Before I begin to moan, let me first say that the V12 Vantage is a beautiful car, it’s a fast car and it’s an inspirational car, but it was an absolute pain to drive! Let me qualify myself here. For a while there was criticism that Aston’s most driver-focussed production Vantage was only available with the company’s seven-speed paddle-shift transmission, and according to people in the know, this has always vexed the purists. Consequently, AM decided to give them what they wanted, and fit the Vantage S with a 7-speed manual gearbox, unfortunately for me it's an old school dog-leg manual gearbox. What that means is, 1st gear is where 2nd normally is, 3rd is where 4th should sit and so on all the way up to 7th.
Whilst driving the V12 around the Hill Route at Millbrook Testing Facility a couple of times my entire focus was spent making sure I was in the right gear instead of enjoying the experience. What made it trickier was the tightness of the gate and a spring bias that favours the 4th/5th over those for 2nd/3rd and 6th/7th. So, unless you’re deliberate with your upshift from 2nd to 3rd you can end up slotting 5th instead, like I did, a lot! Then of course was the worry of dropping it from 4th to 3rd and accidentally getting 1st.
Like everything in life, the more you do something the better you become at it, so I reckon I need to borrow it for a week or so, just to get used to it you understand, but overall, what a car!