Here Are the Last Manual Transmission Supercars Ever Made

Supercars have an undeniable allure created by their exotic nature, top notch performance and unmatched level of control.
2011 Audi R8 interior 6 photos
Photo: Audi
Ferrari F430Audi R8Pagani Zonda F RoadsterNoble M600Lamborghini Gallardo
Until not so long ago, you could buy most of the world’s mid-engined, high-performance exotics with a stick to row your own (and this was an essential part of the experience), yet nowadays there isn’t a single one left. Manual transmissions in supercars were phased out when automatics or automated manuals became faster and thus improved the cars’ performance.

Manufacturers argued that since these new types of transmissions had no more drawbacks and they also allowed the driver to keep both hands on the helm at all times, there was no incentive to keep offering manuals. And yet, now that they’re gone, it seems people are really starting to miss them.

That’s why nowadays, the manual gearbox version of a certain supercar is more expensive than the automatic (or automated) gearbox variant when it comes up for sale second hand. These last-of-their-kind manual supercars fetch a premium because they are very rare nowadays.

Pagani Zonda F Roadster
Photo: Pagani
Not that many people bought them anyway, so of the total number of cars built, very few actually have the manual transmission. It’s this combination of rarity and keen drivers’ desire to get cars with a traditional manual that’s been driving these cars’ price up.

The 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-2 was the very last manual Lamborghini, and it quickly became a favorite because it was the more hardcore, lightweight rear-wheel drive-only model. It is what could be described as the purest version of the Gallardo and therefore the top pick of the keen driver.

It had a 5.2-liter V10 with 552 horsepower hooked up to a six-speed manual. In true Italian tradition, the gated shifter clicks into each gear very satisfyingly, adding to the sense of occasion when driving the car.

One of the last Ferrari models to be offered with a six-speed manual was the F430, the much-improved replacement for the 360. It too was made in considerably lower numbers than the version with an automated transmission, and nowadays it is appreciating in value rapidly (although the difference between the paddle shift transmission and the manual is still not huge in this case).

Ferrari F430
Photo: Ferrari
Just like in any F430, the transmission was linked to a 4.3-liter V8 with 483 horsepower and whichever transmission option you went for, it still hit 100 km/h from naught in around 4 seconds. In fact, it was probably a bit slower with the manual, but for many people, driving one of these cars is all about the experience, not shaving a few tenths off the sprint time.

The 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS with the 4.0-liter engine also needs to be mentioned in this company, since it makes 493 horsepower, weighs 1,360 kg (2,998 pounds) and sprints to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. We could talk for hours about how great its flat-six engine is, with its 123.25 horsepower per liter output, but it’s the fact that it came paired to a slick six-speed stick that interests us here.

The VW group is responsible for another of the last manual transmission supercars, the 2015 Audi R8 (first-generation facelift model). Related to the Lamborghini Gallardo, but also offered with a smaller 4.2-liter V8, the R8 came with either a manual six-speed or a dual-clutch S Tronic transmission. Driving one of these is an experience and rowing through the gears with the stick is an integral part of why it was so great.

Now we move into considerably more expensive territory with the Pagani Zonda, a car built from 1999 to 2017. Most examples of the Zonda were fitted with a manual gearbox, hooked up to one of two AMG-sourced V12 whose soundtrack is akin to the shriek of a mythical beast.

Noble M600
Photo: Noble
The thing with the Zonda is you can’t really say it went out of production, because if you approach Horacio Pagani (and bring a silver suitcase stuffed full of cash), he will probably build one for you today.

Believe it or not, there is one low-volume supercar that you can buy with a manual transmission today. It’s the not very famous, but still extremely impressive Noble M600, launched in 2010. It can only be had with a manual six-speed mated to a 4.4-liter V8 engine with 650 horsepower - this car is not only a manual, but it also feels (and is) a lot more analog than many more mainstream supercars you can buy today.
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