Aston Martin has revealed a surprise new variant of the familiar V12 Vantage S – featuring a seven-speed manual gearbox complete with dog-leg first gear!
Described as ‘the ultimate analogue Aston Martin’, the launch of the V12 Vantage S manual gearbox follows Porsche’s introduction last month of the 911 R – a GT3 RS with, again, a manual gearbox replacing the paddleshift auto.
It seems buyers of specialist performance cars are demanding more interaction, and brands are responding.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer said: “Broadening the scope of the V12 Vantage S with a manual transmission option is an indication of our desire to offer the keenest drivers a more analogue and immersive machine to enjoy.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the manual gearbox remains an integral part of our product plans and will do for many years to come.”
Take that, Ferrari, which has for some time not offered manual-gearbox versions of its supercars…
Aston Martin V12 Vantage S manual gearbox: in detail
Director of Product Development, Ian Minards said: “We’re all enthusiasts here at Aston Martin. Technology drives us forward, but we understand the importance of tradition.
“The true purist will always hanker for the tactility and connection offered by a manual transmission, so it has been a real pleasure to offer just that in our fastest and most focused model.”
So his team has created a stick-shift seven-speed manual complete with the dog-leg first, which positions first gear to the bottom left of the gate. Why? To ensure the six most-used gears are in the traditional H-pattern: first is only used for pulling away from rest.
Something that true enthusiasts may be less keen on is the Addition of AMSHIFT. This uses clutch, gear selection and propshaft sensors to mimic heel-and-toe downshifts (and also offers full-throttle upshifts).
Luckily, true enthusiasts, it’s driver-selectable. You can turn it off if you want.
As for performance, Aston Martin’s skilled test drivers can get the manual V12 Vantage S from rest to 62mph in 3.9 seconds and onto a maximum of 205mph.
Deliveries of the new manual-gearbox Aston Martin V12 Vantage S will begin in autumn 2016; prices are unchanged over the Sportshift II auto, meaning it costs from £139,175.
Part of the 17MY updates for the ageing V12 Vantage S, Aston’s also fitted a new AMi III infotainment and sat nav system, which is faster than the old AMi II setup and also, impressively, incorporates Apple CarPlay.
There are new colours and trims, including a Sport-Plus Pack comprising a choice of five body colours and optional grille lipstick, side sills and rear diffuser blades.
Aston has also consolidated the V8 Vantage S range into Coupe and Roadster lines, which get their own detail changes plus the AMi III infotainment system.