Euro Audi S4 and S5 to lose manual gearboxes. USA keeps them.
Fewer and fewer people want to change cogs themselves in 2011, so Audi is set to scrap the manual 'box on its fruity models in Europe.
According to the Audi-centric Fortitude.com forum, the manual 'box option has been removed from some EU markets' configurators. That leaves the S-Tronic twin clutch option as the only choice for prospective customers.
However, the US gets to keep the three pedal layout (as they did with the last BMW M5). Barry Hoch, product planning boss, emailed Fortitude to say this: "They (Europe) lose the manual. We keep the manual! 100% confirmed, although I don't know what other markets also get to keep it. I don't want to fear for my life when I leave the office. The manual transmission enthusiasts are... umm... passionate individuals. Save the Manuals!"
This revelation means that we're not likely to see a stick shifter on the refreshed 2012 S4 or any S4 afterwards, for that matter.
Now, the S-Tronic twin-clutch 'box is very clever, but some people (your author included) simply prefer to change gear themselves.
Maybe we should launch a campaign? Who fancies joining in?