New Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer says the British sports car brand won’t follow the trend of ditching manual transmissions in its future models.
“I would love to be the last car manufacturer providing stick shifts in the US,” Palmer told US publication Car and Driver. “That’s my hope, we will keep the faith.
“And even as the industry moves to twin-clutch transmissions, at the heart of each of those you still have a manual transmission. It’s only a matter of breaking it into its parts, and that’s where I started my career, as a transmission engineer.”
The revelation followed the unveiling of the Aston Martin DBX concept – an all-electric, all-wheel-drive, high-riding crossover coupe that Palmer believes has potential to inspire a future production model.
The former Nissan executive said having an electric vehicle in Aston’s range would give the company the freedom to offer its next-generation flagship performance models with V12 engines that are a signature of the brand.
“One of the reasons for having an electric car is to allow us to continue with the V12 for longer,” Palmer said.
“Of course, we’ve got to make it emissions compliant, and the current V12 has to be completely renewed.
“But yes, we have a 12-cylinder engine in our future. Our customers expect that.”
The “completely renewed” V12 is expected to be a heavily updated version of existing 6.0-litre powerplant, and is likely to remain free from forced induction.
The first all-new model from Aston Martin will be the successor to the DB9, which should surface before the end of next year with a new design inspired by the bespoke DB10 created for the next James Bond movie Spectre and its hardcore Vulcan track special.
The new Vantage, which will feature a uniquely tuned version of Mercedes-AMG’s new twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, will follow, likely in 2017.
Palmer also flagged an expansion of the Lagonda sub-brand, which he believes is “a serious long-term competitor to Rolls-Royce”, and part of his vision to grow annual production to 7000 units, up from current levels of around 4000 cars per year.