5 Sports Cars That Are Better as Automatics
Posted by: Lydia on 20/06/2019
Car fans around the world will always happily contribute to classic debates. Is Ferrari better than Lamborghini? Is BMW better than Mercedes? And for Australians in particular, are the V8s at Bathurst better than the F1s at Albert Park?
But for all the debates around cars, a common line in the sand is found when it comes to manual vs. automatic transmissions.
While each certainly has its pros and cons, the latter often gets an unfair reputation as the boring and forgettable option.
For petrolheads who are ‘purists’, a manual transmission offers a way to connect with the car that an automatic doesn't. With a manual transmission, the driver can control with precision the change from one gear to the next. And the need to change gears up and down throughout the drive offers an intuitive and engaging experience that so many car lovers adore.
But while manual transmissions can be magic for many drivers, even their biggest fans will acknowledge there are times when all the stop-and-start action of a manual can cause some headaches and spoil much of the fun. This reality is part of the reason why nine out of 10 Aussie buyers today prefer automatics over manuals.
Then there are those who want to focus on other aspects of the car while they drive. For some, the constant need to change gears can distract from enjoying the vehicle, from the sound of the engine to the beautiful design and comfortable seats. And what car fan wouldn’t identify with that desire?
Fortunately, there are plenty of powerful sports cars with automatic transmissions that are amazingly fun to drive, and don't lose anything from the experience for being automatic. Here are 5 of the best sports cars that are better as automatics.
1. Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
American muscle cars have a leading reputation in the United States and around the world for their raw power and straight line speed. And Dodge has been a key player in building this reputation over the years with its legendary vehicles like the Charger, the Viper, and its Challenger range taking a special place in car history.
Driving a Dodge muscle car will always be great, but if there's one thing that makes this vehicle truly special it's the capacity to really take off down the home straight of a race track or drag racing strip with a huge roar. And because driving a manual can make such a take-off really laborious, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon will always be better as an automatic.
2. Nissan GT-R
Manual fans often cite the responsiveness they feel from the vehicle as a reason for their transmission of choice. The Nissan GT-R is proof an automatic car can deliver a similarly powerful connection. As a successor to Nissan’s legendary Skyline series, the Nissan team designed the GT-R with a remarkable devotion to seamless design and precision manufacturing.
The end result is a car that's a pleasure to drive and that all car fans will fast fall in love with. And with a 6-speed dual clutch transmission, a drive in this ride is a terrific way to broaden the mind of any friend who declares ‘manual or bust’.
3. Ferrari LaFerrari
Ferrari is among the most prestigious and desired brands in the world. It's no surprise that buying a car from the Prancing Horse stable is commonly on the to-do list of those who win the lottery. And with Ferrari having done away with production of manual transmission vehicles, anyone who is lucky enough to have the cash will find driving their Ferrari of choice a breeze.
And this Ferrari in particular is very special. The LaFerrari offers a whopping 1000HP, and goes 0-100km/h in just over 2.6 seconds. Best of all, its smooth automatic transition will prevent a driver from stalling when changing gears down the straight. Finding one on the secondhand market may take some research, though, as only 500 units exist in the world.
4. Honda Acura NSX
When it comes to sports cars with a rich racing heritage, few have such a strong link to a legend as the NSX does with Ayrton Senna. The three-time Formula One World Champion who many regard as the greatest driver of all time had a direct involvement in the production of the original NSX.
Although Senna spent most of the time in his day job riding the turbo power of a manual F1 car engine, today a fantastic automatic transmission experience can be had in the 2nd generation NSX. It's different than the original NSX, but it also clearly pays tribute to that design. Its F1 influence with sleek lines and raw power is sure to leave a smile on your face.
5. Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R 2019
The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R takes inspiration from the Silver Arrows' rich motorsport heritage, while also providing a distinct new contribution to its road fleet. With a 4.0 litre bi-turbo V8 engine delivering 430kW – and a top speed of 317km/h – this car is street legal but at home on the racing track.
Given Mercedes previously signalled they would not (officially) bring this car to Australia, it remains a very rare sight Down Under. But it's believed that the next edition of this car is set to enjoy an official release in Australia in 2020.
Getting into gear
Manual transmissions will always have their fans, but for those who have to regularly deal with stop signs and red lights, driving a manual can quickly become frustrating instead of fun.
That's why the cars listed above are such a cool collection, proving that automatics can also offer an optimal driving experience. This list also shows the ability of leading car manufacturers to cater to multiple audiences, not just by simply offering vehicles with different transmissions, but by actively promoting and building a culture around each – helping to prove once and for all that yes, manuals are magnificent, but automatics are outstanding.
What other sport cars do you think are better as automatics? Let us know in the comments below: