The Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Replaces the Last V12 Equipped With a Manual Transmission

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Front 2

All photos from Aston Martin

The Aston Martin V12 Vantage is a killer automobile. It is the British marque’s smallest sports car with the engine of its most powerful shoehorned under the hood. The 6.0L 12-cylinder makes a respectable 510hp, and that power flows through the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, the only option available. From the huge motor to the massive braces cradling the engine and exclusive splitter and diffuser, it is a car made for the somewhat rare Aston buyer who wants a little bit more than a GT wrapped in silky, beautiful sheetmetal. With the upcoming V12 Vantage S, the more powerful V12 from the new Vanquish will give the car an extra 55hp, to 565, making its top speed just north of 200mph. The extra grunt comes at a price, however, and I don’t mean an expected sticker greater than $200,000 at the local dealership. The V12 Vantage S will only be offered with an updated version of Aston’s Touchtronic sequential gearbox, which gains an extra cog for seven gears. The outgoing V12 Vantage will be the last 12-cylinder car driven by a manual transmission.

We’ve been covering the increasing absence of the manual transmission for some time now, and nowhere is its exclusion more evident than in the realm of high-end sports cars, supercars, and hypercars. I recently wrote about a special edition Lamborghini Gallardo that will serve as the last of the three-pedaled Italian supercars, and even Porsche won’t offer the option to row your own gears in the new 911 Turbo and Turbo S.

When Ferrari introduced the insane Enzo and its semi-automatic transmission in 2002, the company signaled its full commitment to the F1-inspired tech that could finally outperform the quickest humans. As shifting times decreased throughout the last decade, the proliferation of semi-automatics across the horizon of barely attainable vehicles has increased to the point where manuals are going the way of the dodo in that sector.

I can’t call the V12 Vantage a Future Classic just yet, for the simple fact that it is in no way affordable to the majority of car enthusiasts (I was even pushing it with the $60,000 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, because it hasn’t had time to come down in price). One day it will be worth investing in, however, because important automotive milestones are remembered and often rewarded at auction if the car is remembered fondly. And by all accounts, the V12 Vantage is a fantastic car.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Back

The V12 Vantage S, then, will be more of everything that makes its predecessor so fantastic. In addition to the horsepower bump, torque also is raised by 37 lb-ft, to 457. While the crucial 0-60mph time has not yet been published, the S will make the sprint quicker than the 4.2 second time in the outgoing model. It will also be distinguishable from the V12 Vantage by ditching the metal crosshatched grille in favor of a  more open design inspired by the CC100 concept. From the rear, the area in between the rear taillights is now black, rather than body-colored.

No release date has been set for the V12 Vantage S, and Aston’s press release is also devoid of any pricing, along with information as to when its public unveiling will be. Stay tuned for more news as it develops.


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About Cameron Rogers

Cameron Rogers is the founder and lead writer at Downshift Autos, the only automotive blog on the Internet*. Born in the back of an AMC Gremlin, Cameron vowed to never let this extraordinarily embarrassing detail define him, so help him God. He drives a GTI but absolutely will not shut up about it if somebody asks. He will not hesitate to let people know that no, they shouldn't get a Porsche 911 when a Morgan 3 Wheeler is so obviously the superior choice. He is obsessed with the seats of a Carrera GT and the steering wheel of a Fisker Karma. He once sat in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S, his greatest accomplishment to date. He is just now realizing that writing an autobiography, however miniscule, in the third person is odd and unnerving. *As of this writing, Cameron has been informed that there are, in fact, many websites and blogs centered around cars and car culture. He regrets his grievous error.

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