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Car and Driver: Aston to Offer 7-speed Manual for V12 Vantage S, Complete with Dogleg First Gear

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2017-Aston-Martin-V12-Vantage-S-PLACMENT

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Ever since former Nissan engineering supremo Andy Palmer was put in charge of Aston Martin, the company has assured us that it plans to offer manual gearboxes wherever it can. Welcome confirmation of that has just been delivered with the announcement that the formerly automatic-only Vantage V12 S is about to be offered with a manual ’box for the first time.

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Even better, this is a seven-speed transmission that incorporates a dogleg first gear similar to old race cars; this means that you select first by moving the shifter to the left and back, and that gears second through seventh will then occupy the three fore-and-back channels, although 2 sits above 3, 4 above 5, and 6 above 7. This is different to the seven-speed gear pattern offered in manual Porsche 911s and Chevrolet Corvettes, which leaves seventh on its own to the right of a conventional six-speed pattern.

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In most of the world the new transmission will be offered as a no-cost option alongside the existing, less-than-silken AMT single-clutch automated gearshift, but in the U.S. Aston says that the manual will be offered as a special edition with production limited to just 100 cars. With this Vantage set to retire next year before the arrival of a new version with anAMG-sourced twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, we should probably regard it—and the GTS version of the V8 Vantage announced at the same time—as being the long-lived sports car’s last hurrah.

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2017 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

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The manual gearbox comes with a rev-matching system dubbed AMSHIFT, which will digitally deliver heel-and-toe-esque downshifts and also allow no-lift, full-throttle upshifting for maximum acceleration; we’re assured that you will also be able to switch this off to take control yourself. Other parts of the mechanical package remain as before, with the same wailing, 565-hp 6.0-liter V-12 naturally aspirated engine. The manually equipped car is claimed to be capable of dispatching a 0-to-62-mph run in 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 205 mph. That makes it fractionally slower than the Vantage S AMT, but almost certainly more fun.

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Like the rest of the Vantage family, the V12 S is also getting some other revisions including spec upgrades, some visual tweaks and the arrival of what we’re promised is a much-improved “AMi III” infotainment and navigation system that features better graphics and both Apple and Android integration.

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Deliveries of the manual V12 Vantage S start in the fall, with a $188,795 MSRP.

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