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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've decided that it's finally time to learn manual transmission. My father never learned, so needless to say, I didn't either. My S5, which is currently in the factory order bank, and estimated for early October, will be my first manual car. Obviously, I'm planning on getting other experience first, through some combination of learning from friends, renting a car, and potentially formal lessons (I know my parents got an insurance discount when I was 16 due to formal training, but is it possible to get this in your 30s? I"m doubtful) However, I've read some threads on here about various issues such as sticky/grinding clutch, the automatic rev from 1000-4000 rpm to help prevent stalls, etc, that make me wonder if the S5 being my first manual daily driver may be a nervy proposition. Of course, on the other hand, if I learn first on something quirky, anything else thereafter would probably be easier. I am planning on keeping my current TSX lease extended for the first month or two I have the S5, so that in a bind, etc, I'll still have something to fall back on.

Any other suggestions for a beginner?
 

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Good for you for deciding to learn to drive stick. Too many Americans are woefully ignorant of the skill. That common shortcoming actually ranks fairly high on my list of "what's wrong with the world".

It's not hard at all...and it gets even easier when you don't think about it. I'd recommend any approach that can get you some real seat time. Practicing in a firends car for an hour some Saturday afternoon isn't going to get you in the groove. Renting could work, althought MT rentals can be hard to come by.

But here's somtething to think about: by the time you sink significant money into renting or lessons, you might actually find that buying a cheap second car isn't a bad idea. If you just plan on owning it for a short time, then selling for about the same price is always likely (maybe even a little more if you fix the odd thing here or there, shine it up a bit, etc).
 

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Thrak,
Welcome to a true driving experience. You will be part of the car and not just an observer. See if you can get hold of an old VW Beetle or something similar. Obviously, the power is different but you will learn the coordination. A day or two should be all you need. Go to a big parking lot (a college, sports arena, etc. on an off day) and just cruise around. It shouldn't be a problem and you will find that the new car will shift much smoother than any old car.
2008 S5, Ibis White w/Tuscan Brown, 6sp, loaded (for an 08)
 

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It's easy to learn...

My wife needed a new car 2 years ago, so we went to a VW dealer. Se put her eyes on the R32 Mk4 and she loved it. The Mk4 only came in manual and she had only driven auto before. Anyway we decided to buy it and I helped her during the weekend and on Monday she drove to work by herself.

What I've notice is that learning in a powerfull car you won't stall has easy and when turning if you forget to change to a lower gear (which will happen a few times) the car still goes.

It is better to learn in another car so you don't do any harm to your S5. congrats on the choice. You will never want to drive auto again :)
 

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Thrak, I wouldn't worry about it. The A5/S5 is the easiest stick I have ever had. It will be a snap to get used to. The only tricky part is starting on hills but with the hill assist it will be a breeze.
 

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I read this thread with interest In the Uk it is very rare for any one to pass their driving test just using auto in fact of the people I know in 30 years of driving I know of only one and it was a lady
 

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Congrats Thrak for a great choice! Learning stick is good for the mind and body. :) Although personally I am again at a stage where I have been gravitating away from the stick towards automatics, simply for the conveniences sake, but I do agree that automatics bring a more detached feel compared to a manual and all drivers should experience both to see what they prefer.

hilly10: Yeah, I guess in most parts of Europe people learn with manual. Very rare to learn only automatic, from our perspective someone never having driven stick certainly sounds exotic, but things are different in the States...
 

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If the S5 is anything like the A5 in this regard, there isn't as much clutch feedback as I'm used to (most of my cars have had upgraded pressure plates) but that's actually good for commuting where a heavier clutch may wear you out. The pedal spacing is perfect for heel toe, and at the end of a 20 minute test drive I was already pretty comfortable with it. Heavier GT cars like the A5 are also more forgiving of your pedal nuances since some of the jerkiness of a miscalculated shift will just get absorbed by the mass of the car. Also most luxury cars will have a slightly overweight flywheel so that the car doesn't have a tendency to stall even if you don't give it enough revs (more drivetrain inertia at any speed). Hill hold will be a welcome assist also.

-Ray
 

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My A5 is my first MTX automobile that I have ever owned and driven on a regular basis. The only MTX I'd driven before was a F1 on Texas Motor-Speedway and that is VERY different from a daily drive.

I've found that the A5 is a forgiving car, seemingly patient with you. Yes, I've stalled a few times. Yes, twice I have ground the gears (sorry :noes: ). I'm still trying to learn the 3-2 downshift; even with 4200 miles on the car.

I would suggest the MTX over the ATX/DSG. You DO feel more connected with the car and there is a greater sense of accomplishment. I don't regreat the purchase at all!! Loving the MTX!! Audi did one heck of a job!!
 

