10 of the most powerful manual transmission cars on the market

The manual transmission is on the way out as automakers scramble to ensure their cars meet emissions regulations. In some countries with less restrictive regulations, automakers still offer manual transmissions in their high-end cars, such as Chevrolet in the Camaro ZL1 in the United States.

Other automakers have a long history with the manual transmission and do their best to keep the tradition alive, having it as the standard transmission in some versions of their cars – such as Porsche with their 911 and 718 sports cars. Still clings to a manual transmission for the normal M3 and M4, however, the more powerful Competition versions of these cars are only available with an automatic.

Soon, the manual transmission is likely to disappear altogether, leaving us with gearshifts with mostly semi-automatics, CVTs, or no transmission at all for most EVs – which seems like a pretty bleak automotive future.

ten Porsche 718 GT4 (414 hp)


2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4
By: Porsche

The Porsche 718 GT4 is the most track-focused version of the 911 mini-me, the 718. Unlike 911 models in a similar price range, the 718 GT4 features the glorious 4.0-liter aspirated flat-6 natural, producing 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque.


Porch 718 Cayman - side
Via Porsche Media

No, it’s not the most powerful track car currently on sale, however, the fact that it has a manual transmission mated to the flat-6 definitely makes it one of the most desirable cars in the lineup. Porsche.

Related: We’d Buy The Porsche 718 Cayman Over Any Of These Sports Cars

9 Lotus Evora GT (416 hp)


2021-Lotus-Evora-GT-1
Via YTBocah: YouTube

The Lotus Evora GT, like the Porsche 718 GT4, is a more track-focused version of the normal Evora. It comes with a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter supercharged V6, producing 416 hp to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox.


Lotus Evora GT - Front quarter
Via Lotus Media

The Evora GT has a bit more carbon and aero parts than the 718 GT4, but it’s a great car. The sound of the supercharged V6 is intoxicating and having a manual transmission in such a light and tactile car is a gearhead’s dream.

8 Porsche 911 (420 hp)


Porsche 911 Carrera S - Front
Via CarPixel

The Porsche 911 is arguably the best sports car on the market and Porsche improves it with each new generation. The 911 comes standard with a 7-speed manual, but the 8-speed PDK semi-automatic is available at no extra cost – one of the few automakers to do so.


Porsche 911 Carrera S - Rear
Via CarPixel

The most powerful 911 available with a manual transmission is the Carrera S and 4S, which features a 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-6, producing 420 hp to the rear wheels only (S) or all four wheels (4S). The 911 Carrera S might be a bit pricey as a sports car, but it can easily keep up with more expensive cars.


seven BMW M2 Competition (444 hp)


the-new-competition-bmw-m2-via-BMW-Group
Through the BMW Group

The BMW M2 took the world by storm when it was launched and was hailed as the best M car of the last decade. During its production, BMW updated it in various ways, the most impressive being the creation of the M2 Competition.


bmw-m2-comp-ascari-social-image-via-BMW-M
Via BMW M

The car featured the 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-6 from the larger M4, producing 444bhp, while going to the rear wheels only via a choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or a DCT transmission at 8 speeds. Having the engine from the M4 weighs the M2 competition down to more rivals, which just goes to show that a little David can take on the Goliath giants of the automotive industry – and still do well.

Related: 10 Things We Love About The BMW M2 Competition

6 BMW M3 (473 hp)


2021-bmw-m3
via Edmunds

The current generations of BMW M3 and M4 both have a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6 ​​producing 473 hp. The M3 and M4 are available with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard. However, the manual is not available in the more powerful Competition specification.


2021-bmw-m3
via Edmunds

The manual is only available with the cheaper M3 and M4 sDrive, as the xDrive versions all come with the 8-speed automatic as standard. Nonetheless, the M3 sedan is still one of the coolest cars currently on sale, not to mention that it’s probably the best sports sedan on the market.


5 Ford Mustang Mach 1 (480 hp)


Mustang Mach 1 2021 blue
Via: NetCarShow.Com

The Ford Mustang Mach 1 was built not only to revive the Mach 1 name, but also to replace the short-lived Mustang Bullit Special Edition. The Mach 1 features the 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8 from the standard Mustang GT, although it has been boosted to 480 hp.


White 2021 Mustang Mach 1 with classic Mustang Mach 1s
Via: NetCarShow

The Mach 1 is available with either a 6-speed manual transmission for spirited and involved driving experiences, or with the company’s extremely efficient 10-speed automatic.

Related: Ford Mustang Mach 1 Drag Races Two Porsche Caymans in Europe

4 Aston Martin Vantage (503 hp)


AM 6 Atlanta September 2017 Photo: Drew Gibson

The Aston Martin Vantage is a car designed to take on the Porsche 911 at its own game. The car has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 borrowed from Mercedes and produces 503 hp. All power is sent to the rear wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission.


The Aston Martin Vanatge.
Via: Aston Martin

However, Aston Martin launched the Vantage with a 7-speed manual transmission, so the manual car has slightly less power and torque than the automatic. This is due to the transmission’s torque limitations, but it adds a sportier edge to this generally luxurious coupe. The Aston Martin Vantage is also the only way to get the AMG twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 mated to a manual transmission.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition

3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 (650 hp)


2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Via: Cadillac Media

The ZL1 is the top-of-the-line Camaro and features a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The transmission options available for the ZL1 are either the trusted 10-speed semi-automatic or a 6-speed manual, which makes the Camaro a great car. The engine produces 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, propelling the ZL1 from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. Not bad for a manual transmission.


2020-Chevrolet-Camaro-ZL1
source: wsupercars

The Camaro ZL1 is down in horsepower compared to its direct muscle car competitors, like the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Shelby Mustang GT500, though it could still keep up with them. If the ZL1 1LE package is checked off the options list, the whole car is transformed into a more track-focused V8 monster capable of lapping the Nürburgring around 20 seconds faster than the GT500 and almost 30 seconds faster. than the Challenger Hellcat.

2 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing (668 hp)


2022-Cadillac-CT5-V-Blackwing-Super-sedan
Via: NetCarShow

The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is one of the coolest cars released in recent years. It’s basically a Chevy Camaro ZL1, but with a luxurious sedan body. It has the same supercharged 6.2-liter V8 – this time boosted to 668 hp and 659 lb-ft of torque – all of which go to the rear wheels only. This results in a powerful gliding monster that can scare M badges out of an M5.


Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing - Front
Via NetCarShow

The CT5-V Blackwing is quite possibly the last of America’s big V8 super sedans to get a manual before they all continued down their engine downsizing path – until they were finally all electric. So let’s enjoy the CT5-V Blackwing while it lasts.

1 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat (717 hp)


Red 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
through Dodge

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has been updated for the 2021 model year and therefore features a slightly upgraded 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8. Where it usually produced 707 horsepower, it now produces 717 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. This makes the Challenger Hellcat the most powerful production car currently on sale with a manual transmission.


Black 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
through Dodge

Unfortunately, only the less powerful Hellcat-powered Challenger is available with the manual, as the Redeye, Redeye Widebody, Super Stock and Jailbreak are all only available with the 8-speed automatic. It’s a shame Dodge doesn’t offer a manual transmission on its most powerful Challenger, but you can still find a manual Hellcat on the used-car market.


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