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Limited-edition 2020 Aston Martin Vantage AMR gets seven-speed stick

The standard Vantage will get the same transmission in 2020.

Aston Martin has unveiled a more hardcore variant of the Vantage named AMR. It's a limited-edition model that gains a manual transmission while losing weight to provide a more engaging driving experience.

Like the standard Vantage, the AMR is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 engine borrowed from Mercedes-AMG. It makes 510 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 460 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm. In the AMR, it sends its power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed manual transmission with a dog-leg first gear. The gearbox was developed by Graziano; Aston Martin couldn't use an off-the-shelf unit because AMG never planned to bolt a stick to its V8.

Aston Martin made modifications to the AMR's suspension, and it fitted standard carbon ceramic brake rotors that are lighter than the steel units found on the regular Vantage. The seven-speed is lighter than the automatic it replaces, so the AMR benefits from a 210-pound weight loss that enhances handling and performance. The sprint from zero to 60 mph takes 3.9 seconds, and top speed checks in at 195 mph.

The Vantage AMR is limited to 200 units worldwide. 141 of those will be offered in Sabiro Blue, Onyx Black, China Grey, or White Stone. The last 59 examples will form a special series (yes, Aston is making a limited edition of a limited-edition car) called Vantage 59 that will pay tribute to its victory at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Pricing starts at $179,995, though selecting the Vantage 59 package bumps that figure to $204,995. Deliveries will begin in the last quarter of 2019. Only the AMR is getting a stick for the time being, but the transmission will be available on the regular Vantage starting in early 2020. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, however.

While spending a substantial amount of money on developing a seven-speed manual transmission seems insane in 2019, Aston Martin believes its commitment to performance is part of what sets it apart from its rivals. "When I joined this company, customers asked and, as a gearbox engineer and racer, I promised that we would always offer a manual transmission in our line-up," said company CEO Andy Palmer in a statement. "In a world of autonomous robo-taxis, Aston Martin will continue to advance the art and science of performance driving," he added.

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