Back in May 2017, I wrote a feature for this site on the last performance manuals you could buy here in Australia. I made the cut-off a fairly arbitrary 250kW and this was what I came up with.
- Aston Martin Vantage
- Ford Mustang
- Ford Focus RS
- Jaguar F Type V6
- Lotus Exige
- Lotus Evora
- Porsche 718 Boxster S / Cayman S
- Porsche 911
- BMW M2 Pure
- BMW M3 / M4
- Holden Commodore SS/SS V
- HSV Clubsport / GTS / GTSR / GTSR W1
- HSV Maloo
- HSV Senator
It won’t have escaped your attention that quite a few of those cars are no longer available. We’ve lost the Holdens and HSVs, and you can no longer buy an Aston Martin Vantage with three pedals and a stick.
The Focus RS has passed on and, until late 2020 at least, you can’t get a manual gearbox with a Porsche 911. Jaguar has phased the manual out for the facelift F Type and BMW is even moving towards making its manual models the cost-plus option over the base price of the standard autos/dual-clutchers.
While there’s something slightly heart-warming about Ford and GM being the last holdouts of this particular genre, it’s an exclusively American segment now.
Gone are the days of BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin also offering us this template for a raw and charismatic driver’s car.
Yep, times change but have they really changed that much?
Hit up the comments and let us know how you feel about the demise of this once-vibrant slice of the market.