Manuals are steadily disappearing from option lists, and it isn’t just on mainstream vehicles. Exotics and performance cars are increasingly ditching them too, mainly for dual-clutch gearboxes that offer improved efficiency and performance. Some among us just like to row gears for themselves though.
Some companies still offer them, such as Porsche, which just developed a new seven-speed manual for the 911. Porsche says it will continue to offer manuals for as long as they see a demand. CAR is reporting that the next-generation R8 will no longer offer a manual, as well as V-10 power later in its model cycle. A host of changes underneath the skin is in store for the car, which is expected to sport an evolutionary style update.
The manual transmission will be replaced by a new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox instead of the current six-speed sequential unit. To save weight em>CAR reports that the 2014 R8 will get a space frame made from a mixture of carbon fiber and aluminum elements. The current car has an all-aluminum space frame (ASF). That and other changes should be good for a weight savings of 220 pounds.
As for engine power, the naturally-aspirated V-8 of the current base car looks to carry over, as well as the V-10 for a few years into the model-cycle. It would get a power bump to 550 horsepower, and then get a mid-cycle enhancement would swap the V-10 out for the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 in the Audi S8 and Bentley Continental GT. As far as styling, don’t expect radical change, but the new R8 is said to ditch its “side blades.”
We hope the next-generation R8 exhibits a bit more elegance than the brash current car. We know it is something Audi is capable of designing, especially in their concepts. For most enthusiasts, the reported loss of a third-pedal on the R8 will be the most unwelcome change. There is a while between now and the next-generation car though, so anything can happen.