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Aston Martin is taking on Ferrari's F1 gearbox with a new electro-hydraulic automated manual for the V8 Vantage, the company announced in Paris. Dubbed Sportshift, the six-speed box, the company says, improves shift times while retaining the car's weight distribution. De rigueur paddle shifters, forged of magnesium, mark the clickoffs — up to three times faster than the manual (less than 200 milliseconds per), the company said in a press release. Still, in the game of milliseconds, Ferrari's latest F1 box — which directs traffic in its 599GTB — wins, at 100 milliseconds. But the Aston box also has a low-speed "crawl" feature that engages the clutch to move the car along at up to 4 mph, so the driver doesn't have to throttle up for parking and risk launching through the window of Bergdorf Goodman's. Brilliant.

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New Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante to Hit in 2007 [internal]