Seven speeds, no waiting.
The big news from Aston Martin today is the reveal of the new Vantage Roadster, dropping the top on the upscale British automaker's entry-level sports car. But as enticing a prospect as that may be, Aston's done more with the Vantage than add another body-style.
Along with the Roadster, the manufacturer announced a few enhancements for the existing coupe version as well for the 2021 model year. And not least of them is the expanded availability of a seven-speed manual transmission as an alternative to the existing eight-speed automatic, announced to the collective applause of the stick-shift faithful worldwide.
First offered on the track-tuned Vantage AMR (pictured below) launched last year, the seven-speed manual will now be offered on the standard coupe as well - but not, for the time being at least, on the new roadster.
The manual, supplied by Graziano first appeared on the previous-generation Vantage. Porsche similarly sources a seven-speed stick from ZF (which also supplies the Vantage's eight-speed automatic) for the 911, and Chevy offered a seven-speed manual built by Tremec on the outgoing C7 Corvette. The seventh gear is typically geared for highway cruising, freeing up the lower six for enthusiastically swapping along the way.
Along with the manual, Aston is offering a "vane" egg-crate grille on both the Vantage coupe and roadster as an alternative to the existing "hunter" design, and there are new wheel options being offered as well. But the bigger news, of course, aside from the new roadster's arrival, is the manual-transmission option - which not only brings with it an extra pedal in exchange for the eighth gear, but brings the price down as well.
Where the Vantage coupe has until now started at $149,995, the price for a new coupe equipped with the stick shift drops to $146,000 - representing a savings of nearly four grand. And that sounds like a "win-win" proposition to us if we've ever seen one.