Aston Martin Vantage V12 S Goes Manual
Fighting against the utility and ubiquity of the automatic transmission, Aston Martin takes one of its fastest production models back to tradition.
The Aston Martin Vantage V12 S, still the fastest production Aston Martin, is a variation on the Vantage model meant to titillate the desires of the purists via the inclusion of a proper manual transmission for real driving fun. While it is going back to an older more mechanical age there, the Vantage is also going to have all the latest infotainment and navigation goodies that owners of other automotive exotica take for granted, complete with live traffic alerts and support for Apple’s Car Play.
Anyway, these changes imply that Aston Martin is actually listening to what collectors want, and they want to make a car that pulls the heartstrings of the consumer straight, away from other concerns about finance and whatnot. “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,” said Director of Product Development, Ian Minards.
Even the transmission in the Vantage is a seven-speed box complete with a ‘dog leg’ first gear to allow for the fastest changes between the other gears. Best of all, the manual box is a ‘no cost’ option. It also doesn’t cost anything in terms of performance; regardless of transmission choice, the car boasts the same top speed — 205mph and a 3.9 seconds 0-100km/h time.
The Gaydon firm still injected a bit of tech in the transmission though with something called the AMSHIFT. While the popularity of paddle-shift systems in exotic cars means heel-toe gear changing is a dying art, the AMSHIFT will blip the throttle on the down change and allow the accelerator to stay flat to the floor on the upchange — in other words, the two cool things that paddle changing offers.
“Technology drives us forward, but we understand the importance of tradition,” said Minards. “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”. You have to give props to Aston Martin, for being able to provide the immersive feedback that drivers enjoy despite the forward thrust towards automation.