Unleash the Thrill: 10 Manual Transmission High-Performance Cars of 2024 - SUV VEHICLE

Unleash the Thrill: 10 Manual Transmission High-Performance Cars of 2024

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When it comes to the world of high-performance sports cars, automakers have been shying away from manual transmissions. Thanks in part to the emergence of high-performance electric vehicles, the most important metric when measuring the success of a sports car has sadly become how quickly it can go from zero to 60 mph.




While many automakers have put numbers and charts above the feel of a car, there are a few out there, still developing cars for purists. We don’t debate that an automatic transmission can go through the gears faster than shifting manually, but a stick can take the connection between driver and car to another level.

Ranking them based on their top speeds, we present some of the best sports cars that still come with a manual.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources. These high-performance manual sports cars represent the best cars you can own in 2024, and they have been ranked based on their claimed top speeds.

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10 2024 Nissan Z

Top Speed: 155 MPH

2024 Nissan Z profile shot
Nissan


The Nissan Z has a long and powerful history, with its predecessors capturing the hearts of many car enthusiasts across generations. This has meant that it has had massive shoes to fill.

Performance Specifications

Engine

3.0-Liter Twin-Turbocharged V-6

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

Horsepower

400 hp

Torque

350 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

4.5 Seconds

Top Speed

155 MPH

MSRP

$43,310

(Specs sourced from Nissan)


There are many out there who fault the Nissan Z for not being all that quick compared to its rivals, but Nissan has put power and fun at the forefront of the Z. It also has one of the most interesting and striking designs of any sports car on the market, drawing tons of inspiration from its beautiful past.

Pros

  • Horsepower in bucketloads
  • Sporty interior and exterior styling
  • Neat and upscale interior

Cons

9 2024 Toyota Supra

Top Speed: 155 MPH

Orange 2024 Toyota GR Supra
Toyota

Like the Nissan Z, the Toyota GR Supra rides the coattails of one of the most beloved sports cars in the car community. However, Toyota has taken the fight to Nissan.


Performance Specifications

Engine

3.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline-Six

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

Horsepower

382 hp

Torque

368 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

3.9 Seconds

Top Speed

155 MPH

MSRP

$55,400

(Specs sourced from Toyota)

While the new Supra’s launch was marred because people thought it was a bit too much BMW, it has turned out to be one of the best sports cars that money can buy. The Supra used to only come with an eight-speed automatic but Toyota came to their sense and added a manual transmission as an option when paired with the 3.0-liter inline six.


Pros

  • Precise six-speed transmission
  • High quality interior
  • Forgiving ride means it’s a viable daily driver

Cons

  • Too many BMW parts for a Supra
  • Not super easy to see out of
  • Getting in and out can be difficult

8 2024 BMW Z4

Top Speed: 155 MPH

Front 3/4 shot of the 2024 BMW Z4 M40i Pure Impluse Edition
BMW

The BMW Z4 and the Toyota Supra, above, are extremely similar. That’s because they were built as part of a joint venture. If you were wondering where all those BMW parts came from in the Supra, the Z4 is your culprit.


Performance Specifications

Engine

3.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline-Six

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

Horsepower

382 hp

Torque

369 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

3.9 Seconds

Top Speed

155 MPH

MSRP

$66,450

(Specs sourced from BMW)

The BMW Z4 can now do everything the Supra can, with the 2024 model year bringing with it a manual transmission. The manual can only be had on the much more expensive M40i model but it’s a price many enthusiasts will pay. The Z4 is easily one of the best sports cars of the year, right alongside the Supra.

Pros

  • It’s a convertible Supra
  • Interior is one of the highest quality in class
  • The cabin stays quiet with the top up


Cons

  • Manual transmission is a pricey extra
  • No iconic BMW all-wheel drive treatment
  • Handling isn’t quite as sharp as the Supra’s

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7 2024 Honda Civic Type R

Top Speed: 170 MPH

2024 Honda Civic Type R
Honda

It’s already a remarkable feat that a hot hatch sits above some of the most start-studded sports cars of modern times on our list. That’s because the Honda Civic Type R is in a league of its own, and it has been for some time.

