As North American drivers of cars in all segments continue to steer away from having to shift gears themselves, Jaguar says it will offer its forthcoming XE compact sedan here with a manual transmission.
The news comes to us via Car and Driver, who heard it from the source – Jaguar North America boss Joe Eberhardt – that the brand is happy with the 10-to-20 percent stick shift take-rate in the F-Type sports car, and says that’s good enough to justify doing a manual XE, too. We can expect to the see the manual in the base XE 25t, matched to a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder.
Being that just about every upscale compact has one of those these days, let’s look at which of the XE’s competitors can still be had with a stick shift.
Even BMW having moved away from making a manual part of the basic 3 Series package; instead, it’s a no-cost option over the automatic that has been standard kit for a few years. If BMW believes the manual is on its way out, what kind of future can there be for three-pedal cars? For what it’s worth, the 3 Series offers a stick in the 320i, 328i, and 335i, but only the six-cylinder 335i can combine stick shift and all-wheel drive.
Cadillac takes a similar tack: the ATS with its 2.0L turbo motor comes standard with an automatic, but a manual is a no-cost option.
Audi seems more optimistic. Every quattro-equipped Audi A4 comes with a six-speed (the basic front-drive model uses a continuously variable automatic), with an automatic as a more-money option.
Believers are few, however: other XE competitors, like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60, Acura TLX, Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50, are sold with naught but automatics here.