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Aston revives manual in Vantage AMR

Limited-run Vantage AMR manual lets Aston Martin take stick shift to Porsche 911

1 May 2019

ASTON Martin has gone back to the future by adding a manual gearbox alternative to its V8-powered Vantage in a bid to attract old-school drivers who like to do the shifting themselves.
The seven-speeder – developed by Italy’s Dana Graziano – will be slotted into a Vantage special edition under its AMR (Aston Martin Racing) banner and go into production in a limited run of 200 units for worldwide consumption in the final quarter of this year.

Aston Martin's regional manager for Australia and New Zealand Kevin Wall confirmed that the Vantage AMR would be available locally, but that details such as volumes were yet to be confirmed.
The new-generation Vantage AMR will become the first car equipped with the Mercedes-AMG 4.0-litre V8 to get a manual gearbox. It gives Aston Martin another weapon against Porsche’s 911 that continues to offer a manual alternative, although PDK-equipped 911s account for more than 90 per cent of sales.
The addition of the manual Vantage makes good on a promise by Aston Martin Lagonda president and CEO Andy Palmer to offer a manual in the Aston range.
“In a world of autonomous robo-taxis, Aston Martin will continue to advance the art and science of performance driving,” he said. “With the Vantage AMR, we have created a thoroughly modern sportscar that rewards effort and focus from the driver – the antidote to driving a computer game.”
The switch from the standard eight-speed ZF automatic transmission to the lighter manual box contributes to a weight saving of 95kg in the AMR, but peak torque from the V8 has had to be cut by 60Nm, to 625Nm between 2000 and 5000rpm.
Power is the same at 375kW at 6000rpm, as is the top speed (314km/h), but the combination of less torque and shifting the cogs by hand makes the manual Vantage 0.4 seconds slower from zero to 100km/h, at 4.0 seconds.
The gear stick has a dog-leg first gear – to the left and up – to ensure that the most frequently used gears, from second to seventh, are easily snapped in a traditional double-H pattern.
Like the automatic in its manual mode, the AMR gets the Amshift system to blip the throttle on downshifts, mimicking heel-and-toe driving.
The rear-wheel-drive AMR will get a limited-slip differential and Aston’s latest adaptive suspension system with Sport, Sport+ and Track modes. Ceramic brakes are standard too.
Of the 200 AMRs to be produced by Aston, 59 will come in a commemorative green and line colour scheme to honour Aston’s one-two victory in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans 60 years ago.
Aston says these “Vantage 59” versions of the Vantage AMR will be offered on a first come, first served basis to customers worldwide.
Four other colours will be offered, including Sabiro Blue, Onyx Black, China Grey and White Stone.
It is not the first time Aston Martin has built a limited-edition Vantage with AMR badges. In 2017, a limited run of 300 previous-generation AMR Vantages were turned out – 100 in V12 guise and the remaining with V8 engines.
Fifteen were slated for Australia and New Zealand. It is unclear how many of the new-generation manual AMRs are heading our way this time. 
In the first quarter of this year, Aston Martin sold 24 cars in Australia, a drop of 31.4 per cent on the same period of last year.

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