Aston gets ultra-quick paddleshift

Published: 28 September 2006

Aston Martin today unveils a new, Ferrari-style paddleshift transmission for the V8 Vantage.

Dubbed Sportshift, the automated manual promises gearchanges in less than 200millisec, faster than you can swap cogs with the six-speed manual. Developed over the past 18 months with Magneti Marelli, the electro hydraulic six-speed box has numerous modes.

Manual changes can be made via magnesium paddles mounted behind the steering column, or there's a self-shifting auto mode. This has a comfort setting for more relaxed shifts. There's also a low speed 'crawl' feature, which engages the clutch during low-speed manoeuvres to avoid jerking motions. Aston claims the V8 Vantage Sportshift shaves a couple of tenths off the manual's 5.0sec 0-62mph time. Power comes from a 380bhp 4.3-litre V8, sending power to the rear wheels. Deliveries of the Sportshift begin around March 2007. Expect to pay around £85,000 for a Sportshift Vantage, around £2500 more than the manual model.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine