Can "Flappy-Paddle" Gearboxes Really Replace The Manual Transmission?S

Technological progress is both a given and a constant source of controversy in the automotive world. Some new ideas are major improvements, some are huge mistakes, some are compromises. Few are as heavily debated as the increasing popularity of semiautomatic "flappy-paddle" transmissions.

Major sports-car makers — Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche — are steadily adopting the computer-controlled gearboxes or have already made them standard. Many enthusiasts are mourning the continuing loss of a favorite mechanical interface and test of driver skill. While no one claims that paddle shifters are as soft as true automatics, there's still complaints about the loss of tactile involvement. In response, manufacturers point to improved performance, a more racecar-like attitude, and other benefits.

Will paddle shifters ever take the place of a shift gate and clutch pedal in the hearts of gearheads, or is this a shift in the wrong direction?

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Photo Credit: Ferrari