The Aston Martin Vantage V12 S gets a new box of tricks
Serious drivers rejoice, the fastest production Aston Martin, the Vantage V12 S, is finally getting a proper manual transmission for real driving fun plus a latest-generation infotainment and navigation system to help keep things on track.
Aston is calling the new model the ultimate analogue Vantage but a better term would be acoustic. Because the addition of a manual box means the company is listening.
A car this compact yet with a 563bhp V12 engine should be the perfect recipe for serious drivers with the finances to make a buying decision simply with their hearts rather than bank manager approval.
"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.
And to show how serious it is at pleasing purists, the transmission is a seven-speed box complete with a ‘dog leg' first gear. That means it's across and down from the rest of the set because it should only very rarely be needed, leaving the important gears in a perfect ‘double H' formation for the fastest changes.
However, Aston couldn't resist adding a touch of technology. The popularity of paddle-shift systems in exotic cars means heel-toe gear changing is a dying art. So the company is adding something called AMSHIFT which 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.
Best of all, the manual box is a ‘no cost' option. Regardless of transmission choice, the car boasts the same top speed -- 205mph and a 3.9 seconds 0-100km/h time.
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."
More good news comes in the shape of a new infotaiment system that owners of other automotive exotica take for granted, complete with live traffic alerts and support for Apple's Car Play.
"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."
Photo : ©Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd.