Manual transmissions may be on the brink of their extinction across the auto industry but that is not really the case in Gaydon, where Aston Martin is headquartered. The British sports car maker is preserving the thrill of rowing your own gears by offering the 2017 model year V12 Vantage S with a manual gearbox option.
According to AM, while the outgoing Sportshift III automated manual transmission offers a more contemporary driving experience, the manual transmission is geared towards achieving total driver engagement.
So, mated to the car’s meaty 6.0-litre V12 engine is a new seven-speed manual transmission that comes with a traditional ‘dog-leg’ arrangement – which means the first gear is positioned to the left and down, below reverse, while the rest sit in a double ‘H’ pattern.
Interestingly, the gearbox is also equipped with what the automaker calls AMSHIFT. The system adds a throttle-blipping function, as well as full-throttle upshifts for uninterrupted accelerations. It can be operated in all driving modes, but put in Sport and you’ll be greeted with a sharp throttle response and louder exhaust note.
Apart from the transmission, Aston Martin says the manual and automatic versions of the V12 Vantage S are mechanically identical. Both cars have 573 PS and 620 Nm, both sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in a quick 3.9 seconds, and both reach a top speed of 330 km/h. Both are also offered at the same basic price – if you’re from the UK or Europe.
Like the rest of the model lineup, the V12 Vantage S can be specified with a new range of exterior and interior options, including bright body accents, as well as new wheel designs and cabin upholstery. It is also equipped with an updated version of the AMi III infotainment system that now incorporates Apple CarPlay.
First deliveries of the manual V12 Vantage S are scheduled to begin during the third quarter of 2016. In the US, the car will be sold as a special edition model limited to just 100 units.
6 April 2016, Gaydon: Underlining its commitment to building exceptional sports cars that appeal to the most discerning enthusiasts, Aston Martin has ushered in its 17MY range by offering the sensational V12 Vantage S with a manual transmission.
True icons of pure performance blessed with exceptional agility, each V12 Vantage S transmission option delivers its own unique character and dynamic emphasis; the manual unashamedly championing classic tradition and total driver engagement, while the Sportshift™ III transmission offers a more contemporary driving experience. Both exude the unrivaled sporting qualities for which the V12 Vantage S is renowned.
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”.
The seven-speed manual transmission features a classic dog-leg first gear position; an echo from the past that will be welcomed by driving enthusiasts. This dog-leg configuration also ensures the gears used most frequently are located in a double ‘H‘ pattern like that of a conventional 6-speed manual.
The new manual transmission also features AMSHIFT. The system, which is driver selectable uses clutch, gear position and propshaft sensors, together with finely-tuned programming of the engine management, to mimic the technique of heel-and-toe downshifts; the act of blipping the throttle while braking and changing gear. AMSHIFT also offers the capability of full-throttle upshifts for maximum smoothness and minimal interruption in acceleration.
AMSHIFT can be used in all driving modes, but is especially effective in Sport, with the sharper throttle response and louder exhaust note really emphasising the downshift throttle blip for maximum excitement.
Offered as a no-cost option*, the manual V12 Vantage S is a series production model. Customers simply have to make the choice between manual and Sportshift™ III transmission when ordering their car. Both versions are otherwise mechanically identical, sharing the same chassis and brake packages and powered by the same 6.0-litre V12 engine.
Though their style of delivery are different, whether manual or Sportshift™ III, potent performance is guaranteed with the V12 Vantage S accelerating from a standstill to 62mph in 3.9sec and both can reach 205mph.
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.”
A new Sport-Plus Pack option includes a raft of exterior and interior changes. Foremost amongst these is a choice of five body colours, which can be combined with no-cost optional accent colours applied to the front grille lipstick, side sills, mirror caps and rear diffuser blades. Ten-spoke graphite finish lightweight alloy wheels complete the Sport-Plus Pack’s exterior changes, while a choice of black or grey upholstery with stripes and contrast stitching offered in a range of accent colours create a suitably dramatic interior theme.
17MY also marks other important changes to the Vantage range, with the V8 models now consolidated into Coupe and Roadster versions of the V8 Vantage S. Mechanically unchanged, the timelessly stylish V8 Vantage S receives a range of small detail changes to the exterior and interior. Together with five new option packs offering broad scope for personalisation and even greater value the V8 Vantage S is a compelling and competitive entry point to the Aston Martin range.
One change to be implemented across all current model lines is the new AMi III infotainment system. This includes a new integrated Satellite Navigation system that offers significant improvements over the outgoing AMi II technology. Key areas of improvement are the integrated graphics, quicker and easier address input, reduced loading times, updatable maps, graphical itinerary planning, advanced traffic information, enhanced map graphics and a greater range of voice guidance options. AMi III also incorporates Apple© CarPlay© to enable the integration of iPhone© functions into the built-in display.
In addition to the new AMi III Infotainment and Satellite Navigation System upgrade, both 17MY Rapide S and Vanquish model lines are offered with a range of new option packs. Carefully created to simplify the specification process, these option packs continue to offer added value and a huge range of exterior and interior colour, trim and detailing combinations.
First deliveries of the manual V12 Vantage S are scheduled to begin during the third quarter of 2016.
> Discover V12 Vantage S with manual transmission
> Discover the Aston Martin model range – now with AMi III infotainment system
* No-cost option in UK and EU markets. In US market a manual V12 Vantage S will be offered as special edition model with production limited to 100 cars.