By on May 29, 2013

Aston Martin Vantage. Photo courtesy Aston Martin.

Despite a wistful tribute to one of the most outrageous sports cars on the planet, Jeremy Clarkson was wrong. We will see another car like the Aston Martin V12 Vantage. But something is missing.

The V12 Vantage S gets a 50 horsepower bump and a 37 lb-ft boost in torque. Final power figures are 565 ponies and 475 lb-ft of torque. Top speed is now 205 mph while 60 mph comes up in 4 seconds. A 7-speed automated manual is the sole gearbox option – unfortunately, the three-pedal gearbox goes bye-bye.

In a way, Clarkson was right. The lack of a manual gearbox means the end of an era – as far as I know, there are no more V12 powered sports cars available with a real manual gearbox. But in the grand scheme of things, I am ok with it. It’s a small price to pay. When every supercar is employing some kind of hybrid system or turbocharged engine, we have a real, honest to goodness naturally aspirated V12 crammed into Aston’s smallest bodyshell. My guerrilla antics with the V8 Vantage means that I’ll probably never drive one of these, barring a sudden Powerball win or the kind of marriage that necessitates a pre-nup. But I’m glad that it exists.

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22 Comments on “Aston Martin V12 Vantage Loses A Pedal, Refuses To Die...”


  • avatar
    LeeK

    First, the Porsche 911 Turbo announcement and now the Aston Martin V12 Vantage. The end of manual transmissions in the super car world continues, and that will inevitably mean that manuals will disappear from sports cars that regular people can occasionally afford. The day the Mazda MX-5 goes for automation in gear selection is the time when we will know that the worm has turned.

    • 0 avatar
      another_pleb

      The perceived complexity of automated and automatic gearboxes for mechanics will probably have he effect of increasing the resale of values of manual gearbox super-cars on the classic/used market. So in 10 years time a late model Ferrari F430 will sell for more than an early 458 Italia. A bit like how, all else being equal, Porsche 993 is worth more than a 996.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      You have been able to get an auto since the first gen Miata. Incidentally, if you are buying a used one to build these are likely to have not been abused though I believe the motor had less HP than the 5 speed. There are many slushbox equipped NC Miatas out there. I figure the ND will get some sort of flappy paddle deal that will eventually relegate the stick to a small percentage of sales.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        I haven’t been able to find my old posts (“recent comments” confuses google) but the last time I checked (and posted results) Carmax, manual miatas (and MX-5s) were more readily available in manual and more readily available than most other “sports cars” (more than corvettes, more than combined porshes (includes SUVs), maybe less than boxsters, but not much less.

        A reply claimed that new sales had tipped to automatics, but I’m not sure where it came from.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I think LeeK was referring to a point in which no manual transmission is available at all on the MX-5 “Miata”…

        • 0 avatar
          LeeK

          Yes, thanks. I should have been more specific. The day the MX-5 comes only with an automatic is the day we know the manual transmission is truly dead for the sports car aficianado.

  • avatar

    The manual NEEDS TO DIE. Automatics and AWD with launch control own the future.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I used to shake my head watching the newbies to Fort Drum slam their Imprezzas into stuff on the first snow because they thought the AWD meant they could drive at a normal speed when the snow was coming down faster than they could plow the roads. Yet I always got to work in my non LSD equipped Miata and our Tucson never had any issues with the snow. IMHO, AWD emboldened a lot of fools up there.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        mkirk, you couldnt be more right about AWD. The highway between Calgary and Edmonton is wide open prairie and tends to ice up very easily even without a low vis blizzard. I’ve had to make that trip through quite a few winter storms, and if there are more than 10 cars in the ditch (my passengers have counted once as high as 70 on one 300 km trip) its almost a gaurantee that 3/4 will be 4wd or AWD.

        I’ll take a 2wd car with proper winter tires over all seasons/awd any day of the week.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      The steering wheel NEEDS TO DIE. GoogleDrive controls the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Actually, the combination of bigtruckseriesreview and wumpus is most likely future reality.

      At moments like this, I’m glad I’m 63. It means that I should probably be able to spend the rest of my life (personal expectations are 17 years) manually shifting and manually steering whatever (most likely, used and getting older) car(s) I’m owning.

