Lamborghini, like any other manufacturer of exotic cars, makes more than one model at any one time. For instance, right now it is possible to buy either the V10 Huracan, the V12 Aventador, or the V8 Urus. Before the Huracan was the Gallardo (which arguably saved Lamborghini from bankruptcy!) and before the Aventador was the Murcielago.
All of these vehicles can be purchased with different options, from the color to the type of seat – however, when it comes to the transmission, your options are now limited. This wasn’t always the case though – with the Gallardo it was possible to buy the car with a manual transmission.
The Lamborghinis that are available as of today (and in the future) all have automatic transmissions. The last manual Lamborghini was the 2014 Gallardo. This doesn’t mean you don’t have any control over changing gear though.
What’s the difference between manual and automatic transmission?
The common interpretation of a manual transmission is when the driver is in control of changing gears using a gear stick, whereas an automatic transmission is when the car manages the transmission for you.
Although all Lamborghinis are now offered only with automatic transmission, this does not mean the driver has no control over when the car changes gear.
By default, these cars will start in automatic mode which is when the car changes gear when appropriate. You will have the option of changing the driving mode, however, so for instance ‘Strada’ mode will change gear quite sedately and you’ll never rev that high. Ideal for just pottering around town or when in traffic. However, switch to ‘Sport’ mode and it will rev out the engine more and the downshifts will be more aggressive.
However, switch the car out of automatic mode and you, the driver can take control (mostly). Control is achieved via the flappy paddles on either side of the steering wheel and you now have the luxury of changing up and down gears yourself.
When I say ‘mostly’ it’s because the car still has visibility over what you’re doing and unless you’re in one of the track modes, it can (and will) prevent you from damaging the engine by revving too high or downshifting at the wrong time.
The above is in contrast to the old stick-shift where the driver had ultimate control and when we’re talking about manual transmission, it is this that we are referring to.
Why are some manuals so valuable?
Lamborghini has publicly said that almost 0% of people bought manual Gallardos when they were available from new. Everyone wanted the e-gear transmission with the flappy pedals. Therefore, there are fewer Manual Gallardo’s in existence than Automatics. This in turn means that if you want to buy a Manual Gallardo today, you’ll be paying quite a lot more than if you want an Automatic!
I imagine it was related to this low initial interest that made the decision for Lamborghini to stop offering future variants with a manual option. Nowadays, whether you want a Huracan, Aventador, or Urus, it’ll be an Automatic. As a Huracan owner myself, and as an owner of several stick shifts previously – I for one think you have more than enough manual interaction with the flappy pedals!
So, the manual Lamborghinis are more valuable generally speaking because there are fewer of them in circulation – it doesn’t make them better, as such. Although, there are still a lot of people that prefer a stick shift – which brings us nicely onto the next section.
Why do some people prefer manual transmissions?
There’s a couple of reasons behind this I believe. Firstly, when the Gallardo first came out with its e-gear (i.e. the automatic version) – the shifts weren’t exactly the sharpest. The Gallardo utilized a single-clutch transmission that was quite harsh. The gear shifts were quite violent and not particularly fast, unlike other similar e-gears other manufacturers used at the same time.
So, the first reason people might prefer a gear stick to an e-gear automatic transmission is that they don’t particularly like the alternative.
The second reason is somewhat more complicated. Some people believe that they have more ‘feel’ for the car when driving with a stick shift. They feel more connected to both the car and the road. I can understand this. These days, with more and more technology being introduced, the driver is becoming unconnected with the car and less and less important in the control of the vehicle the way they would like.
Many cars now will even drive themselves – which although is cool, isn’t the reason people buy Lamborghinis. You will never be able to buy a Lamborghini (non SUV!) which has self-drive, it’s just not what it’s about!
Are manual transmissions a thing of the past?
Manual transmissions are becoming less common as each year passes. Manufacturers don’t want to offer multiple variants of transmission as it just adds cost – especially when the interest is so low. Most people have accepted that flappy pedals are the ‘norm’ these days and are quite happy with using them.
Therefore, manual transmissions, although perhaps right not now, will very soon be a thing of the past – rightly or wrongly!
Do supercars have a clutch pedal?
Supercars with automatic transmissions (i.e. those with flappy pedals) do not have a clutch pedal. The clutch pedal is used in manual cars to disengage the engine from the gearbox to allow the driver to change gears. In an automatic transmission, there is still a clutch but it is not operated by the driver – it is controlled automatically by the car!