It’s an age-old story: technology and its advancements may be adopted by the general public but there are always some who will mourn the passing of the old ways.
There are still those who insist that vinyl records are way superior than compact discs, never mind that even that medium will soon join the one it replaced and give way to the fully-digital media.
In much the same way, there are people who bemoan the fact that semi-auto transmissions are becoming the new standard in supercars and manual gearboxes are getting pretty rare.
Taking away the open-gate manual gearbox from Ferraris and Lamborghinis and replacing them with paddle shifters robs them of an essential part of their appeal. They cherish that “click-clack” sound when the chromed lever slots in the next gear and to hell the claim that losing a tenth of a second: these are very powerful and fast cars already, and driving them is mostly about the experience, not just speed.
Car & Driver’s associate editor Jethro Bovingdon flew to Italy and grabbed the keys to the cheapest, least powerful model in Lamborghini’s range: the Gallardo LP550-2.
As far as supercars go, this is pretty basic: rear-wheel drive, steel brakes, non-adjustable suspension and, of course, a manual gearbox. You can’t have the Gallardo’s rivals, the Ferrari 458 or the McLaren MP4-12C, in those specs. That’s because they are much younger than the decade-old Gallardo and loaded with the kind of tech that the average supercar buyer has come to expect these days.
Pushing the "baby Lambo" to its limits in one of Europe’s best roads for driving a supercar is not a bad way to find out whether the manual transmission supporters are Luddites or if, as they claim, it adds something to the whole experience.
You can Jethro having fun and learn his verdict in the video that follows right after the break.
By Andrew Tsaousis