The new Aston Martin Vantage AMR special edition will be the first current-generation model to come with a manual gearbox and is focused on offering an “exhilarating” driving experience.
The Vantage AMR retains the 503bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the regular model but switches the eight-speed automatic gearbox for a new seven-speed Graziano-developed manual.
It features a race-inspired dog-leg first gear, designed to ensure the most frequently use gears (second through to seventh) are in the traditional double-H configuration.
It is mated to a new limited-slip differential and is offered with Aston Martin’s Amshift system, which can automatically blip the throttle on downshifts to match engine revs to road speed.
This is the first time a self-shifter has been offered with the Mercedes-sourced 4.0-litre V8 in any car. Although the manual gearbox will initially be available on only the limited-run AMR, it will be offered as an option on the standard Vantage from the start of 2020.
The switch to the manual gearbox means the Vantage AMR has less torque – 461lb ft at 2000-5000pm, compared with 505lb ft for the automatic – but it weighs 1535kg, 95kg less than the standard Vantage. The Vantage AMR takes 3.9sec to achieve 0-60mph, 0.4sec slower than the automatic, but it retains the same governed top speed of 195mph.
Although the Vantage AMR has less torque, Aston Martin says the focus has been on ensuring the model delivers a greater level of driver engagement, due to the manual ’box and lighter weight. The new model also features the latest version of the firm’s Skyhook adaptive damping technology with three modes, but the rest of the car’s chassis is unchanged from the standard model.
The Vantage AMR will be limited to 200 units, with most supplied in one of five different design specifications.
The final 59 examples will be in a special ‘Vantage 59’ specification, featuring a livery recognising the 60th anniversary of the one-two finish achieved by the David Brown Racing Aston DBR1 in the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours.
That was Aston Martin’s only outright victory at Le Mans, although Aston Martin Racing – from which the AMR badge is derived – has won the GTE Pro class in recent years with the racing version of the Vantage.
As well as coming in a green and lime colour scheme similar to the ‘59’ cars, the model will also feature a special leather and Alcantara interior and unique trim details.
The Vantage AMR will cost from £149,995, a substantial £29,000 more than the standard Vantage, and the run-out 59 edition is even pricier at £164,995. Deliveries are tipped to start in the final quarter of 2019.