While Charles may be right about the fact that the manual do-it-yourself row-your-own-gears transmission is going the way of the dinosaurs, I can’t 100% agree with the list he’s compiled.
I’ve revised his list and will complete his thoughts with my own, as a holder of a recently expired racing licence, which he’d love to have had, but lacks the necessary skill set to ever hold.
It has the best manual gearbox fell and involvement or ANY car under $50k. It’s that simple. In my mind, it’s equal to two others under the $100k mark.
Honda Civic Type R
Yes, it’s good.
Porsche 911 GT3
I whole heartedly agree with Charles here. The 718s are excellent and hold one of the two manual transmissions that match the MX-5’s. That said, the 911 GT3 shouldn’t have a manual, and yet it does, and it’s great.
Nope. Wrong M car. The M4’s manual box is fine but it’s clunky and obstructed. The BMW M2 is the first modern BMW since the 1M to sport a real BMW manual gearbox, the kind that all others used to be compared too. The M2’s transmission is the other “best” under $100k.
Mini Cooper S JCW
Mini can make a manual transmission but I submit that the Volkswagen Golf R has a better ‘box. If you’ll be daily-driving your whip, the VW’s light but precise action makes it one of the easiest and straightforward to operate.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
Again, wrong car. The Shelby’s crazy fast but the car is a chore to drive. The new Bullitt, which is only 46 horsepower down on the Shelby, is quite nearly as quick but far more user friendly in every respect.
Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86
This is a fantastic driver’s car. The only issue with the clutch and shifter is that they operate like a switch. Smooth shifts require attention but once in the zone, the BRZ tS in particular is one hell of a stimulant.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The Corvette as a whole is excellent driving tool. The Grand Sport is the greatest of them all. I take that over the Z06.