Luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin has announced the unveiling of its Vantage range for 2012.

The new V12 Zagato is to be put into production this year and will become the flagship of the Vantage range, while the manufacturer has claimed this latest reworking of the brand is the largest upscaling of new features for the range since 2008.

A host of improvements have been made to the 4.7-litre 420bhp (426PS/313kW) entry-level V8 Vantage, including the optional six-speed Sportshift automated manual transmission, offering closer ratios, lower final drive and a quicker, refined shift quality, the company states.

Further improvements include quicker steering, bigger brakes and wider tyres, while the Vantage S and N400 limited edition models feature a lower front bumper – complete with aerodynamic splitter – housing a larger air intake that feeds the engine and front brakes, with a rear diffuser also improving handling.

New steering column installation has also taken place, resulting in a steering ratio of 15:1 – as opposed to 17:1 on the previous model.

A statement released by the manufacturer read: "The Aston Martin Vantage range continues to evolve with a comprehensive array of improvements to the V8 Vantage aimed at enhancing the dynamic feel, style and competitive pricing of the marque's entry-level sports car."

Originally launched in 1951, the range began life as the Vantage DB2 and has gone on to have a number of incarnations over the years, with the V8 Vantage first seeing production in 1972.

Perhaps one of the most iconic was the Aston Martin Vantage DB5, which gained significant fame and prestige when the model was chosen as the vehicle for secret agent James Bond in the classic 1964 film Goldfinger and fitted out with an array of special features – including headlamp machine guns and an ejector seat.

If you’re looking for cover for a sports, performance or prestige vehicle, speak to the car insurance team at Performance Direct – one of the UK’s leading specialist insurers.

Posted by Mark Thompson

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