Mercedes-Benz is set to stop offering manual transmissions in its range in 2023, according to a report. It is worth noting that the German brand was allegedly ditching manuals back in 2020, but that did not happen. Instead, manual transmissions are not found that often in newly-introduced models, so the range slowly eliminates them.
For example, in the USA, Mercedes-Benz has not offered a vehicle with a manual transmission since 2011, back when the C300 was still offered with a three-pedal setup. In Australia, the three-pointed star only offers four models with a clutch pedal, but neither is a passenger car, but variants of the Vito commercial van.
Unlike other manufacturers that had manual transmissions as the norm, rather than the exception, Mercedes-Benz has accustomed its fans, as well as its clients, to automatic transmissions for most of the models in its range. Currently, just the A-Class, B-Class, and CLA might get a manual transmission when ordered, but only in Europe and a couple of other markets in the world.
The Mercedes-AMG division does not have a single manual transmission-equipped vehicle in its range, which is a different perspective from what can be seen in other manufacturers’ portfolios.
In the case of the BMW range, manual transmissions have just recently been dropped in Australia, with the Z4 being the last to have been offered in such a configuration, up until last summer. Just two units had been sold in two years, which means that whoever wanted one with a manual went ahead and got it.
The BMW M3, as well as the M4, can be had with a manual transmission, as well, which is not something that you can say about their counterparts in the Mercedes-AMG lineup. Despite this apparent setback, the performance division seems to be doing just fine without manuals.
Manual transmissions are a dying breed in many ranges, but some manufacturers have managed to make their disappearance an unsurprising fact, rather than a tragedy. Mercedes-Benz falls in the former category, and, as a company spokesperson told Automobilwoche (sub. req.) earlier this week, the change will be gradual.
The shift from manuals to automatics is caused both by an increase in electrification, which is less efficient with manual transmissions, and impossible in some cases, as well as a change in customer preference. If nobody is getting the manuals on offer, the manufacturer will take note and stop offering them in the future.