I always wonder why MT owners get so exercised about someone choosing the AT, yet the reverse isn’t the case. AT owners just live and let live and don’t feel the need to proselytize the AT and denigrate the MT. However, the gauntlet has been thrown down, so I will in this post denigrate the MT.
Choosing the AT does not mean one is seeking “a shiftless experience” that isolates or removes them from the task of managing the engine under sport driving conditions. Far from it. Driving a sport automatic, one retains the ability to manage engine rpm and output. It’s just done with a flick of the wrist on the shifter or a tap of the fingers on a paddle, instead of with foot and hand working balky mechanical linkages. There are numerous threads & posts on this forum about poor clutch engagement / pedal feel, annoying clunk going into first, noise in neutral, noise from throwout bearing, crunchy shifts into second, etc. The manual has short ratios and short rear gearing so MT aficionados don’t get an identity crisis if it’s not quicker to 60 mph than the AT. Even with the gearing crutch, it stills requires clutch-roasting launches to beat the AT. And it comes at the cost of annoyingly high rpm on the highway and worse fuel economy.
Driving a sport automatic, when the fun’s all over, switch back to Drive, grab your Big Gulp, and head home on the interstate with lower cruising rpm, better fuel economy, and adaptive cruise with selectable acceleration profiles.
If someone wants to say the GR86/BRZ with 6AT isn’t a sports car? OK, students, fill in the ovals completely with a #2 lead pencil until time is called, then set down your pencil and turn your paper over on the desk.
I don’t see it in such a binary fashion. “Either I’m marrying peak Cindy Crawford or I’m celibate for life.”
This car is not best at being a manual. The manual is pretty “meh” as manuals go. It’s not best at having a high-strung engine that needs a manual to get the best out of it.
It’s best at being a cheap 2800 lb. car with great chassis dynamics. It’s best at having a tractor-like engine with a fat torque curve that isn’t picky about gear selection. It’s actually an engine ideally suited to a sport automatic.
I’m surprised you can’t perceive a significant experiential difference between these power trains in sports car applications under sport driving conditions. With sport automatic ICE there’s substantial auditory experience coupled with (if you so choose) engine rpm management experience. Both are missing with EV.