I'm going to take a lot of heat for what I'm about to say. While no manufacturer can expressly admit it, behind closed doors, deep within the bunkers in Detroit, Munich, Stuttgart, and Tokyo, most engineers will nod in agreement. With enough soul searching, quite a few of my fellow automotive writers will find themselves agreeing, too.
The visceral allure of the manual transmission as we know and love it isn't dying. It's dead, and has been for a long time. We were just too busy trying to save it to notice. Today's manual transmissions are little more than a status symbol, a romanticized piece of performance heritage kept on life support by the misplaced devotion of car guys. The time has come for them to go. There. I've said it.
Go ahead and call me a blasphemer, a traitor to the cause of the Manual Transmission Preservation Society, a car guy non grata. I tore myself to shreds to reach this conclusion. I threw out everything I thought I believed about cars and found what's at the core of the third pedal's existential crisis: our own delusion of purity. Forget superior performance and fuel economy; those flew out the window a long time ago. Instead, the manual has continued to rest on its laurels as the most pure driving experience. In truth, it's an illusion, and it's time to face reality.