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Lexus’ answer on 2016 IS 200t with a manual stick shift

The first and second generation IS sedans from Lexus had manual transmissions available. Will the 2016?

When Lexus announced that the new IS 200t with its torquey 241 hp engine would replace the IS 250’s low-torque, 204 hp engine, enthusiasts crossed their fingers that the new model would offer a manual. After all, the IS 300 and IS 250 from the first and second generations had been available with a 5-speed and 6-speed manual. The press release didn’t say, so we reached out to Lexus directly. They answered quickly and directly, “no.”

As the owner of one of the first IS 350C models ever built, I feel personally that the paddle-shifted automatic suits the car perfectly. However, the IS 350 has over 300 hp and ample torque. The convertible coupe version of the IS is also more of a touring car than sports car. With the new IS 200t being only rear-drive, and the F-Sport packages selling like hotcakes, the chance to make the car with a manual would have brought some enthusiasts back to the brand, which presently does not offer any manual cars.

Perhaps Lexus knows the customer base well enough to predict low sales of the 2016 Lexus IS 200t with a 6-speed. BMW is reportedly considering dropping the manual in its M3, the car that practically defines the term “sports sedan.” In some markets, the BMW M3 and M4 only have a single one-percent of buyers choosing the manual now. Porsche is dropping manuals on its top-spec cars, Ferrari and other sports-car companies have quit manuals, and even the new Alfa Romeo 4C we just tested only comes with a DCT auto.

What say you Lexus IS fans? Should a sports sedan have an available manual transmission?

Related Stories:
2016 Lexus IS 200t prediction comes true - Specs and Photos

Main story image courtesy of Christopher James Gorner


Jack B. Nimble (not verified)    October 15, 2015 - 11:35PM

I hate paddle shifters!!!! They are nothing like a good ol' manual!! Give me back my stickshifts! How can you call it a sports car if it doesn't feel like one? I don't care about faster shifting times or the ease of driving automatic. I am not lazy.

Bee Quick (not verified)    November 3, 2015 - 1:23AM

In reply to by Jack B. Nimble (not verified)

Are you kidding me, manual transmission drivers are not lazy. Paddle shifter is tantamount to a video game, sorry boys this girl is no gamer! I had to search high and low for my last purchase a 2008 IS250. Can you believe I found it on Craigslist! I was in despirate need of a car, but I didn't want to give up my prescious manual ride. After I had my feelings crushed that this would be the only one I could own because they discontinued the model with manual transmission. In Europe they still drive manual, why can't we just opt to buy an overseas version and pay for shipping and handling?

Taly (not verified)    December 18, 2015 - 12:20PM

I can understand that engineers have been able to find ways to cut times in an automatic transmission and that had given more efficiency to the term high speed, etc. Sadly, most of the people that have the financial capacity to buy Lexus, MW, Porsche kind of vehicles are wealthy, the I don't have the time to learn manual transmission kind of people. I wouldn't say lazy cause they work their way to buy these cars just not appreciative of a good performance manual vehicle.
This is sad cause at last I and many others are in search for the last revelation on manual AWD performance vehicle but it looks like these companies only care about the profits period. Maybe it's time for someone to invest in those of us who do care about manual shifting and will like high end looks and performance. Thanks for listening.

John Goreham    December 18, 2015 - 12:35PM

In reply to by Taly (not verified)

An interesting observation. Just to keep the dialogue going, I will say that there seem to be some former manual stick shift Supra, Miata, Integra, Civic SI owners (like me) in automatic Lexus coupes and sport sedans these days. The Cadillac guys seem committed to manuals in their performance cars, but they are not selling (ATS and CTS sales are way down this year despite record sales at GM).

MTFTW (not verified)    January 29, 2016 - 10:59PM

In reply to by John Goreham

That is probably because for the last 15 years GM, performance, and enthusiasts, and reliability have all been contradictions of terms. That, and you can't make a FWD auto/manual with a way overpowered engine and expect people who enjoy driving to buy them. Not to mention their looks, with the exception of some of their V cars, are just... uuuuugly.

Taly (not verified)    December 18, 2015 - 2:52PM

For some reason I can't reply from my phone. Thanks for replying John. I'm a manual transmission enthusiast. My biggest problem finding a vehicle is that when I learned of manual with all wheel drive performance I became inclined to it. I live up north so when winter kicks in I want a car that I don't want to worry about getting stuck in the snow or a rwd car with many ponies that can't get out of the barn. :) I think today the only manufacturers making this kind of car are Audi, Subaru and maybe another one. I actually checked Cadillac and like what they offer but will not move fwd because they only offer RWD. It looks like the future of manual is coming to an end. I do hope that's not the case.

Ben (not verified)    July 1, 2016 - 6:40PM

In reply to by Taly (not verified)

Agreed! I'll never go back to FWD/RWD cars when I tasted owning few manual AWDs and 4x4 like my 1996 Audi S6 with 2.2 inline 5 turbo, 1997 Toyota 4runner 5 speed (sold), 2005 white 6 speed Chevy Duramax, 2002 Subaru Wrx. I drive 60k kilometers per year, and with the Canadian winters. I would not trust FWD and RWD even with studded winter tires.