Performance Specifications

Engine

2.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline-Four

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

Horsepower

315 hp

Torque

310 lb-ft

Driveline

FWD

0-60 MPH

4.9 Seconds

Top Speed

170 MPH

MSRP

$44,795


(Specs sourced from Honda)

The Honda Civic Type R is a truly special car. It’s possibly the only front-wheel drive car that can achieve this level of performance. It’s also one of the cheapest out-of-the-box track day cars that you can buy anywhere and will deliver incredible levels of thrill, all with the added convenience of four doors.

Pros

  • Low Starting MSRP
  • Unbelievable levels of grip
  • One of the best manual transmissions money can buy

Cons

  • Very small fuel tank
  • Fairly high levels of noise penetrate the cabin
  • Not much customization

6 2024 BMW M2

Top Speed: 177 MPH

Front 3/4 action shot of the 2023 BMW M2
BMW

Although it’s the cheapest BMW M car that you can buy, you would be sadly mistaken to underestimate the insane performance that the M2 can output.


Performance Specifications

Engine

3.0-Liter Twin-Turbocharged Inline-Six

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

Horsepower

453 hp

Torque

406 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

3.9 Seconds

Top Speed

177 MPH

MSRP

$63,200

(Specs sourced from BMW)

BMW is slowly moving away from its identity as a no-compromise performance brand, and we’ll likely see fewer and fewer cars like the M2 from them in the future.


While we have it, though, we’re going to enjoy one of the most incredible coupes on the road, with a roaring engine and a ton of performance-oriented parts to help it thrash most things on the road. It is locked to 155 miles per hour, but if you opt for the M Driver’s package you can up that number to 177.

Pros

  • Only 20 horsepower less than the bigger, more expensive M3
  • Six-speed manual is the only choice
  • A surprisingly good daily driver

Cons

  • Not much room in the rear seats
  • Fuel efficiency was not BMWs priority
  • Modern-day BMW styling is not for everyone

5 2024 BMW M4

Top Speed: 180 MPH

Rear 3/4 view of the 2025 BMW M4 Coupe
BMW

Much like the M2, the BMW M4 is an analog sports car designed for those who truly have a love of driving. It takes the platform of the M3 and pumps it up a couple of notches, delivering a more exciting and more driver-centric experience.


Performance Specifications

Engine

3.0-Liter Twin-Turbocharged Inline-Six

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

Horsepower

473 hp

Torque

406 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

4.1 Seconds

Top Speed

180 MPH

MSRP

$78,100

(Specs sourced from BMW)

The M4 borrows the powertrain from the M3 as well as tons of its luxury. Where the M2 is a purist’s dream, the M4 offers a slightly more refined experience. The only real fault that we can find with the current BMW M4 is that the high-octane Competition model forgoes the manual transmission altogether.


Pros

  • Instant power delivery
  • Supercar performance in a luxury car’s body
  • Rear-wheel drive as standard

Cons

  • Way too many drive modes
  • Steering feedback is a little too loose for a car of this stature
  • No manual transmission on the Competition

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4 2024 Lotus Emira

Top Speed: 180 MPH

2024 Lotus Emira
Garret Donohue / TopSpeed/ Valnet

The only entry on this list from Great Britain, the Lotus Emira is special in a ton of different ways. Key among these is the fact that this may be the last internal combustion sports car that we see from the legendary automaker.


Performance Specifications

Engine

3.5-Liter Supercharged V-6

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

Horsepower

400 hp

Torque

310 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

4.2 Seconds

Top Speed

180 MPH

MSRP

$105,400

(Specs sourced from Lotus)

Lotus, much like the rest of the automotive world, is preparing for an all-electric future. In the meantime, though, they have given us an incredibly lightweight sports car with a supercharged V-6 at its heart.

TopSpeed’s Garret Donahue has driven the Emira and describes it as “focused all the time”, explaining how sharp and responsive the brilliant sports car is. Later down the line, the British automakers will be introducing a turbocharged four-cylinder which will become the standard powertrain but will lose the manual transmission.


