As with the V12 Vantage S coupe, introduced in 2013, the roadster initially had the latest generation Sportshift III hydraulically actuated automated manual transmission fitted as standard. It provides motorsport-style paddle shift changes for optimum performance delivery. The unit, which replaces the six-speed manual gearbox found in the previous V12 Vantage Roadster, is also appreciably lighter – saving 20 kg versus its forebear.
The use of three-stage adaptive damping, allied to three-stage DSC and two-stage ABS, allows the driver to more precisely tailor the car’s dynamic character. ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ modes provide a broad swathe of dynamic performance that can be tuned to better suit the driver’s requirements. The system also governs the level of power steering assistance offered.
Optimum braking performance is delivered via the specially-created carbon ceramic discs all round, with near-identical brakes to those used on the Vanquish. Meanwhile a whole new lightweight exhaust system – derived from that of Aston Martin’s most expensive and exclusive production model, the One-77 – is wonderfully sonorous.
Unlike the previous V12 Vantage Roadster, which was limited to just 101 examples, the new ‘S’ version does not appear to be a limited or special edition and will no doubt be built in greater numbers. The ‘S’ is also on sale worldwide including the important North American market which was denied the previous offering.
Deliveries of the V12 Vantage S Roadster began in the autumn of 2014.
Then, three years after the limited edition V12 Vantage Roadster Aston Martin re-introduced the manual gearbox to a V12 powered Vantage Roadster
The new seven-speed manual transmission features a classic dog-leg first gear position; an echo from the past that will be welcomed by driving enthusiasts. This dog-leg configuration also ensures the gears used most frequently are located in a double ‘H‘ pattern like that of a conventional 6-speed manual.
The new manual transmission also features AMSHIFT. The system, which is driver selectable uses clutch, gear position and propshaft sensors, together with finely-tuned programming of the engine management, to mimic the technique of heel-and-toe downshifts; the act of blipping the throttle while braking and changing gear. AMSHIFT also offers the capability of full-throttle upshifts for maximum smoothness and minimal interruption in acceleration.
AMSHIFT can be used in all driving modes, but is especially effective in Sport, with the sharper throttle response and louder exhaust note really emphasising the downshift throttle blip for maximum excitement.