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I found the s5 clutch tricky, i have drive stick for 5 years. The trans isnt hard, however i found first year engaugement a little rough, hell i find first gear in the f430 easyier then the s5 :-/
 

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Make sure to add the option "Audi Hill Hold Assist" - As a learner with stick shift, it will help you on those tricky moments where you need to use clutch control.

Audi Hill hold assist will prevent the car from rolling back when your at a standstill on a hill. If your use to driving autos, you know the car wont roll back and you just keep your foot on the brake.

With manual transmission this is not the case, and if your a learner in a nice car like an s5, then is a useful feature till you get use to the car. I have yet to use it on mine, have never found the need to. But its nice to know its there.
 

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Dude, we all drive manual over here so it can't be that hard!

...I mean if my wife can do it... !!!! ;)
 

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Audi Hill hold assist will prevent the car from rolling back when your at a standstill on a hill. If your use to driving autos, you know the car wont roll back and you just keep your foot on the brake.
Sorry for the nitpicking, guys... :)

To be precise, the A5/A4 B8 "Audi hold assist" (as it is known plainly in many markets instead of hill hold assist which I think is misleading) will prevent the car from rolling when you are standstill on any kind of surface (within break power limits of course), hill or not. A green light will light up on the dash (if the system was activated by the user) to tell brakes are on when you lift your foot from the brake pedal. You don't need a hill for it to activate.

The A5/A4 B8 hold assist is different from previous Audi "hill holds" in that it will actually engage a parking brake -like mode when you stop, which will not go away until you press throttle. Older Audi "hill holds" actually just held brake power up for only a few seconds after releasing the brake pedal to help you get off from an angle. You couldn't lift your foot from brake until you were ready to start driving again.

Interestingly, A5s with multitronic transmission may actually have both the regular "hill hold" as well as the optional "Audi hold assist" (if selected when ordering). Apparently multitronic wouldn't really like rolling backwards and can't generate the power without pressing throttle to move the car up an angle, hence "hill hold" (the older kind) seems to come with multitronic. Anyone with multitronic A5 can you please chime in. Of course multitronic A5s are not available in the U.S., but just a detail I thought I'd mention.
 

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Not to get too off the original topic, but speaking of hill hold, I noticed that this is not a selectable option on the U.S. market ordering guide. Is it standard?

-Ray
 

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Not to get too off the original topic, but speaking of hill hold, I noticed that this is not a selectable option on the U.S. market ordering guide. Is it standard?

-Ray
See this thread regarding US spec cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the advice and well wishes. No, we don't have hill hold in the US, but thankfully I live in central Florida, and I think the nearest hill of any significance is about 200-300 miles away :) I have several people who are willing to help me learn - although hopefully they won't expect to get to drive my new toy in exchange. I've thought about just buying an old clunker, but I'm not sure that I want to deal with the hassle of trying to re-sell it later.
 

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Thrak, A friend of mine many years ago bought her first new car that was a VW GTI 5-speed. She had never driven a stick. I went with her to pick it up, took her to a shopping center parking lot, and had her doing quite well in a half hour or so. She dropped me off at my home and off she went.

the S5 clutch is a little tighter than that but you will be fine. Once you get your car you will want so much to drive it that you will "get it done".
 

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So, I've decided that it's finally time to learn manual transmission. My father never learned, so needless to say, I didn't either. My S5, which is currently in the factory order bank, and estimated for early October, will be my first manual car. Obviously, I'm planning on getting other experience first, through some combination of learning from friends, renting a car, and potentially formal lessons (I know my parents got an insurance discount when I was 16 due to formal training, but is it possible to get this in your 30s? I"m doubtful) However, I've read some threads on here about various issues such as sticky/grinding clutch, the automatic rev from 1000-4000 rpm to help prevent stalls, etc, that make me wonder if the S5 being my first manual daily driver may be a nervy proposition. Of course, on the other hand, if I learn first on something quirky, anything else thereafter would probably be easier. I am planning on keeping my current TSX lease extended for the first month or two I have the S5, so that in a bind, etc, I'll still have something to fall back on.

Any other suggestions for a beginner?
Just put into gear, let off the clutch slowly, once the car starts pulling give it a little gas, you are all set.
 

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I learned to drive a manual at age 16 on a rather beat up '69 Ford Falcon. I was still learning to drive in general, but found the manual to be a piece of cake to learn even with a clutch that had definitely seen better days. I would think a new car would be even easier. MIGCAL's advice is exactly right. All you need is an empty parking lot and a little coordination. Nonetheless, if you have a friend with an older car w/manual trans, you may want to see if you can practice on that a bit before trying it on your brand new S5. ;)
 

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Audi A5 is my first manual gearbox car. I would say that it was easier than I though especially with hill assist thing. So there is no need to worry. :)
 
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