You Can Now Fit A Manual Aftermarket Gearbox To Your Audi R8

Unfortunately, you can’t get it as a standalone upgrade

The second-generation Audi R8, which made its debut in the 2016 model year, will be the last supercar of its kind for the German automaker. Audi has already confirmed near the end of 2021 that the R8’s successor will be all-electric, but if there’s one thing that the second-generation model never got, that would be a manual transmission.

This always wasn’t the case with the Audi R8, however. The first-generation model came with a gated six-speed manual as standard. A six-speed R Tronic single-clutch automated manual was also initially offered, but this was replaced by a faster-shifting seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic when it was given a facelift for the 2012 model year.

You Can Now Fit A Manual Aftermarket Gearbox To Your Audi R8
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If you’ve always wanted a six-speed manual in the Audi R8, you can now opt for one from Underground Racing.

Now though, the manual is making a return in the Audi R8, albeit via the aftermarket route. Courtesy of Underground Racing from Charlotte, North Carolina, this 2020 Audi R8 was tuned to 1,500 horsepower, which is significantly more than the 562 horses that the stock 5.2-liter V-10 engine produced. One of the other modifications that the owner requested is also the fitment of a six-speed manual, which was challenging to begin with since the current R8 never came with such a transmission.

You Can Now Fit A Manual Aftermarket Gearbox To Your Audi R8
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Amazingly, the gated transmission looks cleanly integrated into the vehicle as if it was an OEM-supplied transmission. In an email that was sent to Road & Track, Underground Racing confirmed that the transmission is from a 2012 model year R8

This isn’t just simply adding a manual and calling it a day, mind you. Since this car now produces 1,500 buff horses, the manual needed a lot of custom fabrication and R&D according to Road & Track in order to handle all that power.

You Can Now Fit A Manual Aftermarket Gearbox To Your Audi R8
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Unfortunately, adding that six-speed manual is not a standalone option. The only way to be able to opt for it is if you will also get one of its twin-turbo kits installed. This costs $49,000 all the way to $175,000, and this still does not include the six-speed manual. Pricing, however, for the manual will only be announced next week.

You Can Now Fit A Manual Aftermarket Gearbox To Your Audi R8
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But why did the manual disappear in the Audi R8 in the first place? When the time the second-generation R8 came to market, the six-speed manual was ditched altogether in favor of offering the seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Hollerweger even stated at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show that “you have to look at lap times,” as one of the reasons for ditching the manual altogether. After all, the seven-speed dual-clutch shifted far quicker than any human could ever achieve.

Even worse, the take rate for the manual Audi R8 in Europe is pretty much nil, and it was the final nail in the coffin for the six-speed manual’s future in the German automaker’s supercar.

But for a number of car enthusiasts, the feeling of rowing your own gears along with the balancing act of handling a clutch will be an experience that can’t be replicated with the flick of a paddle.

Isaac Atienza
Isaac Atienza is a Filipino motoring journalist who joined in 2021. He is a car enthusiast who especially thinks that wagons are the best type of vehicle, though sports cars and anything with three pedals also tickles his fancy.  Read full bio
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