As the motoring world prepares to bid adieu to the manual transmission, there are some performance car manufacturers trying to keep that flame alive for the purists. BMW, Porsche and Ford are probably the last bastions who cater to the purists’ desire of what they believe to be engaging to drive. Now, however, you can add Aston Martin to that list because the Vantage with its AMG sourced V8 is now available with a manual transmission.
The Aston Martin Vantage AMR features the standard 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 engine from the regular Vantage. The engine develops 503bhp at 6,000rpm and 625Nm from 2,000-5,000rpm. One might believe that its much of an upgrade and you’d be right. However, the 8-speed ZF automatic has been replaced with the motorsport-derived 7-speed dog-leg manual developed by Graziano and Aston Martin Racing (AMR) has also been able to shed around 92 kilogrammes from the standard car to make it lighter. The Vantage AMR is the first AMG V8 motor that features ‘Hot in the V’ turbo layout to be mated to a manual transmission. This manual gearbox was last seen on the previous generation V12 Vantage S. Additionally, the Vantage AMR features carbon ceramic disc brakes as standard housed inside the 20-inch forged AMR wheels.
If you can shift fast enough yourself, the Vantage AMR will be able to accelerate from 0-100kmph in about 4 seconds and maxes out at a whopping 313 kmph. Coming back to the dog-leg transmission, what it essentially means that the driver will need to shift in the same H pattern. However, reverse gear is where one would traditionally find 1st, while 1st is in place of 2nd, 2nd in place of 3rd and so on. The layout is designed for motorsport use as 1st gear is never really used and making 2nd and 3rd gear align better inline for faster shifts. Aston Martin has also included an auto-blip feature with the transmission to mimic the technique of heel-and-toe downshifts.
The Vantage AMR will be offered in five different specifications paying homage to the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans celebration ‘Vantage 59’ livery. Only 200 examples will be manufactured and deliveries of the Vantage AMR will begin in the final quarter of 2019. Aston Martin has stated that the Vantage AMR will have a base price of €184,995 (~Rs 1,44,26,294) in Europe.