Car Advice

Rear drive, manual transmission cars on sale in Australia

Five years ago we thought this list would shrink rapidly, but the number of rear-wheel drive sports cars with manual transmissions available in Australia remains healthy.

IN ABOUT the mid-2010s, when manufacturers started culling manual ‘boxes from mainstream model lineups, motoring media were unsure that manual sports cars would last in healthy numbers for more than a decade. Well, we’re halfway through that decade and we’ve looked back at our list of cars available then to see what’s still available now, what’s new, and what’s left. And it still looks healthy.

New entrants include the Chevrolet Camaro, which was not for sale as a model five years ago. The introduction of the American muscle car helps fill a hole left from the local Aussie-built cars that were on that list (and have now departed) such as the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore. 

Rear-wheel drive manual cars in 2020

  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Aston Martin Vantage
  • Nissan 370Z
  • Ford Mustang
  • BMW M4
  • BMW M2
  • BMW Z4
  • Subaru BRZ
  • Toyota 86
  • Porsche 718 Cayman
  • Porsche 718 Boxster
  • Porsche 911
  • Mazda MX-5
  • Fiat 124 Spider
  • Lotus Exige
  • Lotus Elise
  • Lotus Evora
  • Morgan (any)
  • Caterham (any)

The Departed (since 2016)

  • Ford Falcon XR6, XR8
  • Holden SS ute
  • HSV Clubsport, Maloo ute
  • Jaguar F-Type

We’re slowly seeing the demise of some manual sports cars, like the Golf GTI, which is now an auto-only offering, but VW tells us that sales remain strong (and they do) and of course, that model is irrelevant for this list because it’s front-wheel drive – along with others like the Hyundai i30 N, Honda Civic Type R, Renault Megane RS, and the new Ford Fiesta ST (review here). 

The strongest lineup of rear-wheel drive manual models continues to come from Germany and Britain, with BMW, Porsche, and Lotus topping our list. While Lotus remains a sports-car only brand (until it releases its SUV, at least), the fact that mainstream brands like BMW have three such cars on the floor is evidence we should see out the next ten years with at least some manual rear-drivers on offer.

What’s your pick?

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Practical Motoring

Practical Motoring