We take Aston Martin's new manual-transmission Vantage AMR for a spin; Tesla's Model S "Plaid" prototype keeps getting more and more outrageous; and we get our first look at McLaren's new Speedtail roaming the wild. It's the week in reverse, right here on Motor Authority.?

Once upon a time, manual transmissions were the norm even in high-end touring cars, but these days, they're few and far between. Dog-leg transmissions? Practically unheard of. That's why Aston Martin's new Vantage AMR caught us off guard. But we rallied, and found the learning curve to be well worth it.?

If you've been waiting for the heyday of the pickup truck, don't blink; you might miss it. While the full-size pickup segment is about as rigidly set as it gets, the mid-size class is a bit more wide open, and just about everybody is trying to one-up each other to make the coolest, most capable "small" truck for those who like to do actual truck stuff. We took the latest and greatest out on the trails to see who is doing it best.?

Tesla has taken up Porsche's challenge of setting EV lap records at the?Nürburgring, and their weapon of choice is a new, high-performance variant of the Model S dubbed "Plaid." With each trip to the 'Ring, Tesla's development car gets more and more go-fast equipment and body alterations, including this massive rear wing spotted on its latest outing.?

If you're a fan of the Volkswagen GTI, you know tartan seats and golf-ball-shaped gear knobs are par for the course (sorry), and you have a woman named?Gunhild Liljequist to thank for them. Meet the designer responsible for the GTI's two signature interior elements, and learn how they came about.?

McLaren's next Ultimate Series flagship is just around the corner, and with the development phase coming to a close, the new hybrid hypercar has been spotted undergoing road testing, and unlike a lot of prototypes, it's wearing its undisguised production bodywork.?