28 October 2009

Top 8 reasons why real men drive manual

Nice article from Asiaone


More and more Singaporeans are now favouring cars with automatic or semi-automatic transmissions.

Even car dealers find it impractical to bring in manual transmission cars (where can we get a six-speed manual Golf GTI without indenting one?).

It's a vicious cycle. But real men still drive manual cars, according to an AskMen.com article.

We list here their some of their top reasons:

8) A manual transmission is the ultimate in control

The manual transmission is for the alpha male, the one holding the TV remote. Men would rather be the boss than the subordinate. A car with a manual transmission lets the driver be the boss of the car, says AskMen.com. Throttle response will always be immediate unlike some modern automatic boxes. We tend to agree.

7) You can use motoring jargon and not sound like a total fool

Having the ability to drive stick can make you sound like an authority on all things motoring when chatting to the fairer sex, even if you don't know what you're blabbering about. Unless your date is a motoring journalist.

6) You can't spell "manual" without "man"

Our favourite reason among AskMen.com's top ten list. Manual transmission is man because you can't say one without saying the other. Try saying "manual" without first saying "man".

Automatic boxes aren't considered cool and they have nicknames to go along with it. "Slushbox", for instance. "Flappy paddle gearboxes" just doesn't cut it as well. To AskMen.com, "nothing flappy will ever be manly."

5) Manual transmissions prove you can multi-task

Society looks up to people who can multi-task complex motor movements. Just look at the guy who got famous by shaking his hands and legs in different directions. He got hired by Visa for their ads.

Shifting a manual car is also quite complex. You have to release the accelerator with the right foot, depress the clutch with the left, use your right hand to select a different gear and then simultaneously release the clutch as you accelerate, hoping to engage clutch and throttle at that optimum rpm.

4) You can't drift in an auto

Hmm. AskMen.com says drifting is the most extreme form of car control. Driving it sideways requires a massive set of, erm, courage, and a car with a manual transmission.

A manual transmission is beneficial for drifting because you can keep the engine in the sweet spot of its powerband. Try it in an auto and watch the fun die as the transmission shifts up early and kills the power.

(top) Ivan Lim, Singapore's top drift driver manoevuring his car in a drift movement.

3) No more fancy moves in an automatic

There'll be no more heel-toe technique in an automatic, considered to be the elite driving manoeuvre in the motor racing world, says AskMen.com.

The heel-toe manoeuvre allows one to downshift, rev-match and brake all at once.

The driver will operate the clutch normally with the left foot. The ball of the right foot will be on the brake, slowing the car down, while at the same time the right heel of the foot will "blip" the throttle during gear change. This will match engine speed to the wheel speed. Benefits? It keeps the engine in the desired powerband and reduces drivetrain jolt, greatly reducing wear and tear on the transmission.

2) Manual transmission cars are more fun

Having control over your is advantageous. An engine performs best at a certain rpm range, the "sweet spot" so to speak. At the "sweet spot" the power curve generally gets more aggressive.

With a manual car, says AskMen.com, you can find out exactly where this sweet spot is and keep the car there. But with an automatic, the car will most probably shift up before you hit the spot.

1) You'll never look bad if you can drive manual

A friend lent you his car to drive because he's too drunk to get behind the wheel. And being the nice guy that you are, you'll send the ladies home too. Imagine the embarrassment you feel when you reach the car, only to find that it is a manual. Which you can't drive because you're lazy enough to take your driving test in an automatic car. Real men have never experienced such embarrassment.