What's The Proper Orientation Of Manumatics?

Illustration for article titled What's The Proper Orientation Of Manumatics?

Today's review car, which you can read about above, features three ways to clutchlessly shift gears. You can push/pull the thumb buttons, push/pull the shifter or just let the automatic do its thing on its own. Assuming you've given in and gotten a slushbox with the manual mode, we're going to give you credit and assume you'll mostly choose the gears yourself. This brings up the question of which is the proper orientation? Wes and I got into a long debate about this ourselves, not being able to agree if it should follow the racer model of forward (away from you) for downshifts and towards you for upshifts, or do the inverse.


I tend to think that the inverse is more intuitive for those used to driving a manual, but I may be in the minority there. We could agree, however, that transmissions that include the paddles/buttons on the steering wheel should be oriented laterally (left/right) as opposed to forward/back. Wes ran into this problem with the 2009 BMW X6, which required pushing or pulling with no regard for horizontal layout, causing much confusion. Which is right? Why is Wes wrong? Why am I wrong? Why, why, why, why, why!?!


Rob Emslie

@qddave: @DonSchenck: Agreed, back is up - forward is down. Except in Australia.