Once upon a time, the cheap sport sedan market was rife with manual gearboxes. If you wanted an entry-level luxury car that was fun to drive, you could choose from BMW, Audi, Volvo, Saab (remember Saab?), Lexus, Acura, and probably a few other brands we've since forgotten about.
How times change. As of 2020, the ranks of entry-level sports sedans with a stick shift have been reduced to a single contender: the Genesis G70. And tragically, even it will apparently be giving up the manual gearbox for 2021.
According to CarBuzz, a Genesis spokesperson broke the bad news to ABC News while the network was doing an upcoming story on the decline of the manual gearbox, reportedly saying that the company sold fewer than 100 stick-shift G70s for the 2020 model year.
The six-speed manual gearbox is (was), admittedly, aimed at a narrow niche of buyers. It's only available with the smaller 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that cranks out 255 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, instead of the beefy twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 that spits out 365 hp and 375 lb-ft, and can only be optioned with rear-wheel-drive — meaning it was effectively made just for people looking for an fun, affordable sedan biased towards driver involvement over raw speed.
Still, if you happened to fall into that narrow subset, the stick-shift G70 was arguably one of the best buys you could find. For a price of comfortably less than $40,000, it offered a limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes, heated and ventilated front seats, a sports exhaust and a 15-speaker stereo. As we found the last time we drove the G70, the manual gearbox turned the already-pleasant car into a much more entertaining ride in real-world driving; while its throws may not be the crispest in the land and the engine a bit more coarse than those found in Bimmers and Audis, the combo of rear-wheel-drive, an expertly-tuned chassis and a manual gearbox remains delightful.
If you have your heart set on a manual G70 (and we kind of do), it's not too late; Cars.com lists 32 of them available at dealerships across America as of this story's publication, with many available for below MSRP. We'd say not to dilly-dally around on buying one, though. That number won't go anywhere but down.