When Aston Martin dropped the manual from its V12 Vantage in 2014 leaving only a seven-speed automated manual, the world became a darker, sadder place. Then Porsche showed us an automatic-only GT3 RS, and all hope was lost, sending car enthusiasts around the world searching for therapists.
But Aston and Porsche haven’t forgotten about those of us who would gladly give up a tenth in lap times for the pure driving enjoyment of rowing our own gears, so Aston released a V12 Vantage S with a seven-speed dog-leg manual shifter, and Porsche basically took their GT3 RS, ditched the aero bodywork, and chucked in a six-speed stick to make the glorious 911 R.
There is a god.
Chris Harris, in this installment of Chris Harris Drives, tells us what we all sort of expected to hear: the Porsche is a fine, precise instrument, while the Aston is dripping with soul.
For now you will have to watch this episode on Top Gear’s site, but for now here is the shortest of previews on YouTube (the bootleg copies keep getting pulled):
In the end, as good as that Vantage’s shifter is, and even though Chris says it has lots of “enthusiasm,” he says the 911 R is one of the “standout machines of the past decade,” and that “everything about [it] just feels like it’s dialed into your synapses.”
Damn, that’s high praise.