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Ferrari California – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you are a die-hard, old-school driving enthusiast who still prefers operating three pedals with your own two feet, we've got some news for you. As has been reported off and on for the past few years, Ferrari – in as vivid a sign of the times as when Kodak stopped selling film cameras – is phasing out the use of manual transmissions. That is, not before one last hurrah, though having a manual-equipped Ferrari comes with some drawbacks these days.

The California is slated to be the last Ferrari available with a traditional manual transmission. It's been over a year since the car's market introduction, during which time only the seven-speed dual clutch transmission has been available. But purists can now order the California with a real six-speed manual, complete with clutch pedal, double-cone synchros with multiple pawl asymmetric geometry and an oil bath fork and lever system.

It'll cost you though, if not in price then both performance and fuel economy. Compared to the sub-four second sprint to 60 miles per hour and the 17.8-mpg rating that the California achieves with its seven-speed DSG transmission, the manual-equipped model takes even the most skilled hands 4.2 seconds to get up to highway hustle while returning 15.8 miles per gallon.




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  • 88 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      How many people miss manual wipers or starting their car with a hand crank? In the future the same number will miss stick-shifts.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What you say would make sense if the sailboat had ceased to exist. Mark my words, there will always be a market for manual shift. Ferrari will realize their screw up the same way that BMW realized their screw up when they quit making boxer twin motorcycles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      One day I'll be that guy taking my grandkids to my garage, opening it up to a real american muscle car with a v8 and six speed on the floor, instead if these lame ass auto-whatever quiet electric hybrid bs with no driver interaction and fun factor. And on that day, I'll say "I remember the days, when cars ran on gasoline, and you could actually drive them"
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have a lotus exige and an s2000; both are manual. I also have a truck (fx35), which is automatic. When I do not want to shift manually, I drive my truck :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Some people still use typewriters... you see, you have ultimate control over how well the letter will be pressed on a sheet of paper. With computer and printer... you can "preset" everything but where's joy in that....

      Grow up. A racing car is supposed to be fast. If it's faster with a DSG box, than it's better. End of story. Not to mention the fact that DSGs have not one but two clutches.

      A side note. Most people here confuse driving manual and being in control with "shifting at the red line". And most people who drive manuals actually cannot drive them properly.

      I'm a car enthusiast and I like technology. If you make new technologies work for a car then why not use them if they're much better than and achieve much better results. That includes DSG, ABS, DSC etc.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Some people confuse speed and acceleration with finesse. A two speed 60's powerglide car will out accelerate a four speed manual 60's car easily to 100 mph because it only shifts once instead of 3 times, but it is really a boring car to drive... Why not lobby for a CVT in a Ferrari using the same thoughts that the car will be more efficient and accelerate better and not require the annoyance of learning a skill? Because it is a sesual experience to hear a 12 cylinder car downshifting at the limit and it is a great feeling to master a complex task. That is why they don't make windsurfers with a 12 foot beam so that you won't get really soaked learning how. That is why everyone is not a car racer. If everyone can do it, why would you want to?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @mitchw : that's quite possible. See the discussion about re-introducing manual transmissions in Formula 1 here : http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2010/03/getting-rid-of-aero-in-f1-the-counterargument/
      • 5 Years Ago
      Give me Three Pedals or Give me Death!
      • 5 Years Ago
      All those complaining about needing a clutch to have, probably never driven a modern dual-clutch automated manual, with paddle-shifting.

      Those, like me, who have, *KNOW* how much fun it is to feel the 50msec up and down shifts. We also know how much fun it is to always and instantly be in the right gear, because shifting with both hands on the steering wheel is so much more effective. We also know how much fun it is to be able to put 400 or 500 HP to the pavement on the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts, because we have both hands on the wheel for the needed minute directional corrections.

      3-second class 0-60MPH cars can't be "effectively" and "reliably" manually shifted. Ferrari knows that, the buyers of newer Ferraris know that, and that is why no one is ordering or buying manuals anymore.

      Jaguar and many other high-end performance brands have already gone 100% automated.

      That is the right decision. And drivers that want to feel the joy of driving a machine close to its ultimate capability welcome that.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Ha ha ha, 'Jaguar and many other brands have gone fully automated' - OK so there's 1 brand, who focuses mainly on powerful *luxurious* GT cruisers rather than flat-out performance cars. How many Zonda's have a slushbox? How about about Spyker, Morgan, Lotus, Gumpert, TVR, Porsche GT2/GT3, Corvette ZR1, Koenigsegg, Zenvo, etc. All manuals - not to save microseconds, but to engage the driver. Even the new Honda CR-Z hybrid is selling with a stick - they wouldn't bother in a hybrid if it was useless.

