Aston Martin V8 Vantage
At the 2006 Paris Motor Show, Aston Martin debuted a new automated manual transmission option for the V8 Vantage - Sportshift.
Sportshift adds electro-hydraulic control to the existing Vantage 6-speed manual gearbox to offer improved shift times and replaces the conventional manual gear lever with push button controls on the centre console to select ‘Auto Drive’, ‘Reverse’ or ‘Neutral’.
Manual gear changes are selected in Paddle Shift Mode - the new ultra-quick system provides the driver with heightened precision via fingertip control of gear changes using paddles, forged from lightweight magnesium, located directly behind the steering wheel to progress smoothly and swiftly through the ratios.
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.”
Sportshift offers gear changes up to three times faster than the manual transmission already available, with the driving enthusiast able to access precision gearshifts in less than 200 m/s. To adapt to all driving conditions, an additional 'Comfort' mode offering a more relaxed gear change is also available, which is selected via a single button on the centre console.
Honed at a range of testing locations including Nardo in Italy and the Nϋrburgring 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.
At 4.38 metres long, Vantage is the smallest model in the Aston Martin range. Purposeful, low and striking, with a richly atmospheric and cosseting interior, the car debuted to critical acclaim at the 2005 Geneva International Motor Show. Powered by Aston Martin's new 4.3 litre 380 bhp engine, a low emission, all aluminium alloy front mid-mounted V8 that is unique to Vantage and develops 410 Nm (302 Ib.ft) at 5000 rpm.
Source: Aston Martin press