Pros

  • A more refined interior than we’d expect from Lotus
  • The first Lotus to feature actual safety equipment
  • Hydraulic steering provides incredible feedback

Cons

  • Too stiff for most to daily drive
  • The cargo hold gets incredibly hot
  • Emira i4 will be automatic-only

3 2024 Porsche 718

Top Speed: 182 MPH

2023 Porsche 718 Cayman T Miami Blue
Porsche

The Porsche 718 is perhaps the holy grail of all modern-day sports cars for an enthusiast. This is the closest that a modern-day sports car gets to analog without being uncomfortable.


GTS 4.0 Performance Specifications

Engine

4.0-Liter Naturally Aspirated Flat-Six

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

Horsepower

394 hp

Torque

309 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

4.3 Seconds

Top Speed

180 MPH

MSRP

$97,300

(Specs sourced from Porsche)

Porsche is an incredibly special brand. They have never been ones to follow trends, but rather to set them, and the Porsche 718 is a perfect example of this. The German automaker does more with six cylinders than just about anyone else.

It has crafted a platform that sets the benchmark when it comes to handling. Its unique engine layout and position offer an experience that is quite unlike any other, it is one of the best two-seater sports cars the world has ever produced.


Pros

  • Manual transmission is standard on every model
  • A number of different trim choices
  • Plenty of comfort and tech-oriented features

Cons

  • Very little storage in the cabin
  • The turbocharged flat-four in some models can sound a bit coarse
  • Certain optional extras cost a nonsensical amount

2 2024 Porsche 911

Top Speed: 193 MPH

Silver grey Porsche 911 Carrera T
Porsche

There are few cars produced that have ever reached the heights that the Porsche 911 has. Its status as an icon is one that no one can deny and it is one of the few high-performance cars that still hosts a manual transmission.


GTS Performance Specifications

Engine

3.0-Liter Twin-Turbocharged Flat-Six

Transmission

7-Speed Manual

Horsepower

473 hp

Torque

420 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

3.2 Seconds

Top Speed

193 MPH

MSRP

$150,900

(Specs sourced from Porsche)

Not every model of the Porsche 911 comes with a manual transmission. To get the seven-speed manual transmission, you’ll have to shell out for the S or the GTS. The 911 in any of its forms, though, is a standard for performance for a reason and there are few cars on the road, if any, that can hold a flame to the 911.


Pros

  • Untouchable performance
  • Tons of trims and powertrains to choose from
  • Comfortable interior makes it an easy daily driver

Cons

  • Storage in the cabin is super limited
  • Automatic shifter doesn’t take some getting used to
  • Incredibly pricey

Related
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1 2024 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

Top Speed: 200 MPH

Blue 2024 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing on the track
Cadillac

When it comes to rear-wheel drive supersedans, the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is one of the final bastions still offering a manual transmission. It also gets criminally overlooked and is one of the best sports sedans on the market.


Performance Specifications

Engine

6.2-Liter Supercharged V-8

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

668 hp

Torque

659 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD

0-60 MPH

3.6 Seconds

Top Speed

200 MPH

MSRP

$94,890

(Specs sourced from Cadillac)

With a massive supercharged V-8 engine and a muscular exterior, the CT5-V Blackwing is as American as it gets. While the world still praises the likes of BMW and Mercedes for having the best sporting sedans, we’re convinced that the CT5-V Blackwing is just about as good as it gets.

Not only does this beast manage to haul its heavy chassis to 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds, but it can also achieve an astonishing top speed. This paired with all of its brilliant track-focused tech and equipment make the Cadillac a force to be reckoned with, and its going to stick around into the 2025 model year.


Pros

  • Priced lower than German competitors
  • Comfortable ride despite its track focus
  • Cadillac levels of comfort and tech

Cons

  • Going with the manual means you forgo tons of driver-assist tech
  • Not as aggressive looking as rivals
  • Brand recognition is not as high as BMW or Mercedes

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