        Ferrari is fading out of super and hyper cars and into a hollywood, exotic GT mentality. Footballers and film directors can't be bothered to shift gears, it tends to spill the frappuccino. Buyers who desire a pure driving machine are dropping into any of the half-dozen new startup supercar companies, or just getting a Porsche GT. It isn't about 0-60 anymore, that is marketing gimmickery. Nobody with any shred of intelligence goes and

        Unless you're on a track and need absolute maximum efficiency in shifting gears, I can afford to take the extra few milliseconds out of my life to enjoy the feeling of the gear take up as I let up the clutch, feeling the revs match perfectly around a sharp bend.

        Read any review on the Audi R8 with the gated manual, try and find one that says it isn't a joy to drive. How about Car and Driver comparing a 430 Scuderia to an R8 5.2 V10 with 'gated manual'...

        "Our enthusiasm for the V-10 was probably helped along by the old-fashioned, honest-to-God manual transmission of our test car, a refreshing change from the computer-controlled, automated manual transmission that has become nearly omnipresent in this class of car. Guiding the shifter through the six-speed’s gates and using a clutch pedal provides direct, human control over the gearbox, making for a closer relationship with the V-10 than would paddle shifters alone. Exploiting the 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque is that much more satisfying without a layer of computer interference. "
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed, it seems all the complainers are missing the point. These aren't slush boxes. You still have all the advantages of a manual without having to engage and disengage the clutch. A regular automatic, yeah leave that in the camry and keep it away from real cars. My left foot doesn't have to be constantly doing something for me to enjoy high performance driving. Having tasted progress and the future, I'll never go back to automatic or standard manual again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You presume a great deal by saying manual drivers are luddites who
        haven't tasted the fruits of an automated future. I would think that
        many manual drivers are enthusiasts who have gone out of their way to
        try out various auto-manuals. Most auto drivers have never tried to
        drive stick, let alone master it.

        Let's face it, most drivers are the weak link in a modern car's performance. Giving them an automatic just makes them suck slightly less. If performance numbers is the measuring stick, they would likely see greater gains by going to the track for some one on one training, than adding a trick gearbox or another 100hp under the hood. Despite attending many driving schools and track events, I, like most people, am a work in progress. And yet I would like to remain more involved in driving by having a stickshift in most situations. The ultimate in efficiency for the sake of lap times is great at the track, but IMHO rather dull on a canyon road. And yes, I have most if not all the transmissions in question, so I can speak from direct experience. :)

        I think from a manufacturer standpoint, the rush to automatics (in all their forms) has been to enhance fuel economy and emissions (easier to control fuel maps), make it easier to program stability and traction control devices (fewer parameters, more control over the situation), pay out fewer warranty claims, and make the often less critical (but cash flush) aspirational drivers feel good about themselves without putting any effort into it. Marketing spins it as a connection to racing (racing drivers aren't paid to have fun), and everyone who has wanted a justification to choose an auto or wants to identify themselves with race car drivers, gets to feel good about their choice.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Manual Labor: 3-pedal Ferrari California slower, less efficient..." , but more fun to drive.

      I like most people, I am not purchasing a car to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans, I am purchasing a car like this mainly to enjoy driving. So, I am a few tenths slower to 60. Big deal, I want to have fun.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sea Urchin, you can flap your paddles all day long. It just isn't the same. Let me have the clutch and whatever gear I select.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Paul,

        For me it is none of those, it is actually:

        4) grew up driving dirtbikes and then motorcycles. Can drive both foot-clutch and hand-clutch just fine, but prefer both hands on the hanldebars at all times, whether the handlebar is a half-curve or a full-curve.

        5) also had a go-cart, which means I left-foot brake. Adding the 3rd pedal doesn't really do anything for me, so why bother.

        .... i.e. a stick is not more fun for everyone, even those that know how to do it properly.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Less efficient really? What a shame because the first thing on any potential Ferrari buyer's mind is practicality..

        I'm going to have to agree with Jake on this one. The only way to fully enjoy any car, especially one so beautifully engineered as a Ferrari is to drive it with a traditional three pedal MT. It's a more satisfying drive in every way and more than worth the slightly worse gas mileage and few tenths of a second to 60 (17.8 mpg isn't exactly incredible to begin with and 4.2 seconds to 60 is still very impressive and very fun).

        I'm disappointed in a lot of the so-called automotive enthusiasts on this site.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ bluesky_v2.01 , realistically speaking , a guy who can afford a 458 would not use it for the daily commute.

        i understand why manufacturers want to kill the manual option. the last manual Ferrari will mark the end of an era, it may mean nothing to a lot of car fans, but it's a sad day for all the manual fan "dinosaurs".
        • 5 Years Ago
        "less efficient" ?!?!?!? Only because it doesn't have a really steep highway gear like the 7 speed slushbox. There is NO WAY that thing can be more efficient, given identical gear ratios.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Sea Urchin , paying for sex is a lot easier to do than seducing a woman and then have sex with her , but a lot of people still prefer the method that requires more skill.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A BIG +1 here!
        • 5 Years Ago
        But can't you do the same with paddle shifters? They are right there at your finger tips.

