Aston Martin joins Porsche in fighting the trend towards paddleshifts, offering a seven-speed dog-leg manual transmission in the updated 2017 V12 Vantage S
Manual transmissions are back in fashion, at least that's how it seems with the current influx of special edition models offering three pedals and a good old fashioned stick shift. Aston Martin is the latest to re-join the ranks with an updated V12 Vantage S – featuring a new seven-speed manual where previously the automated Sportshift III transmission was the only option.
Interestingly, Aston Martin has opted for a seven-speed 'box, with a racing-inspired dog-leg configuration, meaning first gear occupies the slot below reverse gear on the far left. The new manual 'box does come with quite a lot of tech, under the name of AMSHIFT, to make the most of the seven gears. This includes an automatic blipping feature on downshifts, with full-throttle upshifts also taken care of with software. It can of course be switched off in all of the car's driving modes.
Aston Martin claims that the V12 Vantage S achieves identical performance figures of 3.9sec to 62mph and 205mph top speed in manual guise. Expecting to pay a premium? The company offers the manual transmission as a no-cost option, with the basic car starting from £138,000.
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The 2017 model year car also features a few other changes, including a new Sport-Plus Pack option – with some revised paint choices and graphite ten-spoke alloy wheels. It's also worth mentioning that the basic V8 Vantage is no longer offered, although the V8 Vantage S is still available.
Director of Product Development, Ian Minards said: 'We’re all enthusiasts here at Aston Martin. Building cars that offer something exceptional is what we do. 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. At a time when manual transmissions have almost entirely disappeared in high performance cars, this makes the manual V12 Vantage S a very special car indeed'.
Echoing the recently announced Porsche 911R, which was built to satisfy calls from enthusiasts to build a 'proper' manual GT3 equivalent, it's interesting to see that manufacturers are willing to the offer the option of a manual for those few buyers with the desire to enjoy the feel of a conventional gearbox.