Every model year that passes, we have fewer and fewer new car options shipping with manual transmissions. This is becoming even more apparent and worrisome as we approach the age of the EV takeover. It might not matter to most, but to us enthusiasts, a grim future is quickly approaching where we won't be able to row through our own gears. Luckily, there are still a few manufacturers willing to go against the grain and offer manual transmissions in their 2020 vehicle lineup.
1. BMW M2
What's there to say about the BMW M2 that hasn't been said before? Since its release, it has been the recipient of every award there is to win and spoken highly of by every notable outlet out there. Pictured above is the BMW M2 Competition which ships with 405hp and 406lb-ft of torque, propelling it to 60mph in just 4.2 seconds.
If the M2 is out of reach, you're in luck; it's not the only 2-series that ships with a manual. You can find the same gearbox as the M2 in the BMW 230i Coupe as well as the M240i Coupe and Convertible.
2. BMW M3
If you didn't see, BMW has been running their G80 M3 test mules around the Nürburgring-Nordschleife recently.
It was just announced that 2020 BMW G80 M3 will ship with the option of DCT or 6-speed manual transmission. Both options will come paired to the new S58 3-liter inline-six engine that puts out 473hp. When the "Competition" option becomes available, that will push out 502hp. Oddly enough, one of the biggest pieces of news here though isn't the fact that it still comes with the manual, but that this is the first M3 ever to be offered with optional all-wheel-drive.
3. MINI Cooper JCW & GP
The 2020 MINI Cooper JCW and GP will continue to be shipped with manual transmissions. With how fun Minis are to drive, it would be a crime not to offer it in their most enthusiast-oriented models. Pictured above, the 2020 MINI Cooper GP took to the Nordschleife, set out to break its previous record—and it did so by a minimum of 23 seconds.
Like the previous generation of the GP, the 2020 GP will be a limited production run of only 3,000 worldwide. It's set to ship with 300hp provided by MINI's "TwinPower Turbo Technology." With how much the previous generation GP has appreciated in value, you can expect this batch of 3000 to get scoffed up pretty quickly.
Update 11/20/19: Today MINI officially announced the GP and scheduled a release date. To the surprise of everyone, as of now, the GP will only be shipping with an 8-speed Steptronic gearbox. The standard JCW will continue to be shipped with a proper manual transmission, however.
4. Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster
When the Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster first released, its new horizontally-opposed flat-four engine was a polarizing subject—often being compared to the likes of Subaru. It didn't take long for the 718s to start racking up the accolades which are still coming in three years after its initial release.
Both the 2020 Cayman and Boxster are offered with an optional manual transmission even though their PDK is arguably the best transmission on the market. Pictured above is the Cayman GT4 which is Porsche's newest addition to the 718 lineup. It comes with 414hp and reaches 60mph in 4.2 seconds.
5. Porsche 911
We all hope that this car continues to make this list for as long as it continues to be produced—the Porsche 911 is easily the most iconic car on the list. From its inception in 1963 until today, a manual transmission has always been the way.
Although not all of the models are offered with a manual (like the GT3 and GT3 RS), there are still plenty of models that are still offered with one. Fortunately, the Porsche PDK is the one the very few transmissions we'd take over a manual.
6. Volkswagen GTI
There's not a lot to say about the VW GTI that we haven't already said. We have a MK7 GTI project car in our shop along with two GTI TCRs that we campaign in TC America, so we definitely like them.
Not a lot has yet been confirmed about the 2021 MK8 VW GTI (yes, we're going to have to wait an extra year here for the MK8), but we do know that it will have a manual as an option. As of now, it looks like the MK8 GTI will feature the same 2.0-liter inline-four pushing out between 250hp and 285hp depending on the trim.
7. Volkswagen Jetta GLI
Probably one of the most overlooked cars on this list, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI has been sneaking under the manual-toting radar for years.
The 2020 Jetta GLI is for all intents and purposes, a GTI crushed down into the form of a sedan. It shares the chassis and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as the GTI and puts out 228hp and 258lb-ft of torque. If for some reason you don't want it with the six-speed manual, it's offered with VW's exceptional DSG transmission as well.
Hopefully, you're like us and will continue to buy new cars with manual transmissions as long as they're offered. The fewer people that do, the sooner we will see our options disappear. At least we'll always have used cars to turn to.
Writer/Editor at FCP Euro and owner of a daily R53 MINI Cooper, a track-built R53 MINI, and a 1997 Dakar Yellow E36 M3 Sedan. ••• Instagram: @evan.madore