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Audi drivers across the pond are getting the short end of the stick, or to be more precise: no stick at all.

What's all this stick business, you may ask? The new version of the Audi S4 and S5 will only be available with an automatic transmission in Europe, cue the snickers and sneers from North American driving enthusiasts. It's an unusual move, considering we're usually the ones getting shafted with an auto-only option in cars where Europeans get a choice, but sure enough according to an article on Fourtitude, and Audi news blog, the decision is made.

This still may be a signal of things to come, but at least for the upcoming generation it seems the S4 and S5 will be available witha six-speed manual.

Barry Hoch, product planning manager for Audi of America confirmed that Europeans will lose the manual while North Americans will keep it. 100 percent confirmed, although I don't know what other markets also get to keep it," he said in an email to Fourtitude.

The move to S-tronic transmissions does make sense from a performance standpoint. Shorter shifts, better straight line performance and friendlier fuel economy sweeten the package in theory, but try telling that to someone as they slash through a manual gearbox on a winding road. You're better off trying to debate Socrates.

Debates aside it's hard not to see the future creeping in. Lamborghini and Ferrari have already adopted "automatic" dual clutch transmissions as their current standard. If the decision seems to be trickling down from the supercar market into Europe, we may expect to see similar changes in the future.

That, however, is conjecture. Focus on the positive for now, manual S4s and S5s are still available to those in North America who want them.

More: Audi Cutting Back On Manuals For Europe on
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