Manual v Auto

Simon

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I can sense a difference of opinion developing about Manual & Auto gearboxes, so not wanting to interfere with the excellent Turbo Thread I’ve started this one.

I will kick off with why aren’t all racing cars fitted with torque converters & auto boxes if they’re so good?

Shude suggested I compared my manual c180 to Vinay's auto c180 turbo and see which one feels the soggiest. I am surprised that Shude has had a chance to ride in the Turbo so soon, thus enabling him to make such a comparison! I don’t doubt my car is now less powerful, but what power I do have is in my direct control, the way it should me.

1 Flame grilled whopper coming right up.
 

fuzzer

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Manual requires effort .... effort bad ...


Plus , think about how much more difficult is it to change a cd with a manual box or drink a cup of coffee or have your hand free for something else?


:rolleyes:


:bannana: :bannana: :bannana:
 

paulrstaylor

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The only things you should really use your hands for whilst driving is holding the wheel and changing gear, so in theory you should be in more (directional) control in an auto.

But I bought a manual, as I am not suffering from "old man" syndrome yet, and prefer to know when I am changing gear.

Having driven both my manual and my dads auto C220 CDI I personaly would not change to an auto just yet, maybe after my mid life crisis but not at 22!

Even with a more powerful car, a manual box makes for a more involved and IMHO controled drive.

However Mercedes manual boxes are not all they could be.....
 

Shude

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Originally posted by Black180
I can sense a difference of opinion developing about Manual & Auto gearboxes, so not wanting to interfere with the excellent Turbo Thread I’ve started this one.
It's about time we had a good thread about manual vs auto :D

Originally posted by Black180
I will kick off with why aren’t all racing cars fitted with torque converters & auto boxes if they’re so good?
F1 cars (and most modern buses! ) use semi automatic gearboxes, the best of both worlds, mainly because they'd rather be gripping the steering wheel while braking instead of pushing the gear lever around or messing with buttons, accelerating is a different matter of course. Most racing cars are going this way too, when did you last see a DTM/Touring car driver looking for 3rd gear? They don't, they use a paddle shift or a up/down lever and a semi auto box handles it all.

If the MB manual tranny is so good, howcome everyone in the trade has told me to avoid them (including my stealership) ? Howcome manual counterparts depreciate faster than autos? Howcome there are several independent MB dealers in the UK that refuse to buy/trade-in or sell manual MBs? Howcome AMG, Brabus, Carlsson [your favourite MB tuner here] models are always automatics?

Originally posted by Black180
what power I do have is in my direct control, the way it should me.
This is a point which I'd like discussed. Do you honestly think that you can change gear more efficiently and at a better moment than a modern 5 speed adaptive electronic automatic? The difference in efficiency is practically the same between the modern auto and the manual counterpart, the performance figures between the c230k auto and manual are the same, as is the fuel efficiency and any other factors you care to mention.

So what's the big deal about "direct control"? Well, your point is that when you want to change gear you do so, either because you're shifting up while accelerating or down while braking, or indeed down to accelerate some more. My automatic does this, when I expect it or if not when I select the "gear" using the lever (rare) . "but what if it changes gear on a corner, thus destabilising the car" etc, valid point...except that it doesn't happen, and I doubt if it did it would make a huge amount of difference unless you are doing silly things on a corner! I defy a manual owner to downshift twice while powering out of the apex of a tight corner, having both hands on the wheel really helps in situations like that and my foot pressing the pedal tells the gearbox I want to go faster so my hands can do the steering, isn't this the same reason you bought a rwd car? Front wheels for steering and rear wheels for driving, same thing for the driving position: hands for steering and feet for driving - surely that's the safest and most controlled method there is? :)

...getting a bit toasty here at the barbeque, anyone wanna come watch these flame grilled burgers while I go for a drink? :D
 
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OP
Simon

Simon

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Not a bad effort Shude, have a couple of flames
now go and get your carpet slippers, smoking jacket and pipe.

Cars are for driving. And the real art of driving involves amongst other things, listening to the engine and changing gear as necessary, a very satisfying thing when done properly. I can't see the fun in being a Point, aim, and fire driver.
 
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GrahamC230K

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Neither is better, it is preferance.

Tales of poor MB Manual boxes have some truth, but have spiralled from a cautionary note to scare mongering.

