It’s getting harder to find manual transmissions, especially in luxury cars with all-wheel drive. The 2017 Audi A4 Quattro is the last luxury AWD sedan with an available six-speed manual shifter, according to Audi.
Redesigns in both the A4’s six-speed manual transmission and the quattro all-wheel drive system deliver greater performance and road handling. The use of lighter components also improves the power-to-weight ratio, which further boosts performance.
Related: First Drive: 2017 Audi A4
The 2017 A4 Quattro with six-speed manual transmission beats the 2016 model to 60 mph by 0.7 seconds, rushing from zero-to-60 in just 5.7 seconds, according to the manufacturer’s test numbers.
The new six-speed replaces a shaft to the front-axle differential with a spur-gear stage, to which Audi attributes most of the performance gain. The transmission’s open gearwheels, hollow shafts, smaller clutch, and greater use of magnesium strip 35.3 pounds compared to last year’s version.
The new Quattro all-wheel drive powertrain weighs 8.8 pounds less than the former version. The system also uses an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch that can predictively change the distribution of the drive torque between the front and rear axles depending on road conditions and the driving situation.
If you opt for the A4 Quattro with the manual shifter, you also can select the Sport Plus package reserved only for that transmission and drivetrain combo. The Sport Plus option includes special cast aluminum 18-inch 5-double-spoke-star design wheels, optional Daytona Gray exterior paint, S line leather/Alcantara interior with sport seats, stainless steel pedal caps, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and brushed aluminum decorative inlays.
Two other features in the Sports Plus package previously available only with S4 models include Audi’s dynamic steering and sport adaptive suspension, which drops the ride height by 23mm.
Of course, you can buy an 2017 Audi A4s with an automatic transmission, in this case a seven-speed dual-clutch version. However, if your concept of a hot, European, all-wheel drive, luxury sport sedan isn’t complete without a stick shift, the 2017 Audi A4 Quattro is your only remaining choice. And an excellent one at that.