It truly is a dark day for American luxury car buyers. First, we lost the Jaguar XE and XF Sportbrake, and now Mercedes-Benz executives have reportedly determined that the development of manual transmission in its cars is too expensive, so the company won’t make any more. The Mercedes manual is dead.
Automotive journalist Greg Kable tweeted a quote from Marcus Schaeffer, the current boss of Mercedes-Benz research and development, claiming cost-cutting measures led to the decision to ax the stick:
Jalopnik reached out to Mercedes to confirm the statement and will update when we get more information.
Mercedes hasn’t sold a manual transmission on a car in the U.S. since the death of the 2015 SLK 250, so this news will only actually be a big deal for the Europeans and the rest of the globe. But still, finding a wacky Mercedes you’d never dream of seeing back home getting its gearbox thrashed by a cab driver while traveling out of the states is a treasured experience, one that shouldn’t be retired. Good thing there are likely still millions of them on the road. It’s also sad to know we can stop asking if we’ll ever get another manual Mercedes in the U.S. because the answer is now a pretty clear no.
The other stuff, like the claim of a “very dramatic reduction in combustion engines,” aren’t all that surprising. Mercedes has been developing new hybrid and electric drivetrains for years, so to see EVs finally start to replace some of the wide variety of gas and diesel engines the German automaker currently offers across its vast lineup actually makes sense. Just as long as that new mild-hybrid inline-six engine sticks around a while longer.
Perhaps it’s that electrification of the lineup that also pushes harder against the rather romantic notion of a manual transmission. What good is a manual if your car has an electric motor with its own gearing or max a two-speed transmission like on the Porsche Taycan? One or two speeds should just be automatic, I have to admit. Then again, an electric car with engineered gearing that is manually operated by the driver would be cool—it just doesn’t seem very Mercedes.