I have driven most common makes of car and for me BMW has it in the bag for manual boxes. I have driven autos but not a Mercedes auto.

I would like to know overall, in the UK, the majority age of a Mercedes driver. I reckon over 40. I would also like to know the preferance of over 40's drivers as to manual or automatic transmissions. See where I am going?


Personally, I can see the benefit of an auto box in a semi-powerfull car like the C230K, the ease and smoothness, to make an effortless, but spirited when required drive.

I more so (although I occasionally regret it in a traffic jam) prefer the enjoyment, of holding on to a gear until I choose (or the rev limiter) to change, to drop the clutch with as much visciousness and revs or as sedatley as I wish, to accelerate flat out in any gear without a kickdown interfearing, to push hard in 2nd out of a roundabout and then drop straight into 4th as I remember I am on a public road, and to change down during braking, maybe even enough to unsettle the rear on a slippery road.

One of the scariest things I have done recently (must have know this topic was due) was as I was approching an approx 80 degree bend on a national speed limit country lane, from my normal approch speed, I dipped my clutch. The lack of engine braking as I flew towards the bend, was very unnerving and it is not in my driving style to rely on the brakes so much.

Given all the "control" benefits of the manual talked of in the posts above above, I have to say, I don't choose to change gear (let alone 2) either way up, or down, mid a bend any more acute than a long sweeper. To do so would be foolish and bad practise so the not having 2 hands on the wheel thing doesn't really come into it. Also remember, we are talking about changing gear, not your spark plugs, it is a reflex reaction that takes seconds.

The MB manual is not the best, it is a little notchy and the throw not the neatest, but it is not all bad. Price difference, depends on your market. Someone who wants an manual Merc, may have trouble finding one used, if everybody was to listen to the Auto converts.

I dont underestimate how good the modern mercedes auto is. I doubt performance is much different too, especially taking a balance of 0-whatever and cross country driving.

I do think the the manual gearbox is an afterthough on Mercedes design. The throttle feel and response is not tuned to the manual driver. The manual ratios for 1st and 2nd on my car were critisized by the motoring journalist at the time for being too low, hence excess wheelspin away from the mark. Additioanlly 2nd tops out at about 57 mph. BMW would not make the mistake of adding a 3rd gear change into their 0-60 stats. I don't think Mercedes care.

What I do wonder is, why dont MB make the auto standard equipment on all models, and make the manual on option?
 

Brian WH

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Originally posted by Black180

Cars are for driving. And the real art of driving involves amongst other things, listening to the engine and changing gear as necessary, a very satisfying thing when done properly. I can't see the fun in being a Point, aim, and fire driver.
Yes I agree and would have argued that Manual was loads better than Auto........UNTIL..............I bought my present Tiptronic Automatic.

This I argued would be the best of both worlds and it is. However I don't use the manual change down very often as the auto box does it all, at the time I need it.

EXCEPT when overtaking in a tight situation when I need kickdown to work NOW. In those rare situations I tap the gearstick twice into Third and GO man GO. The auto cannot match it I am afraid.

All in all I was a Manual Man now I am perhaps spoilt by one of the best gearboxes in the world, so I am converted.:bannana:
 

paulrstaylor

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If the MB manual tranny is so good, howcome everyone in the trade has told me to avoid them
Because the MB manual is not the best in the world, and the depreciate more because the average MB owner is often seen as an old man (no offence to anyone, I'm 22!) who cant be ar$ed to change gears!!!

I defy a manual owner to downshift twice while powering out of the apex of a tight corner, having both hands on the wheel really helps in situations like that
Shude, Think you must have a problem with you power steering pump, because I do not need two hands to turn any corner in my car :D

Ans why downshift twice, with a manual one slick move 4th to 2nd....

MB Shouls develop a decent manual tranny, AMG / BRABUS etc. would use them..... and then I would want one!
 

GrahamC230K

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Like Paul says!

Originally posted by Brian WH

EXCEPT when overtaking in a tight situation when I need kickdown to work NOW. In those rare situations I tap the gearstick twice into Third and GO man GO. The auto cannot match it I am afraid.

All in all I was a Manual Man now I am perhaps spoilt by one of the best gearboxes in the world, so I am converted.:bannana:

Brian's note is interesting. The roads I primarily use, call for an on the spot decision to be made, or the overtaking slot is lost, possibly for miles.

