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Can You Still Get a Luxury Car With a Manual Transmission?

Years ago, it was easy to find a wide range of luxury cars with manual transmissions, as they were offered by virtually every manufacturer — from BMW and Audi to Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. But that’s no longer the case: If you’re interested in buying a luxury car with a stick shift, you’ve probably already figured out that there aren’t many options left. In fact, you might be wondering if there are any at all. We did a little research, and here’s what we discovered.

No More Manuals

A few high-end car brands are out of the manual transmission game entirely. Such brands include Acura, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln and Volvo. If you want three pedals in your next luxury car, you’ll want to forego visiting one of those brands’ dealerships.

Down to One

A few luxury automakers are down to just one stick shift model in their entire product lineup. In the world of Mercedes-Benz, for instance, you can only get a stick shift in the base-level SLK250 roadster. To get an Infiniti with a manual transmission, you have to opt for the Q60S Coupe — and there’s some chance that model won’t retain its manual when it’s redesigned next year. Finally, Cadillac’s sole manual transmission is offered in the ATS, while Buick only offers a stick shift in front-wheel-drive versions of its sporty Regal GS.

The Last Stick Shifts Standing

Fortunately for drivers who like to row their own gears, a few other luxury brands still offer a wider variety of manual transmission models.

Despite Porsche’s lightning-quick dual-clutch PDK automatic, for instance, the famed German sports car manufacturer still offers three pedals in each of its sports cars: the Boxster, the Cayman and the 911. Manual transmissions are also still widely available in the BMW lineup, as the sporty luxury brand offers the feature in most versions of its Z4 roadster, 2 Series, 3 Series sedan and 4 Series coupe — including the high-performance M3 and M4. It’s the same story over at MINI, where you can get a stick shift with nearly all the automaker’s premium hatchbacks. And Audi still offers three pedals in the A4 and A5, along with their sporty S4 and S5 counterparts.

Our Take

These days, "luxury car" seems synonymous with "automatic transmission" — and given the level of refinement (and quick-shifting capabilities) of today’s automatic gearboxes, it’s easy to see why.

Still, if you’re one of the few drivers out there looking for three pedals in your next luxury car, there are still a few available options to choose from. Our only advice: Be prepared for a slightly lower resale value, as luxury cars with automatic transmissions tend to be in higher demand than stick-shift models.

Related Manual Transmission Articles:

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated for accuracy since it was originally published.


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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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