Auto vs Manual

jimmyca69

CCCUK Member
Without wanting to open a can of worms (which this question might on other forums..) I was just wondering what people's thoughts were on the auto vs manual debate when looking at a LS3 C6 as a potential purchase?

Have looked around and it seems the LS3 auto's have a slightly changed auto box than previous ones which improved things (seems not specific to LS3 but just prior?), but that the Z51 package has same transmission just different gear ratios?

I haven't driven a manual for a long while and my last 4 cars over the past 5 yrs have been all automatic (F15 X5, F90 M5, 8V S3, F80 M3) but am I minded that for some cars the manual is the best option to get the most out of the engine. Is this the case with the LS3 C6? or is the auto good enough and flexible enough to enjoy it as much as a manual?

For me I will be using the car as a weekend car, so around 3k mpa, I don't plan on using it much in traffic and around town more so for road trips etc so the need for a auto for that elemt isn't there, that's not to say it won't be sat in traffic at times though.

All thoughts welcome :)
 

Roscobbc

Moderator
Can't answer your question relating to late model cars - but IMHO with 6 and possibly 7 gears to swap around.........too much of a faff? have driven 6 speed Vette but (to me anyway) they seem ponderous and relatively clunky compared with earlier 4 speed transmissions. Late model cars tend to gear ratios optimised for CAFE certification? - therefore perhaps less suited for maximum acceleration? - late model automatics, irrespective of make and model (again only my own personal opinion) seem to have the best ratio's fitted (and often 6 or 8 speed) for both performance and economy. One was the day when a slick shifting 4 speed M21 manual could easily out-drag the equivalent auto transmissioned car. Not so now with auto-boxes changing ratio's in micro seconds.......
 

kentvette

CCCUK Member
Although I don't own a C6, I've been lucky enough to have generous US friends who have allowed me to drive C4s, 5s and 6s extensively, and very quickly, using both a manual and an auto box.
As far as I'm concerned, the auto wins out every time, especially in an LS3 car, where as you say, the 'box has been re-programmed to give better shifting. After 50 years of "hand operated" 'boxes, the last thing I want in a "fun" car is to be clunking around with some "self-assembly" gearbox! It's not just in traffic that the auto is better, it's quicker for overtaking etc. The harsh reality is, the auto box will change gears better than you even can! Plus, you can always use the paddles for a bit of fun - and - they do learn how you're driving, so the quicker you go, the faster it shifts!
 

CaptainK

CCCUK Member
I'm in the camp of manual gearbox all the way - I like the driver involvement and having to work the car myself etc. I care not for a few microseconds of speed or such not. So I'd never have an auto (and yes, I've driven many and liked none of them - granted very good gearboxes, but I get bored as there is less for me to do).

That said, modern auto gearboxes are very good and will make you faster than a manual, better economy and so forth. They are just not for me.
HOWEVER, we're talking about you here, so my only advice I can give is for you to try and drive both Auto and Manual and see which is the best for you.
 

Fishy Dave

CCCUK Member
I'm in the camp of manual gearbox all the way - I like the driver involvement and having to work the car myself etc. I care not for a few microseconds of speed or such not. So I'd never have an auto (and yes, I've driven many and liked none of them - granted very good gearboxes, but I get bored as there is less for me to do).

That said, modern auto gearboxes are very good and will make you faster than a manual, better economy and so forth. They are just not for me.
HOWEVER, we're talking about you here, so my only advice I can give is for you to try and drive both Auto and Manual and see which is the best for you.
I 100% agree with this. I'm firmly in the manual camp, however impressive autos have become. For me a gear change is part of the connection and interaction I enjoy in a sports car. Neither gearbox is particularly slick or cutting edge in the C6, but both are reliable, so just buy whichever you prefer. :)
 

Fishy Dave

CCCUK Member
Have looked around and it seems the LS3 auto's have a slightly changed auto box than previous ones which improved things (seems not specific to LS3 but just prior?), but that the Z51 package has same transmission just different gear ratios?
You are right that both auto and manual gearboxes had changed by the 2008/LS3 models.
All C6 Z51 manual cars (regardless of age/engine) received different gear ratios compared to the base, Coupe model. As someone who had the latter, long ratios I fitted a different diff final drive (from 3.42 to 4.10) to shorten them up, it's much better now.
 