EDIT:

For most of my "normal" driving, at least all that I am going to admit here, we are talking about driving speeds starting at under 80 mph pre -overtaking manauvre on A or B roads.
For me that means, unless I am still accelerating up through the gears, that I will be changing down to 3rd, maybe 4th from 5th. This is a nice change (5th to 3rd) and something I enjoy doing. This combined with full throttle afterwards gives a nice force, and wet or dry can produce wheelspin. I may do this change on the fly, more or less as I indicate and move out, or I may change down in preparation for the launch moment. If I were to have to manually change an auto box to get this same affect, I would really prefer to have a clutch too.
 
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Koolvin

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The best gearbox is: whatever one you like personally!
 

Mark300SL

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The gearbox debate will go on for years !

The major plus point for me with an auro box are the effortless changes and ease of driving in heavy traffic.
The disadvantage is the fact it cant be bump started if you have a flat battery, and in those dire moments when it doesnt go - it cant be towed far at all.

Having said all that - how many of us have had to be rescued under these circumstances? - we like MB reliability :)

I have certain criteria for gearboxes and where they are best employed

1. A minimum engine size of 2.0/2.5 litres should be used with an auto - this allows sufficient power reserves
2. FWD should always be manual
3. RWD should be auto - if it makes the engine size criteria

Certain manufacturers cant even make cars - let alone decent auto boxes !

Mark

BTW - I currently own 1.5 auto FWD CRX - and this thing seems to break all my own selction criteria! - but it has loads of power and drives like a dream!
 

Maff

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Maybe at the next meet we could try and convince each other the pro's and con's of each gearbox in their retrospective cars.

I am willing to take anyone out and prove that MB's Tiptronic Auto is all you will ever need in an MB (however agreeing with Marks guidelines above for engine size) :bannana: :bannana:

I've been driving MB Auto's since I was 20 and find them great!!! (However the non-tiptronic 4 gang in my early ML320 was a bit of a pig as it was harder to change - as Jeremy Clarkson said - it was like choosing a mortgage - you were never certain what you would get!)
 

TMP

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Originally posted by Mark300SL

I have certain criteria for gearboxes and where they are best employed

1. A minimum engine size of 2.0/2.5 litres should be used with an auto - this allows sufficient power reserves
2. FWD should always be manual
3. RWD should be auto - if it makes the engine size criteria

Ahh my 1.8 C200 coupe should have been a manual then not the auto

But I would say that it's very much quicker than my last car.

As for the tip box humm cant say that I have used much.

As for my preference then yes my car is an auto infact my last 5 cars have been auto.

I say each to there own
 

GrahamC230K

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Originally posted by Maff
Maybe at the next meet we could try and convince each other the pro's and con's of each gearbox in their retrospective cars.


I am very much hoping to get a ride in Shude's car. His exhaust and air filter mods interest me, but mostly I want to contrast his auto box to my manual.


Maybe I will come away looking for another p/x.
 

Maz

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Having never drive an Auto merc i cant really comment on that.

But Autos in general give me less control when hammering it round corners and you need that extra bit of slippage with the clutch to straighten out car etc :D

But sadly the Manual box in our C180 is rubbish, 1st gear puts you back in your seat but runs out very quickly as does 2nd, and its not very smooth between changes unless you take gears right to the limits then change - well its hard to drive it smoothly
 

Mark300SL

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Originally posted by Maz

But Autos in general give me less control when hammering it round corners and you need that extra bit of slippage with the clutch to straighten out car etc :D
Sorry Maz - but in my opinion you should have selected the gear before you hit the corner - especially when "hammering" round. I cant think of any occasion when I should be slipping the clutch around a fast corner.

All in my humble opinion of course - and I dont profess to be any sort of driving expert!

Mark
 

paulrstaylor

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Originally posted by Mark300SL
Sorry Maz - but in my opinion you should have selected the gear before you hit the corner - especially when "hammering" round. I cant think of any occasion when I should be slipping the clutch around a fast corner.

All in my humble opinion of course - and I dont profess to be any sort of driving expert!

Mark
I'm no expert either, but have had a bit of track time and would have say Mark is right, sorry Maz.

But it is very true, you should select the correct gear before any manouvre, how do you do this in a Auto, and if you use Tiptronic, why not have a manual :D
 

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