The manual Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is the car we've been waiting for
It's a bittersweet time to be into cars.
They're getting bigger, and heavier.
They're getting turbos, which boost torque, but ultimately kill the good noise.
And because humans are slow and inefficient by design, computers are doing a lot of the hard work for us, including changing gear.
In fact, compared to the cars of yesteryear, they're getting pretty easy to drive.
All you really need to do is get in, press the start button, and point the car in the right direction.
That sounds awfully Sounds depressing, doesn't it?
Well, there are many advantages to this new era.
For example, if you have a crash, you aren't instantly killed.
Cars are more efficient and less polluting than ever before.
They're faster as well, and easier to drive form more people.
Nowadays there are some And a factor is that, take the best bits of the new, but also throw in the best bits of the old.
Take Aston Martin, for example, this is a V12 Vantage S. And for the first time it's got a manual gearbox.
[SOUND] Seven speeds in the palm of your hand.
And in a dog-leg like on race cars.
Previously you could only have the V12 Vantage S with the sport shift automatic gearbox, and it was the car's Achille's Heel.
I've driven the hard-top and the roadster before and the only thing that stopped me from loving it to the max With the gear box.
It was slow, sticky, and clunky, ideal for the person that wanted a V12 to bumble around in, but didn't want to do any work.
But it was a sign of the times.
People who could afford a V12 Aston didn't want the stick to shift with, they wanted a car to do all the work.
They wanted a mode to go home quietly, And are moved to tear up their favorite B road on the weekend.
And why shouldn't our toys be malleable,why can they change from one thing to the other at a moments notice?
It means more people will buy them and that's surely a good thing.
And most of the time, if there wasn't a manual option, the person that would've bought it will say Well, sod it, and get the auto anyway.
And as more people say sod it, the purists cry foul.
They're ignoring us, they're killing driving, they don't care about their cars or about us.
You know what?
That's all BS.
Technology won't halt itself because you like it that way.
Else we still be manually plowing fields.
If you really want fast cars with manual gear boxes, why didn't you buy them new.
If the answer to that is because I couldn't afford it then you know why autos are so prevalent.
Thankfully, there are some people out there who listen.
Take Porsche, for example.
It released the brilliantly engaging, manual-only Cayman GT4, and It's bringing out the stick-shift mentalists for the road, the 911R.
Now Aston Martin has said that what it wants to do is be the last manufacturer to offer a stick-shift sports car.
Now that is a Proper commitment to proper driving purity.
And this is a hell of a car to commit to.
Its 565 horsepower, 457 pound-foot 6-litre V12 is a thing of beauty.
Aston says the manual will get the car from 0 to 62 in 3.9 seconds, and up To 205 miles an hour.
And that's no slower than the auto.
And thanks to something called Amshift, it'll blip the throttle for you on downshifts and allow for flat upshifting, keeping your progress as brisk as possible.
In theory then, this stick shift should make this the best car in the world ever possibly ever made ever.
So let's talk about it.
First things first, it's a dog leg seven speed which means if you're used to a normal gear [UNKNOWN] everything is upside down.
But with a little bit of practice You can figure that out.
There are a lot of gears packed into quite a small space, so initially at least, it's actually quite confusing.
Because you think you're going for third, but you end up in fifth, or you think you're going for second, you end up in fourth, and it can be a bit tricky.
I've caught myself out a fair few times.
But thankfully, this thing has so much torque, if you do miss second and end up in fourth you'll still fire yourself off into the distance at a moment's notice.
The clutch itself is nice, easy, it's light.
It doesn't feel too difficult to use.
But as a package, you actually have to work hard to make it work for you.
It's not easy.
It doesn't hand everything Thing to you on a plate.
You have to actually getting good at using it before you can get the best out of it.
And when you do, it rewards you with such a good experience.
There's this tactility to it.
And it's utterly, utterly, fantastic.
And it feels so much more precise than the auto option.
I had to reverse it into an awkward space last night.
The kind of inch forward and backward maneuvers.
And in the auto you would end up hitting something.
Because it's not as precise.
The shift itself is quite notchy.
You do have to ram it home as well.
You do have to put a bit of effort into it.
And you feel it engage the gear.
You know Where it is and what it's doing.
You do understand though after a while of using it why cars like this don't have manuals anymore.
Because it is quite tricky, and there is a lot of power.
And the last thing you want to do is, say, pop off the gear shift when you're going quite quickly.
Because the power on [INAUDIBLE] Is just immense.
The ride's a little bit bumpy.
It is a little.
Little bit firm, but it's compromising that you're driving a 6L V12 sports car.
You really can't have everything.
The steering, beautifully tactile.
You get lovely feedback from it.
The throttle response is stunning.
And then you get the V12 noise.
One of the best noises to ever come out of the **** end of the car is because of that six liter V12.
It's just, it's such a stunning, stunning sound.
And that's just from in here.
From outside, it must sound incredible.
It's been said that the Vantage is looking a little dated.
I mean, it's quite and old car now Now.
It's been around for a very, very long time.
And part of me agrees with them, but part of me things no, actually, it's a stunning looking car.
It's still got presence to it, it stands out.
People still pay attention to it.
It may be an old design, but it's still a good design.
Purists and driving enthusiasts and what have you have long been lamenting the fact that automatic gearboxes are [UNKNOWN] Turbocharged engines here and they're taking away the pleasure and the purity of something they love dearly.
The analog era is dying out.
First television, now, sadly cars.
This and cars like it are going to become increasingly rare.
They're already rare, let's face it.
But we celebrate things like this.
We should enjoy them especially while we have them, because one day people will stop making them.
It's a thing that is going to happen.
You know, maybe we'll all be in electric pods being whizzed to and from work.
I personally hope not because it would definitely put me out of a job.
This is so good.
It's a bit dated.
It's based on an old platform.
It's got a Massive engine, it's got a proper gear box, and it just feels, lovely brilliant.
Hardly a surprise, a car I love despite a terrible gear box is better now that it's been replaced with a better one.
It makes me sad though, because while Europe will get as many of these as we like, the US will only get 100.
100 people will get to experience, what could be, the perfect Aston Martin.
Technology is digitizing pretty much everything.
Amazon, iTunes and Netflix are making human interaction and physicality, a thing of the past.
Making life just that little bit easier.
But every now and then.
Flicking through your favorite book.
Feeling the pages and smelling the paper.
It's just what the doctor ordered.
And that's precisely what this is and it's brilliant.