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Aston Martin V12 Vantage S manual: Seven-speeds of fun (pictures)

Aston Martin has finally put a manual gearbox in the V12 Vantage S. We took it out for a spin.

alexgoy.jpg
Alex Goy
2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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Aston's Vantage may be in the winter of its life, but it's still a very pretty car.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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The V12 Vantage S Manual comes in a number of color combos. We like this one (well...some of us do).

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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To make room for the stick shift the interior's been given a light refresh.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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The exterior...not so much. Though the massive hood vents remain.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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Large brakes are large.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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Here's the party piece: a seven-speed dogleg stick shift.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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If a Vantage has those vents, there's a V-12 lurking beneath.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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And that V-12 makes a hell of a noise.

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One-piece buckets add a sporting element to the inside. They're comfy, too.

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A lip spoiler has been built in to the rear deck to keep it on the ground.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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The dials remain cool, though you'll never see them above 90 degrees on the road.

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Aston says it'll his 205 mph. It's not lying, judging by the speed.

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This engine is a masterpiece.

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2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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A proper handbrake in an odd place.

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In the dry, the Vantage has masses of grip.

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Though in the wet it can get a little tricky.

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There's seven speeds to play with here, though the gearbox is quite tight and it can get confusing.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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Basking shark calling...

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The cabin isn't too noisy with the sport button off.

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You can happily cruise at highway speeds and not be irked by it.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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Press the sport button and you'll get an aural treat.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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Aston's AMShift system makes the manual easy to manage.

2016 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Manual
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It'll blip the throttle on downshifts...

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...and let you do flat upshifts, so you don't have to take your foot off the gas while sapping cogs.

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It's bizarre to use, but utterly wonderful.

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You can turn it off if you're a purist though.

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Aston says it'll be the last manufacturer to offer a manual gearbox.

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It's sad that it has to make that statement, but it's great news for purists.

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The manual 'box is chunky and notchy...

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...though it can be a bit tight, so at first you'll miss the gear you want.

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Give it time and you'll get it down though.

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The manual-naturally aspirated combo makes for an engaging experience.

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The SportShift automatic option is the V12 Vantage S' weak spot.

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It works, but not well enough to make it a truly great car.

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That said, if I had one on the drive I wouldn't be mad about it...

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You can order a manual V12 Vantage S now.

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Though if you're in America, I have some bad news.

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Only 100 are going stateside.

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Europe, however, can have as many as it likes.

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Until overall Vantage production ends, that is.

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