It’s true that the game of supercars is all about harder, faster, stronger. You’d get laughed out of the supercar boys’ club as a manufacturer if you released something that wasn’t at least 10 per cent more mega than the last car. And happily for us petrolheads, the limit of how much power per litre a petrol-combusting engine can be made to make has not yet been reached. And if it is, the engineers will just jack up the grunt from the electric hybrid system. But, this new V12 Vantage S is all motor, no battery, and makes its substantial 565bhp from a full 6 litres of V12 goodness.
Let’s deal with that V12 first. It’s a new, or evolved, V12 engine called the AM28, and uses 6 litres and 12 pistons to make more power, torque and performance than its predecessor. The end result is a sub-4 seconds 0-62mph sprint and 205mph at the top.
Torque is the key to acceleration and the new motor beats the last, making now 620Nm at 5,750rpm, up from 570Nm previously, while at the bottom of the tacho there’s 510Nm, up from 440Nm, kicking up from just 1,000rpm. This is a now fatter and flatter torque curve that gives V12 Vantage S drivers instant get up and go-go.
All this extra twist (and shout!) is fed – for the first time – through a 7-speed automated manual gearbox – versus a 6-speed manual in the old V12 Vantage, and developed from the similar unit in the V8 Vantage – named the Sportshift III. It’s hydraulically-actuated for super-quick shifts via the carbon fibre paddle shifters. This new gearbox makes best use of the torque, changes quicker than a human could and does its best on fuel economy too. Also, it’s some 25kg lighter than the manual ‘box, and accounts for the improvement in overall heft by 15kg over the last car.
Another new treat for the V12 Vantage S is 3-stage adaptive damping, with modes that up the fun and tyre smoke at the flick of a switch. Depending on mood – and how new the very expensive Pirelli P Zero tyres are! – V12 drivers can select ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ modes, with automatic adjustments to suspension and steering getting more and more racy as you click. Fettle the traction control too at this top point if doughnuts are your thing.
The chunky and hunkered silhouette of the previous Vantage remains, but it’s had a fair few tweaks to mark it out above the old car, as well as a few dashes of extra menace here and there as befits a 205mph supercar.
A new and bigger front grille – inspired by the Aston CC100 Speedster Concept we’ve seen recently – denotes the new Vantage S, and brings better engine cooling. Gone are the old aluminium grille vanes, replaced by racy carbon fibre airflow management, backed by black carbon fibre or titanium silver mesh. Customers choose between the black or silver mesh finishes.
New rims are a must too and the V12 Vantage S gets the best. New lightweight forged alloy 10-spoke wheels fill the flared arches, while new exterior graphics and a black painted roof and part-painted boot panel bring racing flavour to the V12, as do a liberal sprinkling of air vents.
Inside the new V12 and trim choices are almost endless, with many Aston customers wanting to personalise their new cars. But, as a starting point to fast-luxury, there are new seating choices; Sport and carbon fibre Lightweight options, revised stitching and welt detailing, two new leather grade options – Luxmill and semi-aniline – and the option to add Alcantara to your personal V12 Vantage styling.
The Aston V12 Vantage S will go on sale towards the end of the year with a pricetag to suit its super-Aston selling points… knocking on the door of £150k.
By Dan Anslow