        It's like you saying why save a file on a hard drive without any issues when you can have way more fun coding all those files to the 8 inch floppy disk. It's time to move on, most people do not even know how to drive them and the alternative is better.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's a shame, not really sure what Ferrari is thinking here. These are road cars, not race cars. If you are the business of making sport cars, then you should at least offer the manual to those who want it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ sparrk

        Dude you just converted me. Shame on Ferrari.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks for +1 katshot, really appreciate it. At least some one agrees with me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Why they don't make the CL6, with a clutch, and if you don't smoke, why the hell you reachin for my dutch"

        Wise words from Jadakiss. To think, even rappers thought this sad almost 10 years ago.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It is simply more fun to drive. I have driven both and even the nicest paddle shift slush boxes are not as fun. With a true manual you have every one of your limbs engaged with the car; your left foot handling the clutch, Right foot on the accelerator and brake, left hand handling the twisties, and right hand sliding the gears through mechanical bliss. It just doesn't get any more pure. I'm also partial to rear wheel drive...so obviously I am not a Godzilla fan.

        With all that said I feel it is necessary for the advancement in tech, but I still prefer the old school. I ride a fixed gear bicycle when I could get a single speed or 21 speed road bike. Does this mean I'm living in the past? Should I purchase Nike Shox because they are more advanced, or can I buy the classic Nike Zoom Jasari? It is personal taste so some of you need to start attacking everyone tat doesn't agree with you.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Going 0-60 faster isnt fun? A few tenths in a time that short is a lot and you will definitely will feel it when you get on the on ramp or bolt from a stop light. For me a manual is pretty low on my priorities for a "fun" car, I value acceleration and handling a lot more than a clutch.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm beginning to think people who poo-poo manuals are people who don't know how to drive them.

        Manual isn't hard in traffic. I've slogged through snarled traffic in LA, the hilly streets of San Francisco. And even in the midst of that I *still* have more fun in manual.

        Automatic puts me to sleep. I feel less connected with the car, which is the key issue.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seriously? Is Ferrari building race cars, instead of street machines? I don't care one whit whether one is a few tenths faster than the other, if I can't manage gear transitions and timing on my own, I might as well be driving a mini-van. Ok, ok, that's an exaggeration, but for me at least, it's close to the truth.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What will happen with the good old days when you could rev up your ride to get the ladies attention over at the strip.

      Manual is much more than loosing thenths of seconds, it's just like riding a motorcycle, you either like it or you don't. it's more about the driver not the performance on paper.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A few points:

      1 - If you have never driven a modern dual-clutch vehicle, zip it. You have no clue what you're talking about--especially if you are thinking this is like an auto-slushbox with paddles.

      2 - Humans suck at changing gears. Yes, I know you are thinking "well, everyone except me, because I am the God of all things heel'n'toe". Wrong. I mean you. You are way harder on clutches, way harder on the engine, way harder on the transmission than the computer. And slower.

      3 - The argument "but it's more fun" has some weight, but due to point #2, there will come a day when the ALL of the most desirable supercars are only available with a dual clutch automated tranny. Deal with it. Buy a Miata. Then go home and listen to your vinyl records...watch a few episodes of your favorite B&W TV show....fax your mother a letter and finish off with a rousing game of Pong.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Rehashing some of the same arguments as when ABS came along "I'll do the brake modulation myself, thank you", or when Power Steering came to sports car, or when traction control came about, etc, etc, etc.

      I happened to think that BOTH manual transmissions with a clutch pedal AND automated multi clutch manuals with shift paddles are fun in different ways. But having driven both on and off track, I'd go with the automated manuals for all my cars.

      The lightning fast up shifts and lighting fast rev matched downshifts controlled by me or computer are *A LOT OF FUN*. And very effective and efficient.

      Being able to fee the texture of the road and the side movements of the car under full acceleration or braking with both hands on the wheel (vs just my left hand with a manual) is *A LOT OF FUN*. And very effective and rewarding.

      Sure - if you are driving an econobox - like most here are (I suspect) - yes - the only fun to be had is fooling around with the clutch pedal.

      But for tuned, high-powered cars, with fast acceleration, braking and turning capabilities - it's both hands on the wheel, fluid acceleration, braking and connected corners that win the day.

      *AND* when my girlfriend wants to have my right hand all to herself on a leisure drive - SHE CAN HAVE IT.

      ;)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not that I'm going to be purchasing a Ferrari anytime soon, ok let's make that never, but the vehicle that I purchase to keep a long time will have a proper manual transmission with a clutch pedal.

      I don't want to have to worry when that automatic goes out that it's going to be a few thousand dollars to repair it.
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