Roscobbc

Moderator
I'd rather be driving a manual vehicle than an auto in 'extremis' situations - for example how many vid's have we seen where supposed 'idiots' do a drag type pull-away and go sideways and off the road? - invariably automatics? Y/N? agree? - with more rotational intertia (torque converter) and an automated drive train the auto powered vehicle is not going to respond to driver input like a manual transmissioned car. Simply taking one's foot off the 'loud' pedal in an auto isn't in most cases a quick enough response to a vehicle that is starting to go sideways - there will be a delayed reaction and response from when your foot comes off the gas and the drive train responds - OK, so perhaps measured in low seconds - but enough to have you sideways with any counter reaction from the driver simply too late to prevent the situation.......then factor-in ABS, Yaw control etc and things get further complicated.
 

Fishy Dave

CCCUK Member
I'd rather be driving a manual vehicle than an auto in 'extremis' situations - for example how many vid's have we seen where supposed 'idiots' do a drag type pull-away and go sideways and off the road? - invariably automatics? Y/N? agree? - with more rotational intertia (torque converter) and an automated drive train the auto powered vehicle is not going to respond to driver input like a manual transmissioned car. Simply taking one's foot off the 'loud' pedal in an auto isn't in most cases a quick enough response to a vehicle that is starting to go sideways - there will be a delayed reaction and response from when your foot comes off the gas and the drive train responds - OK, so perhaps measured in low seconds - but enough to have you sideways with any counter reaction from the driver simply too late to prevent the situation.......then factor-in ABS, Yaw control etc and things get further complicated.
That's a good point Ross, although interestingly the C4 drivers at the Oulton Park drift day were probably as successful as those in manuals. Arguably they were anticipating a slide in this instance though. One of the drivers kindly let me have a drive, I did drift it 'ok' but found it odd that when you lift off you still had some forward momentum. o_O
 

Roscobbc

Moderator
I think it's great having all these driving 'aids' to help safety and ease of use for everyday applications. Unfortunately 'todays' drivers will not have experienced driving higher powered vehicles 'by the seat of thier pants' as one would sans electronic aids. Whilst driving current vehicles they will be in a comparatively 'safe', cocooned enviroment should something unexpected happen that perhaps hasn't been built-in to the OEM system algorythms, these very driving 'aids' (like ABS) installed to keep you safe can, and will often work against you........a bit like today's fighter planes - without all of the electronic and computer aids they would be virtually ususable.....
 

CaptainK

CCCUK Member
Good to see other manual enthusiasts on here. Whenever I try to explain my manual preference to "normal people", they look at me funny just saying the auto is faster and easier to drive. Hey hum.
 

Fatbloke-Dim

Regular user
My 2 cents;
I have an '06 6 sp. auto. The paddle shift is great , tho' at times , you need a shift in the middle of a turn , and occasionally it can be a faff to move one hand to a paddle. Only minor , mind , and gears can be held until the wheel position is more convenient. Not a deal-breaker. I actually wanted this tranny ,it shifts great , shifts quick ,and I'm sure it would be micro-seconds quicker thru' the quarter with it than a manual. The 'S' mode on this 'box is a sort of half way between shifting manually and automatically, in that it holds on to the gears to the max, then makes a ;positive' shift. In this mode, however , the box decides when to downshift . Paddles fix that , and you have the aural satisfaction of downshifting at will for the snarling overrun sound that sets your hairs ( what little of mine remain !) on end. So......my vote for A6 auto.
 
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