Last week, we told you that a new AMR version of the Aston Martin Vantage will have a manual transmission and that it will be “coming soon.” Well, it turns out that “soon” is already here. Aston has revealed the Vantage AMR, and as we suspected, it uses a seven-speed manual transmission with a dogleg-style first gear.
The transmission was developed by Graziano and was first used in the V12 Vantage Sfrom a few years ago. The racing-inspired dogleg setup means second through seventh gears are in a traditional H pattern, but first gear is down and to the left while reverse is up and to the left, the opposite of a traditional manual gearbox. It has what Aston calls Amshift, which is a rev-matching system that also allows for full-throttle upshifts; the system can be turned on or off. In addition to the gearbox, the AMR also gets a limited-slip differential that was developed by Aston’s racing team.
The AMR is said to weigh 209 pounds less than a regular Vantage thanks to the removal of the automatic transmission and the fitment of carbon-ceramic brakes as standard, and weight distribution is a perfect 50/50 split. (An automatic 2019 Vantage we tested weighed in at 3726 pounds.) While power from the V-8 is unchanged at 503 horses, torque has gone down from 505 lb-ft to 461 lb-ft (both peaking at 2000 rpm). Aston’s quoted zero-to-60-mph time for the AMR is slower than the regular Vantage’s, too, at 3.9 seconds for the AMR versus 3.5 for the standard car. Top speed remains 195 mph.
In addition to the manual transmission and its accompanying leather-wrapped shifter, the AMR gets a handful of cosmetic enhancements. New 20-inch forged aluminum wheels look like those on the Rapide AMR, and the brake calipers are painted to match other trim pieces in Lime Green, which is the AMR signature color. The design of the carbon-fiber side vents is new, and the hood gets a pair of new carbon-fiber vents. The AMR also features a bunch of standard kit that’s optional on regular Vantages, including a sport exhaust system with quad pipes, sport bucket seats, and lots of dark interior and exterior trim.
Only 200 AMRs will be built, with the first 141 coming in China Grey, Onyx Black, Sabiro Blue, or White Stone paint with a choice of four interior schemes—Aston calls the specs “designer specifications.” The AMR will start at $183,081, or $30,000 more than the standard Vantage. The final 59 cars in the AMR’s run are dubbed Vantage 59; these will feature a special color and option combination (shown in these photos) that celebrates Aston’s 1959 Le Mans win, similar to the recently revealed DBS 59. Those 59 cars will cost $208,081 to start.
If you’re not one of the lucky 200 people that will receive a Vantage AMR—and given how quickly models like this sell out, you probably aren’t—don’t fret. Aston says that the regular Vantage will gain the AMR’s manual transmission as an option beginning in the first quarter of 2020, once all the AMRs have been sold. There’s no word as to whether the manual will be a no-cost option, an extra-cost option, or actually cheaper than the automatic.
In speaking about the AMR’s conception and the new manual option, Aston CEO Andy Palmer says he has always promised that Aston would offer a manual in its lineup—it’s something that customers were asking for. The Vantage thus honors that promise and “sets [Aston] apart from [its] competitors in continuing to offer a three-pedal option,” according to Palmer. As for that competition, the Porsche 911 is the only other car that can be had with a manual. “In a world of autonomous robo-taxis, Aston Martin will continue to advance the art and science of performance driving,” Palmer says, adding that the Vantage AMR is “a thoroughly modern sports car that rewards effort and focus from the driver, the antidote to driving a computer game.” At Car and Driver, we’re all about saving the manuals, so Palmer’s statement is music to our ears.