Automotive

Aston Martin gives Vantage AMR a stick shift for serious driving enthusiasts

A 7-speed manual transmission and carbon ceramic brakes are standard on the Vantage AMR
A 7-speed manual transmission and carbon ceramic brakes are standard on the Vantage AMR
View 8 Images
Vantage AMR retains the same 503-horsepower V8 twin turbo motor, but detuned for less torque
1/8
Vantage AMR retains the same 503-horsepower V8 twin turbo motor, but detuned for less torque
The AMR is 95 kg lighter than the standard Vantage
2/8
The AMR is 95 kg lighter than the standard Vantage
The Vantage AMR keeps the 195-mph top speed of the standard version
3/8
The Vantage AMR keeps the 195-mph top speed of the standard version
Carbon ceramic brakes
4/8
Carbon ceramic brakes
Leather-covered gearshift
5/8
Leather-covered gearshift
Racing green color will likely be the collectible one
6/8
Racing green color will likely be the collectible one
Tasty sideways action in the Vantage AMR
7/8
Tasty sideways action in the Vantage AMR
A 7-speed manual transmission and carbon ceramic brakes are standard on the Vantage AMR
8/8
A 7-speed manual transmission and carbon ceramic brakes are standard on the Vantage AMR

America considers itself a great car loving nation and yet, according to a U.S. News and World Report study, only 18 percent of American drivers even know how to use a manual transmission, and only about 5 percent of vehicles sold in the US in 2016 had three pedals. To much of the rest of the Western world, knowing how to drive stick is a point of considerable pride, and many serious enthusiasts feel that driving automatics removes a key element of connection with the car.

Mind you, manual transmissions are becoming rare in the upper echelons of the performance car world – perhaps because of a shrinking market, perhaps because dual-clutch boxes give you better 0-60-mph times for the bench racers, perhaps because there's more and more electrification going on, and hybrid systems can work extremely well with computer-controlled gearboxes.

Vantage AMR retains the same 503-horsepower V8 twin turbo motor, but detuned for less torque
Vantage AMR retains the same 503-horsepower V8 twin turbo motor, but detuned for less torque

Still, it's nice when companies throw bones to the purists, and Aston Martin's upcoming Vantage AMR is a juicy bone indeed. It uses the same 4-liter, twin-turbo V8 as the regular Vantage sportster, albeit detuned for substantially less torque. The standard Vantage makes 685 Nm (505 lb-ft), where the AMR makes 625 Nm (461 lb-ft), but peak horsepower stays at 503 ponies, 0-60 mph (0-98 km/h) acceleration is only 0.4 seconds slower at 3.9 seconds (about what you'd expect with manual shifting), and top speed remains constant at 195 mph (314 km/h).

As to the gearbox itself, you're looking at a 7-speed unit developed by Graziano. First gear is a down-left dog leg, with second to seventh sitting in a double-H pattern. There's a limited-slip diff, and it'll auto-blip the throttle to rev match on downshifts to pretend you've got the skills to heel-toe shift if you don't. If you do, by all means go ahead and turn it off.

Carbon-ceramic brakes come standard on the AMR (which stands, incidentally, for Aston Martin Racing), and between the brakes and transmission the AMR manages to shed a whopping 209 lb (95 kg) of weight.

The Vantage AMR keeps the 195-mph top speed of the standard version
The Vantage AMR keeps the 195-mph top speed of the standard version

Aston Martin Lagonda President and CEO Andy Palmer sang the song of the die-hard petrolhead speaking about the AMR: "When I joined this company, customers asked and, as a gearbox engineer and racer, I promised that we would always offer a manual transmission in our line-up. The Vantage AMR not only honors that commitment but sets us apart from our competitors in continuing to offer a three-pedal option. In a world of autonomous robo-taxis, Aston Martin will continue to advance the art and science of performance driving." Preach it, Andy!

Tasty sideways action in the Vantage AMR
Tasty sideways action in the Vantage AMR

Only 200 Vantage AMRs will be built, 59 of them wearing a Stirling Green/Lime paint job celebrating Aston's 1959 win at Le Mans. The rest will have blue, black, grey and white options. Expect to pay UK£149,995 in the UK, €184,995 in Germany and $179,995 in the US, a 20-30-grand premium in each currency.

Check out a short video of the Vantage AMR below.

Source: Aston Martin

Aston Martin Vantage AMR

1 comment
owlbeyou
Oooh, that's nice. Great lines. Rear end's a little busy. I have no probs with a paddle shifter, but a stick shift is always welcomed in a real sport car racer, although 7 speeds might be a bit much?