Wednesday, 29 May 2013 1:53 PM
Lighter, faster, harder; every new Aston brings greater performance to those that love a bit of Bond in their British sportscar brand. And probably no one does thumping V12s and super-slinky styling like Aston and their new V12 Vantage S. The £150k supercar can be ordered now, and for that stack of cash you get the best of the Aston best.
Big V12 motors have long been at the heart of the fastest Astons, and the fastest Aston ever – apart from the super-limited one-77 – gets the latest twelve-banger. It’s a reworked version of the powerplant in the last V12 Vantage, but one that’s been engineered to offer up big chunks of extra torque far earlier in the rev range. This makes the new V12 S more instantly responsive and easier to drive; hard or soft.
Torque is the key to the kind of very spritely performance and acceleration that buyers of £150k cars expect, and without turbochargers to make easy low-down torque, all of that early grunt must be made by natural aspiration. It seems that it’s job done, with the AM28 engine dispensing the justice to the tune of 62mph in under 4 seconds, and 205mph at full tilt.
The mighty AM28 makes 620Nm of torque at 5,750rpm, up from 570Nm previously, while at the bottom of the rev range there’s a juicy 510Nm, up from 440Nm, ready to rock from almost tickover; just 1,000rpm. Flat and fat is this V12’s torque curve.
The fastest ever Aston can now keep up with the Jones’ on the techno front too, thanks to a new 7-speed automated manual gearbox that replaces the so-old-hat 6-speed manual from the old V12 Vantage. This hydraulically-actuated, quick-shifting ‘box – developed from the one in the V8 Vantage – is operated by lovely carbon paddles behind the steering wheel, and is aptly-named the Sportshift III. When it’s not at full throttle, the new ‘box will shift early for best fuel economy, and, another boon, it’s some 25kg lighter than the manual gearbox. This swapping of the cog-swapper accounts for the new car’s 15kg weight loss.
Also new for the new V12 Vantage S – you can see where the £150k pricetag comes from – is a 3-stage adaptive damping system with selectable modes that go from cruiser to bruiser. Drivers can flick from Normal, Sport and Track on the selector, and go as wild as their mood would suggest. The power steering is also part of the mode adjustment; getting faster as you do.
Of course, this is the same rather fetching Vantage shell that we’re used to already, but with some added jazz-up parts here and there to justify the bigger price and handle the higher power and speeds. The new and larger front grille, inspired by the Aston CC100 Speedster Concept recently revealed, leads the new V12 Vantage S, and cools and feeds the hot and gulping motor with its extra aperture size. Carbon fibre grille vanes replace the old car’s aluminium items, while the customer gets to choose what colour they want their grille mesh in – either black carbon fibre or titanium silver.
From the curving profile we see the new lightweight forged alloy 10-spoke wheels under flared arches, while new V12 S graphics and a black painted roof and part-painted boot toughen the new car a touch.
Fast-luxury awaits new V12 S buyer inside with new seating choices; Sport and carbon fibre Lightweight, as well as revised stitch detailing, two new leather grade options called Luxmill and semi-aniline, and the choice to add Alcantara to your V12 Vantage S interior styling, if you so wish.
It’ll be the end of the year before we get to hear this mighty new V12 roar on our city streets – mainly around Harrods, I expect – with a price of around £150,000 for the hand-built beaut yet to be officially confirmed.
By Daniel Anslow