Volvo S40 T5 – The Perfect Car For The Driver Who Wants A Manual

In the car community, having a car with a stick or being capable of driving a manual car, is an added bonus to show your knowledge and legitimacy as a car enthusiast. Often we discuss what car with a manual transmission would be perfect to learn and or own. The Mazda Miata is always brought up for many reasons, including the fact that it’s essentially a street legal go-kart which gives drivers the sensation of being connected to the road. There are many other candidates, but one that is never mentioned nor given credit as being a fun car is the Volvo S40 T5.

I know what you’re thinking, but much like the C30, the S40 can be fun to drive, and in fact could be the perfect car to learn how to drive a stick. Many S40 owners complain about the close proximity between the brake and gas pedals, as you’ll most likely accidentally tap on of them. This dilemma actually brings up the perfect opportunity to start heel-toeing, which will make you a better driver and help train you to shift through the gears smoother. The S40 T5 has other benefits as well, including performance and modification capabilities.

With a turbocharged 5 cylinder engine producing around 227 horsepower, you’re going to have a decent car right off the bat. It won’t beat a fully stock MazdaSpeed3 but you’ll have more horsepower than a stock Volkswagen GTI. This now leads up to modifications, and here are just a few S40s that are out there where the owners brought the Swedish sedan to the next level.

You can also go with body kits from Heico to add a more sporty appeal to the S40

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Overall the S40 is a great car to start out with, whether to daily drive or learn how to drive a manual. It’s a safe car, the interior is cozy, and the seats are absolutely comfortable. Perfect for the driver who also wants to step into the entry level luxury segment. Despite not being a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes Benz, it’s definitely an alternative if you don’t want to buy a Japanese car, but with that does come costs at the repair shop.

Right now you can find S40 T5s around $5k – $6k. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon an S40 T5 R-Design don’t pass it up. Not only are they rare to come by these days, but you get some added goodies in terms of aesthetics. They’re also holding their value slightly better and can be purchased for around $12k.

Most importantly, you’ll have a novelty car. Not many S40 T5’s are out there on the roads, let alone a modified one. It’s safe to say that at a local car meet, you’ll have the only S40, but it will be unique which just adds to the appeal and the whole package of owning one.

BMW Says No More Manual Transmissions, A Sign Of Things To Come?

Save the manuals! Right? Well, BMW doesn’t think so, in fact they’re planning on getting rid of manual transmissions in their performance cars, and replacing them with automatics and paddle shifters. If that wasn’t enough heartache for car enthusiasts, BMW also has plans to limit horsepower to 600. To many car purists’ dismay, this is a sad reality, and the future of the automotive industry isn’t going to be putting a smile on their faces either.

Manual transmissions now make up less than 15% of new car purchases in the entire automotive market in the United States. For a car manufacturer to tailor to a niche market that is shrinking every year, they’d see very little revenue in return. While the car enthusiast community is vast and still very large, car brands have to remember that 85-90% of their consumers prefer automatic transmissions. Let’s also remember that the consumers who are part of the save the manuals campaign are more likely to by used, leaving the dealerships with the profits, not the manufacturers.

As with any niche market, there’s always a company that comes to the rescue, picking up those along the way who prefer tradition over the reality of where the market is heading. Ford is finally bringing the Focus RS to the United States, which will appease drivers who prefer manual transmissions. Along with a stick, the Focus also comes with a drift mode button, making this car highly coveted among enthusiasts who want to enjoy every aspect of their vehicle.

Alfa Romeo is going one step further with their new Giulia sedan. Not only does it come with a manual transmission, but it’s also RWD. For every car manufacturer that begins to tailor to larger markets, there’s the companies that can prosper from entering niche markets that are dwindling.

The reality of the automotive industry is that automatics now get better fuel consumption, have faster gear shifts, and are easier to drive. While car enthusiasts would say that the only way to fully experience driving, you have to own a manual. However, there are plenty of vehicles on the market that offer a great driving experience with or without a stick.

This is strictly about business, profits, and the realization that manual transmissions are outdated in 2015. Unless the American population drastically decides that they’re going old school and will learn how to operate a manual, we’ll continue to see new cars with paddle shifters and automatics. Purists can say until the end of time that, “Only real car enthusiasts own a manual”, but the fact is, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and now BMW have all moved away from traditional transmissions. Are we now going to consider owners of those brands just average drivers, and not enthusiasts?

The future is here, and like it or not, manual transmissions are becoming extinct. The manufacturers know this, which is why so many are now putting new technology under the hood.

Acura Is Going Automatic, Leaving One Model Left With Manual In 2016

The consumer markets have spoken and one auto manufacturer has listened. Acura will soon be offering only automatics in their lineup, and in 2016 only the ILX will have a manual transmission. A new era in the automotive market is upon us, and while I can hear the groans from the car enthusiasts who swear by the manual transmission, paddle shifters is that kid on the block who’s taken over and everyone now follows.

The original story posted on Car and Driver goes through Acura’s transition thoroughly. The company that brought us the Integra is realizing that consumers don’t want the manual transmission, and there are a few theories as to why this is happening. For one, automatics are getting great gas mileage, a stronghold and persuasive buying point manuals once had.

Some people are blaming the non-car enthusiasts for this change, but let’s think about the sports cars and exotics that now offer paddle shifters. Ford Mustangs offer automatics, and for a while now, Ferrari has put paddle shifters in their cars. Most notably, the LaFerrari doesn’t even come with a traditional manual. Every car in-between Ford and Ferrari that attracted hardcore car enthusiasts and were for people who could drive manuals are now available in automatics or auto shift. This is the direction car manufacturers have gone, and with manuals only making up 6% of the market, demand is dwindling for a clutch.

With touch screens, navigation systems, iPhones, and other devices that distract drivers, the last thing most consumers want is to worry about shifting. Yes, the purists out there will say that manual is the only way to thoroughly enjoy a car, but an overwhelming majority of drivers, including car enthusiasts, are finding auto shift and automatics to be just as much fun. Let’s also remember the demographics here as well. With most people moving back into the city, having to upshift and downshift at every intersection and being in traffic on the highways is a chore most people don’t want to add when commuting.

Is there a place for manuals? Absolutely. For Acura however, most of their car buyers use their Acura’s as daily drivers, and with the Honda-owned company not offering much in the sports car market, most of the manual transmission lovers will have to look to older models to get their fill. Otherwise they’ll have to change brands, but even Lexus and Infiniti are beginning to change along with consumer demand.

At the end of the day, the goal for any company that sells products is to increase sales. As mentioned earlier, manuals only make up 6% of the market, which means 94% of consumers want an automatic or paddle shifters. Cars with manual transmissions really are a dying breed, and maybe some automakers will still offer traditional manuals on models they know have a cult following of loyal consumers.

The entire auto industry is in the midst of a revolution, and with electric cars gaining traction, who knows what other components will be different in cars in 5-10 years.

Acura is seeing the change and they’re going to listen to consumers. Other car manufacturers will follow suit, and are already moving away from the manual transmission but still offering it on some of their models. It’s truly amazing what consumer buying power can do, and with the advances we’re seeing in the auto industry, this change to going automatic and auto shift was bound to happen.