1st May 2019
Back to the Future
Surrounded by wi-fi connected devices and impending doom of Huawei 5G surveillance, the Luddite will be pleased by yesterday’s annoucement by Aston Martin of a retrospective specification: Vantage AMR.
Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire! (J.L.Lewis 1957)
They’ve gone and put a third pedal and manual transmission into the Aston Martin Vantage.
Touted as the “ultimate driving experience”, the Vantage AMR has a seven-speed manual transmission. backing up the rhetoric, it has an estimated Vmax of 195mph an 0-60mph time of 3.9 seconds, courtesy of the 95kg weight savings from the standard Vantage. The 4.0-litre, 510PS/625Nm twin-turbo V8 motor is a known powerplant and is no slouch.
The launch was announced a day before the penultimate round of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (2nd – 4th May 2019). Aptly so, because of Aston Martin’s success at the 1959 24-Hours of Le Mans. For the current FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season, Aston Martin Racing competes with the Vantage GTE; “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday!”
There will be 200 units of the Vantage AMR available worldwide with 59 units dedicated to ‘Vantage 59’ specification, celebrating said 1959 Le Mans victory. The remaining 141 owners will have to make do with one of the four alternative Vantage AMR specifications.
Andy Palmer, President and Group CEO, Aston Martin Lagonda said, “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. The Vantage AMR not only honours that commitment but sets us apart from our competitors in continuing to offer a three-pedal option. In a world of autonomous robo-taxis, Aston Martin will continue to advance the art and science of performance driving. With the Vantage AMR, we have created a thoroughly modern sports car that rewards effort and focus from the driver; the antidote to driving a computer game. With the Vantage GTE set to race again at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, I hope that those customers who are lucky enough to take ownership of a Vantage 59, will have even more reason to celebrate with their new car”.
Aston Martin’s hot, new alloy, 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine is entrenched low and as far back in the chassis as possible for best centre-of-gravity and almost 50:50 weight distribution. Peak power is 510PS at 6000rpm and 625Nm torque band from 2000-5000rpm to punch the Vntage AMR from 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds; for our continental friends, that’s 0-100kph in 4.0 seconds.
Vantage AMR has a “motorsport-inspired” 7-speed transmission developed by Graziano, with the expected ‘dog-leg’ first gear. This serves to allow the frequently used 2nd to 7th gears to be positioned in a convenient double H-pattern configuration. To help out the budding racer, the Vantage AMR transmission is mated to a limited-slip differential, tuned and calibrated to avoid embarrassment.
Further help comes from the AMSHIFT system, which is driver selectable, uses clutch, gear position and prop shaft sensors, together with finely-tuned engine management program to “mimic the technique of heel-and-toe downshifts”.
Vantage AMR drivers don’t even have to ‘blip’ the throttle while braking and changing gear to allow smoother deceleration and cornering. AMSHIFT also offers the capability of full-throttle upshifts for maximum smoothness and minimal interruption in acceleration.
In your Vantage AMR, you can look and sound like a hero!
The Turning and Stopping
Removing the automatic transmission also reduced 95kg of weight.
“Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.” – Colin Chapman.
The weight loss and carbon ceramic brakes as standard also help with stopping.
The Vantage AMR handling derived from racing experience is enhanced by an adaptive damping system incorporating Skyhook technology – with Sport, Sport+ and Track modes – allowing the car’s character to be tuned to the driver’s preference or road conditions.
This beast knows where you are at all times and adapts the suspension before the next corner….Back to the Future!
People like the phrase “Limited Edition” so the 200-units of Vantage AMR will be available in five designer specifications. 141 will be available in either Sabiro Blue, Onyx Black, China Grey or White Stone.
Of course, the extra special 59 owners will celebrate the 60th anniversary since Aston Martin’s 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans victory with DBR1. Named “Vantage 59”, this fixed specification features a Stirling Green and Lime exterior colour scheme with Dark Knight leather and alcantara interior, finished with a signature AMR lime stripe and stitch.
“The true cost of luxury is the choice that it affords.”
Priced at £164,995 in the UK, €209,995 in Germany and $204,995 in the USA, this package is available on a first-come-first-serve basis to customers worldwide.
On sale now with a recommended retail price from £149,995 in the UK, €184,995 in Germany and $179,995 in the USA.
Deliveries of Vantage AMR are scheduled to begin during the final quarter of 2019.
VIDEO Aston Martin Vantage AMR
Ostensibly, the “retrospective” move to manual transmission gives Aston Martin customer the impression of ultimate driver control. This is despite clinical trials that demonstrate the superiority of automatic gear shifts for 99.99% of the human population. The whole Vantage AMR package is clever. It gives the customer the “ultimate driving experience” by reintroducing old-school manual gear shift so they feel like they’re “really driving” but the silent, modern aids in the background keep them safe.
Buried in the brouhaha of this “exciting” announement, note that the Vantage will continue to feature a manual gearbox as an option from Q1 2020, following the sale of all 200 Vantage AMR models.
You don’t have to get a lime green one right now…..
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Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web magazine. He was former CEO of PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).