You're right, I left out BMW. My brother had several including an M3, they were all manual and I drove them all. The BMW manual transmissions were no different to me than any of the others listed. The BMW is a nicer driving car.
I said somewhere in this thread that my number one concern with a car is reliability and longevity. I agree, a BMW is a better driving car. Again my number one concern is reiliability and longevity. Benz has that, if my brothers cars have been any indication, BMW does not. To start with, for my 60,000 mile per year purposes, most BMW's have timing belts. I'll take a chain over a belt for my purposes, thank you very much.
As far as the touch shift, or whatever you call the doodad, no I have not driven one. No matter how well the doodad works, it's still an automatic transmission and is destined for a multi-thousand dollar repair at some point in the car's long life. I'll take a manual and put a clutch in it for a few hundred dollars every few hundred thousand miles and put it back on the road. I can put in a clutch myself, I can't rebuild an automatic myself. Additionally, I'll save a little fuel over the life of the car with the stick.
The positive about a BMW is, they at least make manuals available in most of their cars, even though the dealers don't keep them on hand. They're not turning their back on their customers who prefer to shift for themselves.
Also, the resale comment. I get EMails all the time from people who have learned that I have an '88 manual transmission 300E. They all want to buy it, and some have indicated that they would offer an absolute premium price for it, to the tune of about $5,000 more than it would bring if it were an automatic. This doesn't sound like reduced resale value to me.
Thanks for your concern and replies, this is fun.
'01 C Class, Six Speed
'84 Euro 240D, 523K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
[This message has been edited by LarryBible (edited 09-29-2000).]