RE: 'This time next year' for manual AM Vantage

RE: 'This time next year' for manual AM Vantage

Thursday 19th July

'This time next year' for manual AM Vantage

The new Aston Martin Vantage is very good already. But the idea of a manual gearbox remains compelling



Just in case you thought there might be a polite pause in the rolling snowball that is Aston Martin, its chief engineer popped up at the Festival of Speed to remind us that it's still frantically busy turning Andy Palmer's business strategy into reality.

While there are umpteen trunks and tributaries to that plan, Matt Becker confirmed to Road and Track that one of the most idiosyncratic elements is already at the testing phase. The idea of fitting the latest Vantage with a proper manual gearbox was endorsed by Palmer from the outset - but it was considered of secondary importance to the car's initial development.


When PH sat in a well-used test mule almost two years ago, the engineers conceded that the idea had not yet made it off the page; back then they were still learning how to get the best from the Mercedes-AMG V8 with the eight-speed automatic it came attached to. Now it seems the working three-pedal prototypes are up and running, and due to make it to production, "this time next year".

Unsurprisingly, the fusing of a (six, seven?) speed manual gearbox with the twin-turbocharged, 510hp V8 has not proven entirely straightforward. "The 4.0-litre AMG engine doesn't come with a manual anywhere else. So, actually, to integrate a manual into it is not without it's challenges," Becker remarked. "The software doesn't exist so you have to create your own software. The driveline system doesn't exist so you have to create your own."


If that sounds like rather a lot of work for what will surely be a niche item (within a fairly niche segment), then you're not wrong. But it's indicative at least of the firm's impressive sense of self. Palmer wants Aston to be innovative and forward-thinking, sure, although plainly not in a way which severs it from a rich heritage of heroic driver's cars.

The Vantage, of course, is a case in point - the previous car could be had with a manual gearbox until very near its death, and its 14-unit resurrection (the 600hp V12-engined V600) can only be had with three pedals. Moreover, what better way is there for Aston to differentiate its version of the AMG V8 than by retrofitting the century-old bit of kit that Mercedes is fast ushering to the door?

If nothing else, the experience of the car ought to be completely different. "It reminds you that you have to know how to drive," Becker told R&T. Here's to that.

 

Author
Discussion

alpha channel

Original Poster:

1,048 posts

98 months

Thursday 19th July
quotequote all
I might be able to overlook the giant early 2000's garmin sat nav that's plopped on to the dash for a third pedal and the ability to stir the gears myself.

Robert-nszl1

217 posts

24 months

Thursday 19th July
quotequote all
Saw this in the flesh close up for the first time at the festival of speed...I'm not a fan of the looks particularly, but what really struck me was its size compared to the old version. The great thing about the previous one, alongside the great looks, was its compact dimensions. Aston no longer make a car that isn't too wide to make it reasonable to drive on UK roads (and the rest are GTs anyway). With 911s also growing bigger at every iteration it would be great to see one of the premium manufactures actually make a car where the footprint isn't the size of a Range rover! To me the addition of a manual box is pretty irrelevant if you can't thread the thing down a b road at a decent pace without having to worry about what you might meet coming the other way.

LanceRS

1,272 posts

73 months

Thursday 19th July
quotequote all
With a manual ‘box I could almost forgive that front end. Nice to see Aston producing something that I’m sure very few people will actually buy these days, just in case they do.

Helicopter123

4,441 posts

92 months

Thursday 19th July
quotequote all
I'm sure that this news will greatly excite the usual PH keyboard warriors but you have to wonder how many actual Aston buyers will want a manual?

VanquishRider

213 posts

88 months

Thursday 19th July
quotequote all
Plenty of those V12 Vantage buyers bought them with Manuals. So I'm sure they will sell, but agreed, not in huge numbers. 5%?
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wab172uk

1,115 posts

163 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
I applaud Aston for doing this.

Manufacturers should realise that there are customers out there that prefer to swap cogs themselves, and are not interested in chasing a few tenths of a second that the Auto gearbox may give you.


smilo996

1,449 posts

106 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
Good to see Aston continuing to branch out into its own engineering solutions instead of going the easy route and being spoon fed by AMG:

Matthen

1,007 posts

87 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
Good news! An automatic gearbox in a sports car... madness.


