Aston Martin V12 Vantage S gets dog-leg manual

Old-school gearbox arrangement comes with modern auto-blip and flat-shift technology

If you’re yet to be convinced by the styling and specifications of the new Aston Martin DB11, you can at least continue to enjoy one of the firm’s old-school 6-litre V12s – now with a manual gearbox.

The Aston Martin V12 Vantage S now has a manual option, and one with a hint of motorsport cool thanks to a dog-leg first gear layout.

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The cause for this is that the new manual transmission has seven ratios, ensuring the top six – those used most frequently – remain in the traditional ‘H’ pattern that most drivers will be used to.

‘Technology drives us forward, but we understand the importance of tradition,’ explains Ian Minards, Director of Product Development at Aston Martin. ‘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.’

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Technology comes in the form of a system Aston Martin calls AMSHIFT, ostensibly an auto-blip feature when changing down the gearbox – like that found on Minis, Nissan 370Zs and various Porsches.

The system also facilitates full-throttle upshifts. It also – purists will be pleased to hear – appears to be driver-selectable, though it’s available in any of the car’s driving modes. It’s at its best, Aston Martin says, in Sport mode, thanks to the fruitier exhaust note.

The V12 Vantage S’s automated Sportshift III transmission remains available, and Aston Martin quotes identical performance figures for both: 3.9sec to 62mph, and a 205mph top speed. Best of all perhaps is that the new manual is a no-cost option.

Other changes for the V12 Vantage S’s latest model revision include a new Sport-Plus Pack, which includes a range of new exterior colours, with contrasting accents, ten-spoke graphite finish alloy wheels, and black or grey interior upholstery with contrasting stripes and stitching.

Meanwhile, V8 Vantage models have disappeared… but since the V8 Vantage S remains available, few will mind. It too gets exterior tweaks and a range of option packs. All new Vantage models get a new AMi III infotainment system.

Deliveries begin in the third quarter of this year. The V12 Vantage range starts at £138,000.

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