Big news, driving geeks: the Aston Martin Vantage now comes with a manual gearbox. To grab some attention it’s being introduced with the limited-run Vantage AMR you’re staring at here, but will be offered as an option on regular Vantages from 2020.
Much like the V12 Vantage S that featured a cameo-appearance stick shift in the car’s previous generation. It’s a seven-speed transmission with a quirk: it features a dog-leg first.
So first gear is left and down, with gears two to seven in the H-pattern road cars more commonly use – cue much stalling at the lights because you think it’s in first when it’s actually in second. Good news is you don’t need to be a heel-and-toe master to get the most out of it – it’s equipped with auto rev-matching on downchanges, but you can switch it off if such intervention offends you. Just 200 Vantage AMRs will be made, all of them manual and all with standard carbonceramic brakes, together helping it weigh 95kg less than the regular, 1,530kg paddle-shifted car.
That’s pretty handy for the track-cred AMR badging is meant to bring, especially when the AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is actually a little detuned from the standard car, offering the same 503bhp but a skinnier 625Nm of torque. Clearly, the manual ’box can’t cope with quite as much load. Performance is as good as the same, though, with a 4.0secs 0–100kph time (up 0.4sec) and identical 314kph top speed.
Of the 200 AMRs sold worldwide, 59 of them will be sold in the spec you see here. Called ‘Vantage 59’ spec, it commemorates Aston’s 1959 Le Mans victory