Still not sure about the Mercedes V8... It just doesn't seem right, turbo charging an Aston.

Slb89

69 posts

75 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
very bored now with all the old Bas****ds saying it look's worse.... it desperately needed an updated looks wise to bring it in line with everything else in the market, it was looking incredibly dated, and now thank the lord they have updated the looks, as it is now an absolute stunner in the flesh. WELL DONE aston, i already know 3 friends who've ordered one due to the visual update coupled with the AMG engine, its an absolute winner now and the best GT car out there imho.

Macboy

354 posts

141 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
Slb89 said:
very bored now with all the old Bas****ds saying it look's worse.... it desperately needed an updated looks wise to bring it in line with everything else in the market, it was looking incredibly dated, and now thank the lord they have updated the looks, as it is now an absolute stunner in the flesh. WELL DONE aston, i already know 3 friends who've ordered one due to the visual update coupled with the AMG engine, its an absolute winner now and the best GT car out there imho.
Do you want a ladder to help you down from that high-horse?

I'm not sure you understand what the H stands for in IMHO. While you are entitled to your opinion others are too. This does not make them fatherless or aged. It simply means they disagree with your entirely subjective view. Many if not most people who do not like the new car or find it ill resolved overall or in detail (I am one of these people) do not think the old car could soldier on - it did look dated. The new one just doesn't carry on the tradition of being a car that is almost universally instantly attractive - in their opinion.

Zod

35,278 posts

194 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
alpha channel said:
I might be able to overlook the giant early 2000's garmin sat nav that's plopped on to the dash for a third pedal and the ability to stir the gears myself.
That's the old model. The current model has Mercedes Command.

kambites

55,378 posts

157 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
Slb89 said:
very bored now with all the old Bas****ds saying it look's worse.... it desperately needed an updated looks wise to bring it in line with everything else in the market...
I'm not sure a company should really be redesigning their car solely in order to make it look like everything else on the market. I do agree that it needed a visual (and probably technological) update for commercial reasons though, despite the fact that I think the old one is better looking.

Zod

35,278 posts

194 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
Helicopter123 said:
I'm sure that this news will greatly excite the usual PH keyboard warriors but you have to wonder how many actual Aston buyers will want a manual?
Me. It's the only thing that could tempt me out of my seven year old manual V12 with pre-Garmin steam-powered Volvo SatNav (I just use Waze on my phone anyway).

cerb4.5lee

10,447 posts

116 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
wab172uk said:
I applaud Aston for doing this.

Manufacturers should realise that there are customers out there that prefer to swap cogs themselves, and are not interested in chasing a few tenths of a second that the Auto gearbox may give you.

Completely agree with you.

M1C

1,132 posts

47 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
Well i think the new model looks excellent.

And certainly better and more cohesive than the more recently revealed Superleggera!

jakesmith

2,765 posts

107 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
Front and rear profile are pig ugly
Old car a million times better looking
It might have needed updating (didn’t need it IMO) but no need to make it so hideous
IMHO

Moonhawk

10,713 posts

155 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
jakesmith said:
Front and rear profile are pig ugly
Old car a million times better looking
It might have needed updating (didn’t need it IMO) but no need to make it so hideous
IMHO
I have to agree. I thought it might grow on me over time - but it really hasn't

IMO it should look like a baby DB11.

Edited by Moonhawk on Friday 20th July 17:35

Zod

35,278 posts

194 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
jakesmith said:
Front and rear profile are pig ugly
Old car a million times better looking
It might have needed updating (didn’t need it IMO) but no need to make it so hideous
IMHO
I love both.

0a

20,301 posts

130 months

Friday 20th July
quotequote all
AMG engine with a manual gearbox. WOOF WOOF!

jakesmith

2,765 posts

107 months

Monday 23rd July
quotequote all
Zod said:
I love both.
Hey great for you, that's the thing with taste it varies greatly. Think of the most disgusting thing that you would never eat in a million years, there are millions of people out there for whom it's their fave snack
I've just had another go at trying to like it but I simply can't, the front of that Aston looks like a st MX5
Side profile is gorgeous if that helps but that isn't enough