The replacement for Lamborghini’s Gallardo, due next year, will come only with a slushbox. Granted, it’s a dual-clutch, paddle-shifted slushbox that will produce quicker and more precise shifts than a human ever can, but it’s still an automatic transmission. Gone is the stunningly beautiful machined shift gate, and gone is the satisfaction of a perfectly executed downshift. You’ll get better downshifts from a computer, but where’s the sense of accomplishment in having a silicon chip apply the exact amount of throttle to match revs in the next lowest gear?
Adding insult to injury is Maurizio Reggiani, director of R&D for Lamborghini. Reggiani told Motor Trend, “A manual transmission is a break in the electronic chain of command that harmonizes absolutely everything that happens between engine combustion chamber and tire patch. The only way Lamborghini can guarantee soothing smoothness in city driving or back-thumpingly explosive acceleration on a winding road is for every system in the car to be interconnected. You can’t rely on a driver to always shift gears without glitches.”
Allow me to interpret Reggiani’s statement for you: people who buy Lamborghinis aren’t drivers, and they’re more concerned with style and image than with achieving the perfect interface between man and machine. Lambo’s client base wants to sip their non-fat-half-caff-Americano while conference calling with their attorneys; they don’t care about mastering the delicate dance required to extract the last bit of performance out of a manual transmission. It isn’t just Lambo, either, since the current California will be the last Ferrari to come with a manual gearbox option.
I might point out that women aren’t cutting edge technology, either. After all, their design hasn’t changed for thousands of years, they’re overly complex and they require years of study to interface with proficiently. Using Reggiani’s logic, we should all go out and buy ourselves a RealDoll latex playmate, and perhaps a dog for companionship. It’s more efficient and far more logical than entering into relationships with the opposite sex.
As for me, I’ll keep my six-speed manual and my wife. You can have your slushbox, RealDoll and non-fat-half-caff-Americano.