Phew, the word is out: this is the new V12 Vantage S!
The V12 S in short: 573 hp, 620 Nm of torque and a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph).
I already had the privilege of seeing this car ten days ago, in a Private Viewing at Aston Martin’s Nürburgring Test Center. But no camera’s were permitted, neither was I allowed to disclose any details before today. But today has finally arrived, so here it is!
Looking back, the imminent arrival of this V12 Vantage S was the reason the production of the original V12 Vantage was discontinued a few weeks ago. And it sounds like reason enough for me, as this S edition is better in every way, power, handling, looks, etc.
Although there is one aspect that I suspect will raise “some discussion” …
Let’s look at what’s new:
New AMV11 engine
This won’t surprise anyone:
The V12 Vantage S will also have the new V12 engine, that is, the AMV11 engine that was introduced in the new Vanquish and later implemented in the new DB9 and the Rapide S.
The results of the new V12 engine:
- Power is increased to 573 hp (up from 517 hp)
- Max torque goes up to 620 Nm (up from 570 Nm)
- New top speed is 330 km/h = 205 mph (up from 310 km/h = 190 mph)
SportShift III gearbox
The V12 Vantage S will get a SportShift III gearbox, the 3rd version of Aston’s hydraulically actuated automated manual transmission, controlled through paddle shifts.
Wait what? No manual gearbox?
Yes, that’s right. Aston Martin is making an unexpected change here, going from “manual gearbox only” for the V12 Vantage to “SportShift only” for the V12 Vantage S.
Personally, I don’t mind. I wasn’t a big fan of the SportShift I box in the V8 Vantage, but I really like the SportShift II transmission of the Vantage S. This being the SportShift III, it can only get better (Aston says they introduced new heat-sensing technology which automatically re-trains the box as the temperature rises).
A paddle-shifter should make this car quite a bit faster on the track and also in every day driving circumstances. Quickly down-shifting one or two gears for swift overtaking manoeuvres, a lot easier with a SportShift box. However, I know many purists will not agree and will see the removal of the manual option as a great loss.
3-mode Adaptive Damping
A first on a Vantage: Adaptive Damping with 3 modes: ‘Normal’ ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’.
While other Astons (Rapide, Vanquish, DB9) have already enjoyed this for quite a while, the Vantage models always had a fixed suspension mode.
But now finally Aston Martin is bringing the Adaptive Damping to the V12 Vantage S.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the stiff suspension on the V12 Vantage. But there are situations and road types where a slightly more comfortable setting would be very welcome.
New grille based on CC100 grille
So far for the technical changes. Now what about the looks?
How different will the V12 Vantage S be from the “old” V12 Vantage?
Well, basically the main difference (and the only real change) will be the grille. The V12 Vantage S has a completely new grille that is based on that of the CC100 Speedster Concept. It has no horizontal slats anymore, just one big mouth with an extra rim around the edge and the slanted “teeth”.
So, what’s the verdict? What to think of this new V12 Vantage S?
For me, it’s a tough one. Part of me is very excited about the extra power, the cosmetic changes, the suspension and yes, even about the SportShift gearbox. But still, being an owner of the “old” V12 Vantage (well, two of em), I have some reservations.
For starters, I am slightly disappointed that this new V12 Vantage didn’t bring a whole new look. Maybe it’s just me, but I had been hoping for either a completely new Aston Martin with a new design, or at least a face-lifted Vantage with styling cues from the Vanquish.
As it is, this V12 Vantage S seems to be positioned as the ultimate Vantage, some kind of grand finale, like the DBS Ultimate Edition. Which doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but for a potential buyer like me, it does raise some questions, for instance:
When will a new-style Vantage will be introduced? We all know that the current Vantage is reaching the end of its’ life-span, having been introduced in 2005 (!!).
And when will we see a V12 powered new Vantage? In other words: how long will this be the ultimate Vantage? Also, I must wonder, what about a V12 Vantage S Roadster?
Having said that, I do think this really is the ultimate Vantage. In fact, I suspect that for me this will be the ultimate Aston Martin, at least the most brutal and extreme one, for now.
I can’t wait to take this baby for a test drive…