Aston Martin describes the new V12 Vantage as a spectacular finale for an iconic bloodline. It’s the last of its kind as we enter a new era, and what a way to celebrate the internal combustion engine. The Vantage is a compact, driver-focussed sports car with the biggest possible ICE stuffed in, and this is the final, fastest and most dynamically accomplished edition of the format.
“Every great sports car brand has a hero car. For Aston Martin in more recent years that car has been the V12 Vantage. Right from the moment the first V12 Vantage RS Concept was shown back in 2007 our customers and fans around the world fell in love with the idea of fitting our biggest engine into our smallest and most sporting model. The recipe has been refined over the years with great success, but the essence has remained the same,” said Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers.
“Now it is time to bring this bloodline to a close, fittingly with the most spectacular example yet – the fastest, most powerful and most dynamically capable V12 Vantage ever. A celebration of its forebears and an embodiment of Aston Martin’s intensifying focus on driving dynamics, it ensures the V12 Vantage goes out on the highest of highs,” the ex-AMG boss added.
The engine is the heart of every Aston Martin, but never more so than in the V12 Vantage. This is the final time the 5.2 litre twin-turbo V12 will be fitted to the Vantage, and it makes 700 PS and 753 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 6,000 rpm. Gaydon says that the powerplant offers an “intoxicating combination of magnificent low and mid-range muscularity with searing top-end power”.
By the way, this is a fair bit more output than the previous-generation AM28 6.0 litre naturally aspirated V12, which had 573 PS and 620 Nm. Today’s car is the most powerful Vantage ever and it sprints from 0-96 km/h (0-60 mph) in just 3.4 seconds. Top speed is 322 km/h (200 mph).
The ZF eight-speed automatic gets a unique transmission calibration to enhance shift speeds and driver interaction, with learnings taken from the V12 Speedster and Vantage F1 Edition models. Aston says that this software delivers a level of shift refinement and usability which is beyond that seen on dual-clutch gearboxes. The adaptive software is designed to gauge the conditions the car is operating in, along with the demands the driver is making, to ensure the car is in the right gear at the right time. There’s also a mechanical limited-slip differential.
The power-to-weight ratio of 390 PS per tonne is an increase of more than 20% compared to the regular V8-powered Vantage, and this is also down to weight-saving measures, which include carbon fibre front bumper, clamshell bonnet, front fenders and side sills. The composite rear bumper and deck lid, lightweight battery and special centre-mounted twin-exit exhaust system also contribute.
Tuned to ensure the V12 Vantage has a “voice to match its looks and performance”, this new exhaust system is made from lightweight 1mm stainless-steel, saving some 7.2 kg compared with the standard Vantage system. An open rear load space further amplifies the sound and puts the new rear suspension strut brace on display.
Power and speed aside, Gaydon is also calling the new V12 Vantage its most dynamically accomplished ever, and to achieve this, the car is equipped with a new adaptive damping suspension system including new anti-roll bars, bushes, and spring and damper assemblies.
Suspension spring rates have been increased by 50% at the front and 40% at the rear, combined with top mount stiffness increasing by 13% and new anti-roll bars are 5% stiffer at the front and 41% softer at the rear. To maintain comfort, a secondary tender spring has been introduced to the rear. It provides a lower spring rate than the main spring, providing enhanced ride comfort without affecting dynamic performance.
Body stiffness is increased with additional front and rear shear panels, a rear suspension tower strut brace and fuel tank bracing, increasing body stiffness (kNm/Deg) by 8% and lateral stiffness (kNm/mm) by 6.7%, giving the optimum platform stiffness for driving dynamics, Aston claims. These changes are also supported by a new steering calibration, improving feel and delivering a sharper response.
The V12 Vantage features carbon ceramic brakes – 410 mm x 38 mm discs with six-piston calipers in front and 360 mm x 32 mm discs with four-piston calipers at the back. These CCB discs reduce unsprung mass (by a big margin, 23 kg) and maintain consistent braking performance at high temperatures (resists brake fade at temperatures up to 800 degrees).
Completing the dynamic package are a choice of two new 21-inch alloys (satin black or satin black diamond turned), plus a satin black lightweight option that saves a further eight kilos. Michelin Pilot 4S tyres – 275/35 in front and 315/30 at the rear – are standard fitment on all rims.
If you noticed that the Vantage body looks a little different here, spot on. The bodywork has been widened by 40 mm to accommodate a wide track chassis optimised for cornering performance and stability. Employing extensive use of carbon fibre, this new widebody design also features an aggressive aerodynamic package.
Complimenting the new front bumper design is a full-width front splitter that generates additional downforce and aerodynamic balance. The front grille is 25% larger to provide increased air flow and a ‘horse shoe’ design engine vent has been integrated into the bonnet, enhancing cooling and echoing the design of the Vantage GT12, Aston’s road-going tribute to the V12 Vantage GT3 racer. The side profile gets a sculpted single-piece sill, also inspired by motorsport.
At the back, a new bumper with integrated diffuser maintains aerodynamic balance and houses the above-mentioned centre-mounted twin pipes. The dramatic rear wing contributes to a maximum downforce of 204 kg at top speed. Aston says that if you prefer more subtle styling with a sleeker silhouette, the option to delete the OTT rear wing is available.
Things are a little more familiar inside. The V12 gets Sports Plus Seats trimmed in semi-aniline leather featuring the ‘wings’ quilt and perforation pattern as standard. One can also opt for the new carbon fibre performance seat with exposed twill carbon fibre shell and manual six-way adjustment. This is an Aston Martin patented design inspired by motorsport, optimised to save 7.3 kg “without compromising comfort”.
As expected, every V12 Vantage can be individually tailored through the marque’s bespoke personalisation service, Q by Aston Martin. One unique item is the range of tinted lacquers to make the exposed carbon fibre elements even more prominent. “The tints change appearance under different lighting conditions; parked in a dark street or under faded light, they appear subtle and understated, but placed under a brighter light, the tint transforms the car with a jewel-like glisten,” Q says. Sounds cool.
Sounds like a collectible too. Sorry sir, the order books are already closed due to unprecedented demand. “All examples sold ahead of release and an oversubscribed register of interest eagerly waiting in the wings,” Gaydon says. Production of the 333 units will commence in Q1 2022, with first deliveries scheduled to begin in the next quarter. I’m wondering if the Johor royal family ordered one.
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