Aston Martin’s AMR sub-brand has produced an impressive list of hits during its relatively short time of being a production grade option for Aston Martin buyers. However, while the DB11 and the other big Astons have benefitted from this upgrade, the 2018 Vantage was forced to sit on the sidelines. That changes with the unveiling of the all new limited edition Vantage AMR.
A key rule that defined older Vantage ownership (and arguably the best way to fully enjoy the car) was to avoid the single clutch automated manual, and go for the more analog. but purist preferred manual gearbox. The AMR continues this tried and true rule of thumb, but in an entirely different way. Like other Vantages, the AMR is powered by a 4.0 liter turbocharged V8 that is borrowed from the AMG GT, with a potent 510 horsepower on tap for owners to truly relish in. Unlike the GT, the AMR Vantage sends its power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed manual gearbox. Developed by Graziano, the stick features a dog leg first gear, and was selected due in part to AMG not designing an in-house manual that could be bolted to the engine in the first place.
In addition to the transmission swap, AMR models also benefit from a highly modified suspension, and new carbon ceramic brake rotors that are much lighter than the standard steel units. The seven-speed is lighter than the standard automatic, and that translates to a 210 lb weight savings when compared to a stock Vantage. The lighter weight also helps the AMR Vantage blitz its way to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, before topping out at 195 mph. That’s not bad by any measure, and it pushes the AMR closer to the performance territory once occupied by older V12 equipped Vantages. Pricing will start at $179,995 for the base AMR, but equipping the package to the equally limited Vantage 59 variant (yes Aston is indeed offering two limited edition specials at once) will raise the admission fee to $204,995. Color choices will be limited to Sabrio Blue, Black Onyx, China Grey, or White Stone. The last 59 examples will be made in the fore-mentioned Vantage 59 spec, which celebrates Aston’s historic victory at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Deliveries are slated to begin towards the end of the year, but for now the AMR will be the only stick equipped Vantage avalible. That will change in 2020 when the seven-speed trickles down to the regular Vantage, but Aston did not release any official pricing for those models. While the very thought of investing precious capital into developing a manual transmission in 2019 might seem somewhat insane at first glance, it does show that Aston Martin is still keen on both appealing to its fan base, and also honoring the core elements of its sporting heritage to help set their products truly apart from 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,” stated Aston Martin CEO Alan Palmer. “In a world of autonomous robo-taxis, Aston Martin will continue to advance the art and science of performance driving,” he added. With these bold statements, it appears that Palmer is steering Aston Martin in a positive direction, and we look forward to seeing what else is in store including the production DBX SUV.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.