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V12 Vantage S (V12VS) Manual Transmission For North America

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View Poll Results: Is the Manual Transmission a deal-breaker for buying a V12VS?
Yes it is. I am a prospective V12VS buyer and I would only buy with a manual
24
75.00%
No, I am a prospective V12VS buyer and I would prefer manual but would buy a paddle shift car
7
21.88%
No, I am a prospective V12VS buyer and I would prefer a paddle shift gearbox
1
3.13%
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll

V12 Vantage S (V12VS) Manual Transmission For North America

 
  #1  
Old 04-08-2014, 11:54 AM
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Exclamation V12 Vantage S (V12VS) Manual Transmission For North America

Okay guys, this needs to happen. I have had several conversations in the last 5 or 6 weeks with prospective V12VS & V12VS Roadster Buyers who are saying that they will not buy a V12VS unless it has a manual transmission. Much has been written about the reviews given to the V12VS transmission - none scathing, all say it shifts smoothly, but none give glowing reviews.

Quote Chris Harris: "I think this is a lovely, lovely road car.... Would I prefer it if it had a manual transmission as opposed to these paddles? Yes I would."

I have read a number of credible news sources recently showing that despite popular conceptions, North America actually has an appetite for manual transmissions, especially in sports cars. We all know that people buy Astons because of the driving and ownership experience, not because of the numbers on a page. These cars are all way too fast to use to their full extent most of the time, nobody needs them but they buy them because they are FUN! For many people, the manual transmission is a big part of that.

Auto manufacturers (not just Aston) will point to declining sales of manual transmissions and say that the demand is not there, and usually will depend on their dealer networks to give them data (ie - how many of these cars would you order/sell in manual.)

The problem is, the dealers are quite rightly going to order cars for inventory that they can sell the fastest. It is undoubtedly easier to convince someone who prefers a manual to consider a paddle-shift car, rather than one who cannot drive a manual or who prefers paddle shift to go for a manual if that is what is sitting on the lot. So manual cars are probably slower moving. Fair enough.

The net result, I am firmly convinced is that there is an under-served market for manual cars, especially for niche manufacturers like Aston. People are buying paddle shift cars where they would prefer a manual because they aren't as easy to find. Dealers are ordering more paddle shift cars because they can sell them more quickly. The figures for manuals go down, and are interpreted as a reflection of the demand rather than of the supply.

So. Here's what I want to know. Vote with your feet if you are serious. Let's see how many sales Aston would gain if they offered the V12VS with a manual (coupe or roadster.)
 
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Last edited by [email protected]; 04-08-2014 at 12:24 PM.
  #2  
Old 04-08-2014, 12:43 PM
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I voted for option 2. I'm fine with a flappy paddle gearbox if executed properly. Since it appears that it was not, I would prefer a manual to the current transmission.
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer_X View Post
I voted for option 2. I'm fine with a flappy paddle gearbox if executed properly. Since it appears that it was not, I would prefer a manual to the current transmission.
Gotcha, so you would prefer a manual to the current transmission, but you would still buy it with the current transmission even if you feel it wasn't executed properly? Or are you saying you would buy a manual but not the current transmission?
 
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  #4  
Old 04-08-2014, 12:58 PM
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I'm with Racer_X. I voted option 2 since I'd be fine with paddles with a solid gearbox like the Ferrari F1-S or a double clutch. If they don't have either option I'd get a manual and be happy just the same but I will not purchase another Sportshift.

FWIW, I was seriously in the market for one but once I heard of the gearbox I passed and put my name on the list for the GT3 RS.
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by RossL View Post
I'm with Racer_X. I voted option 2 since I'd be fine with paddles with a solid gearbox like the Ferrari F1-S or a double clutch. If they don't have either option I'd get a manual and be happy just the same.

FWIW, I was seriously in the market for one but once I heard of the gearbox I passed and put my name on the list for the GT3 RS.
Okay, I'm going to change the poll because I think it might be a little misleading. If you were in the market, would have bought it there was a manual option but didn't because the gearbox got a bad review then that should fall under option 1. Option 2 wasn't meant to be - "if they had a decent gearbox" it was meant to be "I will still buy with the gearbox that it in it, but would have preferred manual"
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RossL View Post
I'm with Racer_X. I voted option 2 since I'd be fine with paddles with a solid gearbox like the Ferrari F1-S or a double clutch. If they don't have either option I'd get a manual and be happy just the same but I will not purchase another Sportshift.

FWIW, I was seriously in the market for one but once I heard of the gearbox I passed and put my name on the list for the GT3 RS.
So here's a question then - let's say I told you that I could get you a V12VS with a manual transmission. Order today, normal delivery times. Assuming you could get your GT3 deposit back, or if you had not placed it, would you be a buyer for the V12VS?
 
