If a car is described as "five-speed," that means it has a manual transmission with five forward gears. Most cars have five gears, which is why the term has come to represent manual transmissions, but there are high-performance vehicles with six gears on the market.
The chief difference between a five-speed car and an automatic car is that the driver must manually shift the gears up and down while driving. Failure to do so can increase the engine's revolutions beyond safety tolerances and lead to damage. The operator must use a clutch pedal to disengage the gearbox while driving and use the gearshift to increase or decrease the gear ratio. Failing to fully engage the clutch can produce a distinctive grinding noise, indicating potential damage to the gears.
Manual transmissions are more difficult to drive than automatics, but they do have some advantages. Manual transmissions allow for more direct control of the vehicle's speed, allowing skilled drivers to accelerate faster and have more control over the car's performance. In addition, manual transmissions are usually easier to repair and maintain than automatics. However, manual cars can be difficult to start on upward inclines due to the necessity of disengaging the gearbox to shift gears.