...Even these manumatics with paddle shifters or whatever feel terrible when you say... approach a curve and want to preemptively downshift for engine braking and pulling out of the curve. They simply don't know your intent, and don't seem to have the wherewithal to do it smoothly.
I'm not a race car driver, but I am someone who likes their car to be responsive, and M/T is still the only option for me AFAIC.
I'm not sure what you've driven, but in my car (with a DSG and paddle shifters) coming into a corner and downshifting is as smooth, if not smoother, than in a manual.
In a manual, I would have to heel-toe to rev-match on the downshift, and this is tricky to get spot-on, so there'd be a jerk as the lower gear engaged and the engine was brought up to speed by the car. I'd have to take one hand off the wheel to shift and slide my foot over to in-between the accelerator and brake pedals.
In a DSG, the ECU knows how fast the engine needs to be turning for the road speed in the lower gear. When I hit the paddle, the ECU blips the throttle and gets the engine to exactly the right rpm for my forward speed and then engages the gear. This happens in around half a second, quicker than I could do it myself and I get to leave both hands on the wheel so I'm in full control of the car.
I was a die-hard manual fan until I had a car with DSG and paddle shifters. Now, I get the best of both worlds. I can drive as an auto in city traffic and I'm not rowing on the gear shifter and then with the press of a paddle, I can take control of the gear shifts when I'm on a twisty road, or want to accelerate quickly.
The one thing I miss is launching a manual car - in a manual, when you get it right, an AWD launch with just the right RPMs and just the right amount of slipping the clutch is simply sublime. Even with launch control on a DSG it doesn't quite get there.