Why don't Ford offer the 6 speed manual on the XR6? I think they'd be surprised at the demand.
The auto is pretty good in manual mode, except the gate should be CLOSER to the driver than the normal gate. It's a pain having to reach across to change gear. Also, would be better without the slight delay when you change gear, although I guess it's no slower than a manual gearchange. But it's great being able to hold a gear right through a corner.
5 speeds would be good too - I recently drove a Magna with the 5 speed auto, which was great. Pity about the rest of the car.