IT’S a strange feeling to hear a manual gearstick described as vintage, but that’s the direction Aston Martin have taken their classic V12 Vantage S in, reconfiguring the powerful model with a third pedal and a proper gearstick.
Something of an anachronism in the modern quest to make life faster, more streamlined, but above all easier, the bold move from the British manufacturer will capitalise on that atavistic demand for serious, old-school, clutch battering driving.
The new V12 Vantage S manual doesn’t sacrifice speed for gear shifting interaction. It can hit 100kph in 3.9 seconds, boasts a maximum 330kph, making it Aston Martin’s fastest series production car, helped along by a 6.0 litre engine powering 421kW and 620Nm of torque.
Indeed the V12 Vantage S manual is old-school in its entirety, in its very fabric. It stands almost in defiant opposition to contemporary trends towards elegance and sophistication. Not this model, this is a loud, aggressive throwback to times past, a physically confident car that bellows, roars and curves and demands attention. So it makes perfect sense that it would abandon paddle-shifting automatic transmission in favour of a seven-speed Graziano gearbox with the first six gears positioned as you’d expect, while the seventh is stuck in at the top right in what old-schoolers would call a dog-leg.
A definite nod to enthusiasts and hardcore motorheads, the question is whether, at €170,000 there is a significant market of determined car lovers who would take the time to appreciate this beast, or whether those who can afford the model are generally the type to opt for smoother, sleeker, sexier cars they can take around town?
Aston Martin has indicated that future production cars will also see manual transmissions incorporated, with automatic backup for those who have forgotten the lost art of proper driving, so the dog-leg might still have its day.