-speed manual transmission.