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

Illustration for article titled Can Flappy-Paddle Gearboxes Really Replace The Manual Transmission?

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?


(QOTD is your chance to answer the day's most pressing automotive questions and experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good "Question Of the Day" send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)

Photo Credit: Ferrari

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Xander, Proud of BOXER

I hate to say this but the computer actuated, paddle-shift gearboxes will probably overtake a manual option. I mean, the Toyota Camry has paddle shifters now. Racecars have had them for years. I'm sure there will still be manual options available, just not many.