The British automaker has finally hit its stride.
When Aston Martin reported a massive loss of $41 million in 2013, critics were quick to claim the automaker's failure to add new vehicles into its lineup would soon make the British firm redundant. Since then, Aston has not only set out to make the brand more profitable but also more of a household name with new models and enthusiast-focused thinking. These changes have already begun to take shape. In fact, we'd go as far as to say that Aston Martin may be THE automaker to keep close tabs on this year.
A few days ago, Aston announced that it would be building a V12 Vantage S with a manual gearbox, a brilliant move that will make it the only automaker to offer this combination. Aston knows that enthusiasts looking for a three-pedaled supercar are a dying breed, so it only plans to sell 100 units of the 565-hp beast in the US, which will make it something well sought after and drive prices up. Not only that, but the automaker has enhanced the supercar's charisma thanks to a dogleg first gear. This not only adds some character to the V12 Vantage S, but also makes it as fast as one with an automatic transmission. And that's not all that has us leaping for joy.
Aston also has its sights set on taking down one of the greatest track-focused supercars ever made-the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Aston already offers wealthy enthusiasts high-end options for track-only use, but adding another, more affordable addition to the lineup won't hurt, especially when it's based off of the amazing V8 Vantage S. While getting the backing of enthusiasts is very important, Aston is also catering to gentleman drivers with an array of new cars. Not all wealthy individuals want hardcore, track-focused supercars and that's where the gorgeous DB11 comes into play. Thanks to its 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 that puts out 600 hp, the DB11 is sure to be a capable grand tourer.
What really gets us going about Aston, however, is the automaker's drive to produce cars that it wants to make. As Aston CEO Andy Palmer has pointed out, the automaker will be the last one to offer a car with a manual transmission. With rumors of a new lineup, we thought that Aston would follow in the foot steps of other brands and make boring cars (and SUVs) with only automatic transmissions, but that isn't the case. Aston has somehow found a way to get enthusiasts, a new group of people and die-hard fans interested in its cars again and that wasn't an easy task. All it took was a gorgeous V12-powered grand tourer, a V8-powered track-focused supercar and a seven-speed manual transmission with a V12.