Aston Martin Vantage AMR revealed – entry-level Aston honed
The new Vantage AMR combines a seven-speed manual transmission and 95kg weight loss – but for a cost
Aston Martin has revealed a new limited edition version of the Vantage called the AMR. Featuring a drop in kerb weight, bespoke visuals and – most interestingly – a manual transmission, the AMR is limited to just 200 units and will be available in a selection of five different liveries, with deliveries due late this year.
The big news here is that seven-speed manual gearbox, a first in this modern generation of VH-II Aston Martins and one borrowed from the previous-generation V12 Vantage S. The transmission incorporates a dog-leg first gear, for that distinct ‘motorsport’ feeling, and is mounted on the rear axle, sending power to the rear wheels via a mechanical limited-slip differential. It also features an ‘AM Shift’ mode, switchable auto-blipping, and a flat-shift function. In this Vantage AMR, the transmission is paired with the same AMG-sourced twin-turbocharged V8 engine as the standard model – but together with the manual transmission makes it a unique combination in the Vantage AMR.
The engine outputs are not far removed from the standard model, with an identical peak power of 503bhp at 6000rpm. Torque has been reduced though, for the sake of the new transmission’s longevity, and is now rated at 461b ft between 2000-5000rpm, a 45lb ft drop over the standard Vantage. Performance figures, as one might expect, aren’t quite as brisk as the swift-shifting automatic model, the AMR reaching 62mph in four seconds flat, 0.3sec behind the standard car, although we’ve never been able to match the times Aston Martin claims. Top speed is unchanged at 195mph.
But the AMR is less about outright speed, and more about offering a more involving driving experience. It will be one of very few contemporary sports cars available with that crucial combination of three pedals and a stick, something that only Lotus, and incoming variants of the 992-generation Porsche 911 also offer at this level.
The AMR also gains a set of carbon-ceramic brakes as standard, themselves usually an expensive option on the normal Vantage. Together with the lighter manual transmission, they reduce the Vantage AMR’s weight to 1435kg dry, a substantial 95kg drop over the standard Vantage. This reduction doesn’t only benefit the overall weight figure, but also unsprung weight, and helps balance the AMR to achieve a 50:50 weight distribution. Aston Martin has also honed the Vantage’s standard Skyhook adaptive dampers for a greater spread of capability between its three stiffness settings.
Aesthetically, the AMR follows its larger DB11 AMR sibling in offering a collection of five distinct liveries, including a signature ‘Vantage 59’ package, combining Stirling Green paintwork with Lime pinstriping and bespoke decals. Other elements such as smoked rear lighting, a new design of forged 20-inch alloy wheels, bespoke carbonfibre detailing on the side vents and new bonnet-mounted vents also debut, further distinguishing the AMR from the standard Vantage.
Corresponding trim changes inside the cabin have also been applied depending on the selected livery, but the bigger adaption is the new centre console, which has been redesigned to accommodate the transmission lever, where previously there was just the infotainment scroll wheel.
These changes don’t come cheap, though, with AMR models costing from £149,995, a near £30k increase on the standard model. Vantage 59 models cost even more at £164,995, but if you’re only interested in just getting your hands on a Vantage with a manual transmission, Aston Martin will offer the manual transmission on models to order after the initial 200 AMR units are sold, from the beginning of 2020.