File this one under unexpected: reports have surfaced that Audi is killing manual transmissions from 2013 S4 and S5 models, but only in Europe. In a strange turn of events, the U.S. will be one of the few markets to offer S4 and S5 models with three pedals.
The move is strange for one big reason: America isn’t exactly known for being the land of manual lovers. Despite witty ad campaigns designed to encourage manual driving (we’re looking at you, Mini), it’s estimated that less than 10 percent of Americans drive stick – a far smaller percentage than in Europe. It’s also a bit unusual since Audi’s typically keen on putting its S-tronic dual-clutch gearboxes into almost every vehicle line it possibly can.
Strange, yes, but not uncommon: the same strategy of U.S.-market-only manual transmissions is in play over at BMW, who recently announced that the American-market M5 super sedan will be available with three pedals when it reaches showroom floors next summer. Even closer to home, the VW Golf R and Audi TT RS are only available with manual transmissions in the states.
In any case, Fourtitude found that the facelifted 2013 S4 and S5 models no longer have the option for a manual transmission on the European configurator site. The Audi-centric site later confirmed the move with Audi Product Planning Manager Barry Hoch, who noted that U.S. S4 and S5 fans are apparently quite passionate about rowing their own gears.
Buyers can spec their Audis with three pedals when buying the 2013 S4 sedan or S5 coupe, both of which feature a 333-hp, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine. For people who aren’t amused at the thought of driving a car with three pedals, Audi’s S-tronic dual-clutch transmission is an option on both models, and is the only transmission available on the S5 Cabriolet.