Perception versus reality. It's the schism that defines so many struggles in life – sports cars among them. While we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the latest automated dual-clutch transmissions can shift faster and smoother than any human possibly could, purists still want that manually operated clutch pedal and a proper stick to row through the gears. Sure, many will tell you, though the robotic transmission might do a better job of it, they (and by they, we include many of us here at Autoblog among them) still take pleasure in doing it the old-fashion way.

Those purists are finding themselves increasingly disappointed by many automakers who are fazing out the old three-pedal setups. And the latest performance icon to join those ranks could very well be the next-generation Audi R8, if the latest reports are to be believed. Although the current R8 is encumbered by a lackluster automatic transmission option, later in 2012 Audi is expected to offer a seven-speed DSG that will, according to the ruminations, be the only gearbox offered once its complete replacement rolls along in 2014.

The manual won't be the only element missing from the next-gen R8, though. Britain's Car magazine also claims it on good authority that the iconic side-blade that distinguishes the current R8 will be gone from the next model, and while a V10 may be offered at the beginning, it may be fazed out for a turbo eight with more power. Here's to progress, then, and enjoying working that clutch pedal in the meantime.

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