Formula One cars have been using paddle-shift gearboxes for around a quarter of a century, so its no surprise McLaren has incorporated the set-up on its incredible 650S supercar. Like its F1 machines, the road car features neat ‘rocker’ arrangement for its paddles, meaning the left and right paddles can be used for up and downshifts.
However, unlike its racing relative, the 650S uses a robust twin clutch gearbox rather than an expensive and fragile seamless shift sequential unit. As a result it can fire home gearchanges in the blink of an eye, yet serve-up the sort of creamy smooth automatic changes you’d normally expect from an executive saloon.
Best automatic cars
- 1IntroductionSlick-shifting and economical, and even great fun to drive - we list the 10 best automatic cars on sale today
- 2Volkswagen Polo DSG automaticWith its excellent refinement and classy cabin, the VW Polo is the small car that thinks big.
- 3Jaguar F-Pace eight-speed automaticThe Jaguar XF used to be our favourite automatic Jaguar, but the arrival of the new F-Pace SUV crossover has changed all that.
- 4Smart ForTwo six-speed twinamicThe Renault Twingo-based Smart ForTwo is a much more grown-up proposition than its predecessors, and the twinamic dual clutch gearbox option makes it better still.
- 5Porsche 911 PDKPerformance car purists will reel back in horror at the suggestion, but the rapid Porsche 911 makes more sense as an automatic
- 6SEAT Leon DSG automaticOur compact family car favourite, the SEAT Leon, makes a lot of sense as an automatic.
- 7BMW 3 Series eight-speed autoGiven BMW’s reputation for building the ‘ultimate driving machine’, you’d have thought a manual gearbox-equipped BMW 3 Series would be our pick.
- 8Toyota Prius CVT automaticIt wasn’t long ago that the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) was seen as the future for automatic gearboxes.
- 9Mercedes S-Class 7G-tronicFew cars are better suited to an automatic gearbox than the luxurious Mercedes S-Class
- 10Tesla Model S
- 11McLaren 650S - currently reading