Is Audi losing customers by discontinuing manual sports cars?

I’ve written before how the current generation of the RS6/7 are pure and simply missiles for the road. Albeit ones you can stick the kids in for the ride. As I wrote the other day about the demise of the manual gearbox and how it’s being torn away from petrol heads. The likes of BMW and Porsche have listened to us and continued to deliver the gift of selecting cogs yourself. I’m wondering now if Audi would ever listen and offer limited runs of manual cars? You know for those of us who are dinosaurs and will sacrifice a few tenths for greater involvement and drama. I feel the BMW M2 competition in manual guise would be a rival for Audi’s TTRS. But when you add Quattro and an auto box there’s no reason to really bother, certainly not in terms of fun and involvement.

I’m a petrolhead and I adore driving, the involvement, the excitement, the way a perfect rev-matched gear change can wash away a rotten day in the office. I loved my RS4’s all of them in their own way, for the power and how they brutally delivered it. My Supercharged B7 scared the crap out of me in the lower gears. Add the thrill of letting go of the wheel with one hand to change gear, before smashing into the redline was an absolute joy and one that I’ve missed ever since. Coming from a very powerful Nissan GT-R with a dual clutch box, all I can say is yes it’s efficient and will give you a gear whenever you want it. But it’s not exciting , the speed might be, but the recipe of driving isn’t all about the pace you conquer roads at. It’s about the journey, how the car makes you feel and what it’s doing at any moment. You rev-match to keep a car balanced and some of the older generation will know you’re severely punished by some cars when you mess it up. Audi’s auto boxes develop with every revision and I know from experience they’re smooth and very pleasant. They fit the idea of the RS6 and RS7 perfectly, as 90% will bumble around on the school run and to Waitrose. But the Smaller cars like the TTRS and the RS3 could be exquisite little rocket-ships with 3 pedals and honestly I would really love to see it. I’m not bothered about 0-60 or draggy times now. I like the GT-R for what it does but 3 pedals and more input is where my heart really lies.

Porsche offer the 991 GT3 with a manual gearbox and they sell like hot cakes. One of the best modern driving machines ever produced and they’re forever getting battered round the Nordschleife. Again my first thoughts are “ooh a tweaked TTRS or an R8 V10 plus in manual would be an absolute lunatic”. Again I’m not saying these would be mass produced units but surely the choice would be nice? Porsche owners cried out as soon as the manual box was cut from the flagship models and they responded by re-introducing them. I feel the longer we go without 3 pedals the more “loyal” Rennsport fans may venture elsewhere. I know you usually buy an RS model for the daily usability, but surely we don’t have to sacrifice all the fun of driving to do so?

Published by Sam Busby

a big nosed bearded idiot who likes to write about cars. Lucky enough to have owned a few quick ones too.

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