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Aston Martin V12 Vantage goes manual – again

A leg-up: Unlike the Porsche 911’s seven-speed manual, Aston Martin has gone for an old-school, race-style dog-leg gate layout.

Seven-speed manual option for Aston Martin V12 Vantage allows full-throttle upshifts


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7 Apr 2016

UPDATED: 08/04/2016THE Aston Martin V12 Vantage S will gain a seven-speed manual transmission as a no-cost option to cement the British brand’s intention to keep offering manuals on future products and to share cog-swapping bragging rights with the Porsche 911, but the new third pedal version will not be available to Australian customers.

An Aston Martin spokesperson confirmed a limited number of the manual V12 Vantage S’ will be sold in New Zealand with pricing and arrival date yet to be confirmed.

In contrast to Porsche, Aston Martin has gone for a dog-leg shift gate layout that will appeal to traditionalists while ensuring the most frequently used gears are accessed through the familiar H-pattern.

Less traditional is the fact this new transmission allows full-throttle upshifts and has automatic throttle-blipping on downshifts, making life easier for those who have not perfected the art of heel-and-toe.

Sensors on the clutch, gearbox and tailshaft are used to inform the engine management computer when and how to throttle-blip, so the driver does not have to.

Aston Martin brands the technology AMSHIFT, which can be turned off to keep the purists happy. The company claims the feature works best in Sport mode, “with the sharper throttle response and louder exhaust note really emphasising the downshift throttle blip for maximum excitement”.

The reintroduction of a manual on the V12 Vantage S represents a full-circle for the two-seat model, which was six-speed manual-only from its 2009 launch, then went auto-only when a seven-speed robotised single-clutch transaxle arrived in 2013.

Aston Martin’s V12 Vantage S is still powered by a naturally aspirated 5.9-litre V12 which produces 421kW of power at 6750rpm and 620Nm at 5750rpm.

Sending power exclusively to the rear wheels, the fastest mass production Aston will accelerate from zero to 100 kilometres in 3.9 seconds and can continue on to reach a top speed of 330km/h.

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer described the decision to offer a manual option on the V12 Vantage S as “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,” he said.

Aston Martin will continue to offer the Sportshift III automatic option, which it says “offers a more contemporary driving experience”.

Ian Minards, Aston Martin’s product development director, said the company is driven by technology but understands 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,” he said.

“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 new gearbox is wrapped up is a wider 2017 model year update for the entire Vantage range, which receives cosmetic tweaks and makes the V8 Vantage S the entry-level Aston in coupe and roadster body styles.

A new Sport-Plus option bundle is offered as part of the update, comprising five paint finishes with no-cost two-tone accent options for the grille surround, door mirrors and rear diffuser, 10-spoke graphite-finished alloy wheels and black or grey contrast-stitched interior trims with a range of accent colours.

Infotainment system upgrades will be rolled on the Vantage line, as well as the Rapide S and Vanquish, with Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity and new satellite navigation software offering better graphics, improved ease-of-use, quicker responses and real-time traffic updates.

A range of new option packs has also been created for the Rapide S sedan and Vanquish flagship supercar, providing a number of interior and exterior colour, trim and detail combinations.

In Australia, Aston Martin has just launched a new guaranteed future value finance deal on the Vantage and DB9, featuring an assured-price buyback option at the end of the contract term.

The scheme also provides customers a pre-determined value at the end of their finance term, with the option to trade-in their Aston for a newer model, refinance the existing car for a longer period or pay the balance to keep the car at the end.

Like all such schemes, future values are based on fair wear and tear criteria and pre-agreed kilometre limits, with a number of terms and conditions to comply with and fees and charges to pay.

Fleet, government, rental, hire car and chauffeur companies are exempt from the offer.

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