MTFTW (not verified)    January 29, 2016 - 11:20PM

It looks like I'm a little late to this party, but I believe I have something to contribute.
This move to eliminate manual transmissions from vehicle lineups might have something to do with the current push for "driverless" (automated) cars. Of course new vehicles are jam packed with all kinds of crap that is inherently distracting to the driver, and perhaps M/T was just one of the first technologies that had to go to pave the way to completely eliminate driver input.
I daresay that very few drivers (that is, people who like to drive for fun) want to see this happen. If that is not the case, then most of these manufacturers are motivated only by cost reduction or profits. Either way, it seems that the most effective protest is to VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET and buy those vehicles that offer these options and try our best to push the rest to get off their ivory towers or F-OFF.

Carma (not verified)    August 16, 2017 - 7:55AM

In reply to by MTFTW (not verified)

I read this article completely about the comparison of most recent and previous
technologies, it's remarkable article.
Maglietta Juventus Romagna

LazyDriver (not verified)    March 2, 2016 - 10:10AM

Honestly i would buy a corolla over most other cars at this point.. you get a 6speed manual, moon roof, leather optional interior, LED head lights, and no electronics to wreck the driving experience of a manual transmission. No it's not RWD, no it's not winning any races, but it's 4 doors, has more than just basic plastic interior basics, and it's cheap in comparison to most other cars.. it's also not huge like the civic SI has gotten.. for the cost savings a good turbo charger will make it come close to running numbers with the IS without the price tag... and with my required manual transmission, i see it as a win..

John Goreham    March 2, 2016 - 1:32PM

In reply to by LazyDriver (not verified)

When I went to the Corolla media launch a couple years back the fact that Toyota offered the stick in both the cheapest Corolla and also the most expensive impressed me. I also wrote back then that "The back seat is much larger than the Lexus IS' back seat." I am glad to know I am not the only one nutty enough to have the Corolla come to mind when I think of the IS and vice versa.

RollaFan (not verified)    June 15, 2020 - 7:53PM

In reply to by LazyDriver (not verified)

Yep, my 5 speed 'Rolla wagon is still on the road (a '95) and I've shuddered to look around and find a manual transmission hatchback to replace it. I still love the car but it's about time. Love the CT 200h but no manual transmission, no deal. It'll be another manual transmission 'Rolla definitely. I just wish they'd bring back the slide away hatchback cargo cover like the CT 200h and my '95 has. That bulky one-piece cover that lifts up by cords in the recent Corolla to cover cargo is just cheesey.

Tom M (not verified)    April 3, 2016 - 5:40PM

I too prefer manual over paddle shift. Lexus Manufacturers should be more in tune with what a car enthusiasts are looking for, it's not about one size fits all! There should be diversity and choices, after all it's our money that's keeping them in business. This is something that should be taken into consideration, in stead of the mentality "if we make it the people will like it" Car manufacturers only cater to the wealthy, and they piss on those who are of less means! Lexus should produce a ISF that has a manual trans, preferably IS350 sedan.

Jerry (not verified)    April 4, 2016 - 9:18PM

I do wish more cars were made with manual but things are changing. The new generation of drivers don't like to be in control any more. If you are to look at how things are going, the government, finding and getting a job, hell even moving out and getting a place of their own is slowly disappearing. The new generation wants everything handed to them, which driving is expected from them, it's just sad. All my cars are manual since I was 16. Even now at the age of 34 I only look at buying manual cars, which my options are getting less every new model.

Andrew (not verified)    June 6, 2016 - 4:16AM

They should just make manuals as an OPTION only. For Special orders / or maybe just carry 1 in stock and then re-stock when it sells.

I PREFER manuals over auto. That why I went with a 2015 Q60 Coupe instead of the RC Coupe.

PRINCETON GREGORY (not verified)    October 2, 2016 - 2:51AM

Yeah it truly sucks that manufacturers are converting to auto only I mean most people just don't understand that feel of just busting through the gears the sound of the engine when you drop a gear and rev match it just gives me the chills and I lover and thats why today I still own a manual 2002 Lexus Is300 every car I've owned has been manual from maximas to my 2005 Si Hatch. I've had my 2002 5speed is300 since 2007 and still have it today with lots of mods to many to name but just the sound of my 2jz that it makes going through the gears is just phenomenal the sound of the exhaust when I get in it is love.

arjun (not verified)    December 19, 2016 - 3:28PM

Man, I love my stick. I'm a millennial born in 1997. My dad bought my first car, a 2002 celica 5spd. I learned manual from the age of 10 but really got in tune with it on that car. sold it after a year and I made sure my now current car is also a stick (2009 honda accord coupe 5 spd). I love lexus, always have and I love what they're doing with the line-up, but removing that manual tranny is a mistake - no matter if it is sluggish or whatever. It's fun to shift, to rev-match, to downshift into the wrong gear and shit yourself because your engine screams like it's gonna blow. That is what it's about. Being realistic, sure auto's are more fuel efficient now, and in a race they will get a head start on the manual's, however it just isn't fun!
Of the vehicles being offered with stick right now, once you opt to the more luxury trims they force you into taking the auto tranny. like wtf i should be able to choose but k. As a loyal lexus enthusiast, I would strongly consider an M4 as opposed to the RCF because at least you can get it mated to a 6 speed.

Bob (not verified)    January 10, 2018 - 11:14AM

The control of being able to ease into and out of gears is essential to me, especially when driving in inclement conditions. Fortunately, still plenty of good options out there. A friend of mine recently bought a new 2017 Jeep Renegade with turbocharged engine and 6-speed manual trans. He added a piggy back ECU upgrade and that little Jeepster is an absolute blast to drive. Quite snappy and handles far better than I expected it to. Kinda reminds me of my old Colt Turbo, which I should have never sold.