New 'Sportshift' Transmission for Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Aston Martin will be launching the long-anticipated 'paddle-shift' option for the company's highly-rated V8 Vantage in Paris. Utilising the same 6-speed gearbox, the new set-up will offer precision gearshifts in less than 200 m/s. The conventional manual gear lever is replaced with two lightweight magnesium 'up/down' paddles located directly behind the steering wheel with push button controls on the centre console to select ‘Auto Drive’, ‘Reverse’ or ‘Neutral’.

The system is titled 'Sportshift', and an additional 'Comfort' mode offering a more relaxed gear change is also available, which is selected via a single button on the centre console.

Aston Martin Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez said: "Sportshift offers a truly engaging and rewarding driving experience giving an even greater performance feel. It is the sporting choice which we have developed to perfectly suit the inherent characteristics of the Vantage."

Honed at a range of testing locations including Nardo in Italy and the Nuerburgring in Germany, Sportshift is the result of 18 months of intense development. "Driving enjoyment is paramount to the qualities of the Vantage and crucial to this is a superb gear change action. Sportshift offers accessible performance and even greater driver engagement, increasing driver focus and allowing achievement of a faster gear change without having to remove a hand from the wheel." says Chief Programme Engineer, Dave King.

Sportshift functionality is also enhanced with a low speed ‘crawl’ feature, which acts as a manoeuvring aid, gently engaging the clutch to move the car up to 4mph - allowing the driver to focus on positioning rather than throttle control when parking. Additionally, Sportshift includes a user-selected ‘Auto Drive’ mode, which, when operated, will take full control of the timing of all changes and select the appropriate gear for all conditions.

Equipped with Sportshift, the car's top end performance is unchanged, at 280 km/h (175 mph). However, the 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint is achieved a fraction faster than the manual car's time of 5.0 seconds.

Prices for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Sportshift will be confirmed at a later date, with deliveries to customers commencing in quarter two of 2007.

Text: Classic Driver
Photos: Aston Martin - Strictly Copyright

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