      My big questions is, if bigtruckseriesreview and wumpus hate driving that much, why are they hanging out at a car site? Shouldn’t they be at the ‘transportation module’ (as per the line in Bowie’s “The Jean Genie”) site?

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Why the hate, big truck?

      Full dislosure, I am a manual driver and love it.

      If I wanted to set the craziest fastest laptime on a track, gimme AWD, launch control and 7 flappy paddle actuated gears for sure.

      But driving a personal vehicle for enjoyment, not on a track, I’ll take a manual.

      Why can’t we have both options?

      (Just so you know I’m not trollin, if we look at an everyman vehicle, I know the GTI is faster with the DSG, no argument, but I’d still take a manual. Every last 10th 0-60 isnt my priority.)

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Sorry, but not everyone wants the car to drive for them. Give up the trolling. You’re going to have to wait a little longer to see your dream of the road as the exclusive path of the soulless appliance come true.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I’m all about choices and what I like may not be your cup of tea, but, car companies have to stay in business and that means offering what will bring the highest rate of return. My dad drove trucks from Florida to New York City back in the late 1930′s and he said the greatest invention for cars was the automatic transmission. I guess he got tired of gear jammin those old trucks back in the day. I find myself agreeing with him a lot more now that I’m 53 and grew up a bit.

    • 0 avatar
      racebeer

      I don’t know, Junebug. I guess time marches on, but at age 60 I still love jamming the gears in my 6-Speed Trans Am on a daily basis. (OK …. I guess you can take the boy out of the south, but it is impossible to remove that inner redneck tendency……)

  • avatar
    Summicron

    What a hauntingly beautiful elegy is that Clarkson video.

    And I pray he’s right, that the “relentless War on Speed” truly results in “an ending” for this type of criminally dangerous self-indulgence.

    Arrested adolescent relics of a ruling class going ape-shit fast around blind corners…. may it go the way of plumed helmets.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    The end of V12s with a proper manual gearbox….truly a dark day in the world of car enthusiasts. I wonder if there’s any chance Ferrari, Aston, or Lamborghini would fit one as part of their customization program for someone who came bearing a big enough check.

    • 0 avatar
      Cubista

      “Exotic cars” and “driving enthusiasts” are not mutually exclusive terms. Unless said enthusiasts have major bank, in which case the “non-S” variation of the V12 Vantage is still available with a 6SPM gearbox and nothing else. If you have the means, there are sufficient numbers of gently used DB9′s and DBS(‘s) that use the same 6SPM as the Vantage.
      If you don’t roll in those circles, BMW will equip any car from their “M” shop with a manual, and if you don’t want to spend THAT kind of coin, a Z4 can be had for less. Boxsters, Evo’s, WRX’s, Miatas, FR-S/BRZ twins…Mustang GT’s and Camaro SS(‘s), if you want to buy ‘Murican.
      So you don’t get the option of a manual in a car that costs 200 large…#firstworldproblems, not a legitimate driver’s concern.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @cubista: there is no non-s version of the v12 vantage. I realize there are other enthusiast models out there, but to me a long hood short deck car with a normally aspirated V12 up front is the ultimate road going GT sports car (ok straight six gets a close second). turbos, 4 cylinders, v8s, awd, mid engines, they are certainly fun and have their place, but they’re not the same. That such a classic configuration is no longer able to be ordered or purchased new from any dealer with 3 pedals, is, I think, a very sad sign of the times and what the future holds. It is truly the end of an era for the car.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Obviously, the fact that this is happening means that these manual-transmissioned high-dollar cars are losing propositions for their respective automakers. It may be that Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin all go the automated-manual route (given their fashion-statement-making clientele) but plebeian cars like the Mustang, Corvette, GTI, 500 and MX-5 “Miata” have high take-rates when it comes to manual transmissions, and I don’t think that they will jettison them for a very long time, if at all.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    As I sadly watched Jeremy’s video, it occurred to me that the “War on Speed” is not the fundamental problem. It is a “War on Competence”. Not only do 75% of drivers work with distraction, but the car makers are doing their level best to automate the driving process so that real competence would not be necessary. And, of course, that generates more permission for distracted incompetent driving….

    ——————-

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