Subaru says it may soon altogether eliminate manual transmissions from its vehicles in a bid to become known for making the world's safest cars.
Many words have been written about the seemingly inevitable demise of the manual transmission, and on the surface, that forgone outcome appears to have more to do with demand than anything else. But according to the UK's AutoExpress, Subaru may move exclusively to self-shifters because its Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) is compatible with the brand's Eyesight active safety systems.
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AutoExpress spoke to Subaru UK exec Chris Graham at the Geneva auto show, who said the company has no plan to work up the Eyesight system to work with a manual transmission.
Graham isn't clear whether Eyesight can't be made to work with a stick, or whether Subaru simply can't justify the effort to do so. Either way, if it is to make Eyesight standard across the board -- which would be necessary for the brand to have any right to claim that safety title -- then the CVT would have to be standard, too.
Unsurprisingly, Eyesight will eventually underpin Subaru's automated driving efforts, according to Graham.
While he admits that a car like the 2018 Subaru WRX (not to mention the 2018 Subaru BRZ) would be unimaginable without a stickshift, he says there's no reason a future auto-only, gas-hybrid WRX (that sounds like a big hint) couldn't be a fun drive, pointing to BMW's recent auto-only M models.