Aston Martin Vantage AMR equipped with a stick shift to honor Le Mans win

Of 200 to be made, 59 are special-edition 'Vantage 59' spec

Aston Martin Vantage AMR
Aston Martin Vantage AMR
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Where and how a car debuts can say a lot about that vehicle. With the newest Aston Martin, the message is clear: It's all about the lasting visceral connection between driver and automobile. The Vantage AMR, with a manual transmission and a twin-turbocharged V8, debuted today at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second-to-last race in the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship. Of the 200 examples, 59 will be available with special "Vantage 59" trimmings.

We've known a manual-transmission Vantage was on the way for some time, but as our previous report said, this is the first time the Mercedes-AMG-sourced engine has been paired with a stick. So it expectedly took some time to develop.

The brawny power source beneath the Vantage's hood is a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8. It is rated at 503 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 461 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. It has a top speed of 195 mph and has a claimed zero-to-60 time of 3.9 seconds. The AMR's stats are slightly down from the base Vantage due to use of the Graziano-developed seven-speed transmission. The automatic Vantage offers 505 lb-ft of peak torque and has a listed zero-to-60 time of 3.6 seconds.

In part due to the change from automatic transmission to manual, the AMR is significantly lighter than the regular Vantage. Switching to standard carbon ceramic brakes also helped the AMR come in 209 pounds lighter, yet Aston says the car maintains its nearly even 50-50 weight distribution.

Several technologies aim to keep the AMR's motorsport-inspired driving feel as smooth, quick and efficient as possible. The AMR has a limited-slip differential, adaptive damping (with Sport, Sport+, and Track modes), and AMSHIFT, Aston Martin's version of heel-toe-mimicking rev-matching. The driver selectable transmission aid also allows for full-throttle upshifting.

Although Aston Martin is earning the attention and admiration of purists by building a Vantage with a manual transmission, not everybody will be lucky enough to get one. Production is limited to 200 units, with 59 of those cars offered in an extra-limited-edition "Vantage 59" spec (this was similarly done to the DBS). Honoring 60 years since the DBR1's win at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, all Vantage 59 cars will wear Stirling Green and Lime suits. Inside, they get Dark Knight leather, Alcantara trim, and Lime accents. The remaining 141 cars are offered in Sabiro Blue, Onyx Black, China Grey, or White Stone.

The Vantage AMR starts at $179,995, while the Vantage AMR "Vantage 59" is listed at $204,995, and deliveries are expected in the final quarter of 2019. Furthermore, starting in the first quarter of 2020, Aston Martin will offer the Vantage with a manual gearbox as an option.

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