The Best Cars That Still Offer a Manual Transmission

Saving the manuals, one sports car at a time.

The brilliant new Shelby GT350 is arguably the performance bargain of the century. It can embarrass thoroughbread sports cars that cost way more. Even a loaded GT350R at $65,195 is reasonable.

  Just avoid dealer markups on early production examples.

Though it may seem the manual transmission is fading away from new cars, there are still a bunch of great options out there. Here are some of your favorites.

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Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

2018 is the last year you can buy a Shelby GT350 before the car goes out of production. If you're on the fence about owning one, we say go for it. It has a seriously exotic flat-plane crank V8 engine, and it's one of the few performance cars out there that doesn't even have an option for an automatic transmission.

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Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Unlike many exotic manufacturers, Chevy isn't shy about offering a manual transmission in its top-spec, 700-horsepower supercar. The Corvete ZR1 has a massively powerful supercharged V8 and tons of aero pieces, but can still be purchased with three pedals.

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Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Unlike the normal ZL1, which can be optioned with a 10-speed auto, the hardcore, track-ready 1LE is manual only. That should tell you something about how Chevy approaches its performance cars.

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Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86

Like the Miata, the BRZ and 86 put enjoyment over pure speed, and the result is a wonderful little coupe with tons of smile-inducing abilities. The manual is a no-brainer for anyone planning to enjoy this car to the fullest.

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Subaru WRX STI

Though some may fault the STI's aging powertrain, we can't help but love it. Plus, the only gearbox Subaru offers is a clicky six-speed manual—even in the top-spec Type RA.

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DW Burnett/Puppyknuckles
Mazda MX-5 Miata

What list of new manual cars would be complete without the best of them all, the Miata? Specially developed for driver enjoyment, the six-speed unit is wonderful to use and worlds more engaging than the optional torque converter automatic.

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Matt Tierney
Porsche 911 GT3

With the introduction of the new GT3 back in 2014, enthusiasts were shocked to see the disappearance of the manual as an option. Enough people complained that Porsche brought the manual back for 2018. Unsurprisingly, it's fantastic.

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Fiat 500 Abarth

The Fiat 500 Abarth has been around for several years now, and as such, are getting some serious markdowns on dealer lots. For the price, it's one of the cheapest fun manual cars you can buy.

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DW Burnett/Puppyknuckles
Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

If you want a new Miata with a turbocharger, the 124 Spider Abarth is the closest you'll be able to get. It's nearly as great to drive as the Miata too, with a bunch of added Italian flair.

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The sleekness of the M6 Gran Coupe alone should have a smartly-dressed and neatly-preened driver to match. BMW dropped the screaming V10 and went instead with a twin-turbocharged V8, which is a little more subtle but still powerful. You wouldn't want to draw too much attention to yourself as a villain, right?
BMW M6 Gran Coupe

In case you may have forgotten, yes, BMW still makes the M6 Gran Coupe. While the last-gen M5 has been discontinued, the drivetrain can still be sourced here with a good old fashioned six-speed. This makes it the most powerful new four-door car you can buy with a manual transmission.

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BMW M3 / M4

If you want a car that can do it all, it's hard to argue with the BMW M3 and M4 twins. Even with a manual transmission, it's easy to drive to work everyday, and you can just as easily hit the track on the weekends.

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The M2 is BMW's most enjoyable M car in years, and a lot of that has to do with the manual transmission option. Sure, the dual-clutch is quicker, but there's something about driving a small BMW with a stick that can't be beat.

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<p>The first Volkswagen GTI, made back in 1984, was the granddaddy of an entire generation of hot hatchbacks and sport compacts. It wasn't rocket-quick, but it provided the kind of visceral driving experience that previously was available only on more expensive cars. The GTI remains one of the world's best inexpensive speed machines, but VW now offers a performance notch above the GTI called the Golf R. For around $37,000 it comes with a potent turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder tuned to 292 hp.</p><p>The Golf R shares many of its components with the Audi S3. The difference is that only the Golf R comes with a manual transmission. Choosing the stick shifter will save you $1,100 over the DSG automatic. That's right, purists, the Golf R is cheaper. Now if we can just get the Golf R in the new Sportwagon bodystyle like they have in Europe with a manual. We'd break out our checkbook.</p><p>Base Price: $35,650<br></p>
Volkswagen Golf R

For the newest generation of Golf R, buyers have a choice between a six-speed manual and a DSG dual-clutch automatic. Though the DSG is certainly faster and easier, we'd still recommend the manual. What hot hatch would be complete without a stick shift, after all?

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Jeep Wrangler

If off-roading is more your style, then it's difficult not to recommend the Wrangler. Unlike pretty much every other new off-road vehicle out there, it can still be purchased with a manual transmission.

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Porsche 718 Cayman / Boxster

The newest iteration of Porsche's entry-level mid-engine sports cars may no longer have the wonderful flat-six engines of years past, but they can still be optioned with three pedals. We think that's more important, anyway.

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Matt Tierney
Cadillac ATS-V

Cadillac just discontinued the ATS sedan, but the two-door coupe version is still available, manual transmission and all. It's one of the best-handling cars in its class, and it looks awesome.

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When the second cheapest car on the list is the most powerful, you've got a heck of a deal on your hands. Dodge took the muscle car game to the next level with the 707-hp Challenger and Charger Hellcat.

 The Charger Hellcat is actually the fastest sedan in the world with a top speed of 204 mph. It's a lot cheaper than an M5, too.
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

While the Dodge ChallengerDemon has gone auto-only for the sake of quarter-mile times, the original Hellcat can be had with a manual transmission behind the 707-horsepower supercharged V8 engine.

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Ford's ultimate-performance Focus, the RS model, has eluded buyers here in the US for fifteen years. But for 2016, the rally-bred super hatch is no longer only for Europe. Even better news: This built-in-Germany monster with 315 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque will come only with a manual. That should keep this machine in the hands of those that appreciate its capabilities.
 This newest Focus RS should be very capable on the track. It's advanced all-wheel drive system, which can route up to 70 percent of the engine's torque to the rear axle, should create exciting handling. We can't wait to slide behind the wheel.
 Base Price: $36,000 (est.)
Ford Focus RS

The Focus RS is sticking around for at least a little while longer, and nowadays, you can find pretty good deals on cars sitting on dealer lots. Better act fast before they're gone forever.

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Ford Focus ST

If you can't swing the price of the RS, but still want an extremely fun Focus, don't worry, the ST is still available as well. Whether you go ST or RS, a manual transmission is the only gearbox available.

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Ford Fiesta ST

If you're looking for the most fun new small car out there, the Fiesta ST is where it's at. You can still buy them new from dealerships in 2018, and we think it's one of the greatest new cars on sale, period.

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Brian Silvestro
Lotus Evora 400

There's a lot to love about the Evora 400. It's amazing to drive, looks great, and sounds wonderful. Though an automatic is available, the six-speed manual is the only transmission you should bother with.

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Honda Civic Type R

Honda finally decided to bring the Type R badge back to America for the newest Civic hatch, and unsurprisingly, it's a hit. And yes, it's manual-only.

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new 2018 honda accord pictures
Honda Accord 2.0T

If you need some sensibility in your life, but still want all the fun of the Type R's powertrain, don't worry, Honda offers a detuned version of the Civic's 2.0-liter turbo four in the Accord, equipped with an option six-speed manual. Truly a modern sleeper.

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