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  #7  
Old 04-08-2014, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Gotcha, so you would prefer a manual to the current transmission, but you would still buy it with the current transmission even if you feel it wasn't executed properly? Or are you saying you would buy a manual but not the current transmission?
I would not (and did not) buy it with its current transmission because I feel it wasn't executed properly. If Aston came out tomorrow with a manual transmission, I would consider the manual version V12VS. Now, if Aston had both a good automated manual and a regular manual transmission, I'm not sure which direction I'd go. Either transmission is fine with me, as long as it's a good version of whatever it is. Make sense?
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
So here's a question then - let's say I told you that I could get you a V12VS with a manual transmission. Order today, normal delivery times. Assuming you could get your GT3 deposit back, or if you had not placed it, would you be a buyer for the V12VS?
Stuart, I'd seriously consider it in a year or so because my GT3 RS allocation will be available this fall assuming the current GT3 issue doesn't continue to push production. If the Aston was originally announced with an optional manual I would have most likely put my deposit on the V12VS and waited a few years on the GT3 RS.
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:52 PM
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I like some of the features of the new V12VS (adaptive suspension, more power), but am not interested in selling my current car. However, Aston should look at how BMW has bowed to US demands for a MT M5. Every time they offer one, it sells gangbusters.
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer_X View Post
I would not (and did not) buy it with its current transmission because I feel it wasn't executed properly. If Aston came out tomorrow with a manual transmission, I would consider the manual version V12VS. Now, if Aston had both a good automated manual and a regular manual transmission, I'm not sure which direction I'd go. Either transmission is fine with me, as long as it's a good version of whatever it is. Make sense?
Indeed it does, that's a perfect clarification, thanks. What I'm trying to ascertain and hopefully demonstrate is: Given that there's not going to be a better ASM transmission available any time soon, that introducing a manual option is worth the additional cost to Aston in incremental sales that they will lose or not gain by having no manual option. My belief is that it is worth doing. The fact that you chose not to buy with the existing transmission but would be interested with a manual is the info I'm looking for
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RossL View Post
If the Aston was originally announced with an optional manual I would have most likely put my deposit on the V12VS and waited a few years on the GT3 RS.
Thanks Ross - that is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for to demonstrate the REAL demand for the manual option.
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by scottblack View Post
I like some of the features of the new V12VS (adaptive suspension, more power), but am not interested in selling my current car. However, Aston should look at how BMW has bowed to US demands for a MT M5. Every time they offer one, it sells gangbusters.
Great example Scott.
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:32 PM
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I am in the process of buying a V8 Vantage manual as they dont do them in the V12 which i would have done - also do have a deposit down on the GT3RS which i would change to this if the manual option was available - at least they are now offering i believe on the V8S
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:06 PM
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I have seen a number of V12VS example in manufacturers inventories and I definitely have an itch to get back in. If there were 3 pedals I would have a deposit in and a heavily optioned roadster on the way. The sport shift 3 seems like a step back. It's in league with an e-gear from a 10 year old Gallardo. I know that's a step up from where it's been but having dual-clutch wizardry at my finger tips now makes it hard to accept. So for all of those who own or have driven a proper 2 pedal set up this is a huge disappointment. I've heard that the placement and weight are the challenges with a 2 clutch trans. If that is so, I would say drop the paddles all together and stick with the 6-speed. Create a marketing strategy around the purity of driving and the heritage of the manual and I guarantee that AM would establish a pool of buyers that want better connection.
 
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:03 PM
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I've always said that the dealers and manufacturers have conspired to make this into a self-fulfilling prophecy and we are witnessing the results of that now.

The sad truth is that many people, especially in the USA don't know how to drive a stick shift and dealers order paddle shift cars in order to maximize their selling odds by having offerings that cater to the greatest common denominator.

Ironically, certain cheaper models like the BRZ/FR-S, 370Z, C7 Vette, 911 Carrera, etc. still manage to justify offering a manual option for those who want "more driver involvement" (their words, not mine) but pricier exotics from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston, etc. claim that users only really prefer paddles.

They also extol the benefits of shift times whilst on the track even though probably less than 0.01% of these owners have ever or will ever drive their cars on the track or do so in a manner that would justify needing super fast shift times.

In many ways it's like your neighbor buying Olympic or Tour de France level bike gear to go on his weekend ride or some guy shaving his legs to "reduce resistance" while doing laps at the community pool. It's all pretense designed to fulfill the ego of being at some professional, competitive level.

The lap time gains by using a paddle shift are not really something that your occasional Joe racer can justify unless he's racing on a competitive series which most people do not. And if anything, it actually requires way more skill to drive a manual properly than it it does to pull some lever while approaching a turn. I can guarantee you that most real, professional drivers cut their teeth driving a manual box and can drive the heck out of a manual way better than a novice or intermediate with their fancy single or double clutch paddle boxes.

Then there's the issue of technology actually making things worse not better. For example:

One New Year's Eve several years ago I was doing a track event at Sebring in my Esprit when the pushrod return spring inside my clutch master cylinder snapped and left me without the ability to disengage the clutch to select gears. I had never attempted to do clutch less shifts, but some of the guys at the track talked me through the technique. I didn't really have much of a choice as it would be very difficult to find a tow truck on the last day of the year to drive to the middle of nowhere (that's literally where Sebring is) and then tow my car home. With a bit of difficulty, I was able to make the 110 mile drive all the way home and park my car safely in my garage at home.

The point of this is, do you think this would have been at all possible had my car had a paddle shift gearbox? Of course not. How many times have we read stories on this forum of owners of Sport Shift cars not even been able to start their engines because the transmission got into an "unhappy" state?

Look, there may be plenty of reasons not to drive a manual gearbox: maybe you're in stop and go traffic all day, maybe you have some kind of physical condition which hinders your ability to depress a clutch pedal. These are all perfectly valid. But there's a solution for these, it's called an automatic gearbox. They are tried and true and work very well and are also quite reliable. Heck, you can also get some with little flappy paddles to give you a sportier feel like you are more in control of gear selection. In fact, the automatic box in the new F-Type is very good. It's a thousand times better than a SS-III box (and I have driven both on a racetrack).

So maybe that's the real solution. Maybe Aston should just offer a manual gearbox Vantage for those who want "more driver involvement" and a Vantage with a Touchtronic gearbox like the one in the DB-9/Vanquish for those who don't. At least this way they won't get constantly dinged by every single car reviewer in the industry about how sub-par their automated manual gearbox is.
 

Last edited by karlfranz; 04-08-2014 at 10:34 PM.

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