This week from the MF Vault we’re re-visiting a couple of features we published last year giving opposing views on everyone’s favorite debate: auto vs manual. With a dramatically updated automatic coming with the F56 (to be introduced late next year) it’s perhaps a good time to renew our appreciation for that ever engaging piece of old-school technology know simply as “the stick”.

2011 MINI

It’s the right of passage many of us graduate to early in life that quickly becomes a badge of honor. It’s the subtle cue to another enthusiast that you’re serious about the art of driving and a student of automotive history. In my mind there are cars that require a manual.

The M3s, 911s or even MCS’ of the world just don’t seem as bare-chested with a pair of flappy paddles. And you know the moment. When you peer into either of those cars and see that dreaded auto knob. Your heart drops just a bit. If you’re a manual driver you care about that car. And you know it’s been wronged by someone who chose ease over interaction on the ordering spec (unless of course it’s a dedicated track car).

So let’s be clear about it. The entire idea is laced with testosterone, but you don’t actually need to be a man to own or drive one. You simply need an attitude (and maybe at least figurative attachments). It’s the option for control freaks who don’t mind a little serendipity. In short, it’s a way of life.

Sure you need a little insanity to look at today’s congested roads and choose a manual. But buying a new car with three pedals is a simple decision that separates those of us in the know from those of us unable to see through the monotony of daily life*.

Or just get two cars.

*Exclusions apply to anyone who cannot drive a manual due to injury or handicap.

**There at least a half dozen examples of DCT only cars (mostly exotic) that clearly interest us and don’t necessarily fall into either category above). That said we wished they came in manual form.