Being the fastest regular production car that came out from the company’s production line, the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is a car that will certainly make an appeal to all the car enthusiasts around the world.
Just like the V12 Vantage, this new S model comes with some serious improvements to its power and overall performance. The old 510bhp 5.9-litre V12 engine is now replaced with a specifically-tuned AM28-spec 5.9 V12 which is capable of 565bhp at 6750rpm. The torque is now up to 457lb ft and the curve is fattened up, especially at the bottom, where 376lb ft is available from just 1000rpm.
At idle, the V12 will demand your attention because of the way it sounds. There is a complete difference from what you see, what you hear and what you feel here. Because when you just look at it, the Vantage doesn’t look like it will give a sound that comes only from six-liter engines. And when you are outside the car, you can feel its low frequency pulses that comes from its large displacement V12. The V12 does give you a good idea of how an unrestrained Aston Martin engine should sound.
It’s hard to decide if you will like the much improved Sportshift III seven-speed automated manual that replaces the manual six-speed gearbox from the V12 Vantage. There are only a few cars that offers pure manual transmission so it’s no surprise that Aston Martin just stayed on the normal side of things.
The Sportshift III is the company’s latest automated manual technology. This makes downshifts really good and very responsive. In addition, this gearbox also reduces 25kg of weight. Comparing the Sportshift III to Porsche’s PDK and Audi’s S tronic twin-clutch auto gearboxes, the Vantage’s gearbox does feel like outdated but if you just know how to use it and treat it for what it really is, the automatic transmission will be very rewarding. Upshifts are fast although not as fast as the latest transmissions. Just remember to lift your foot off the throttle just like what you would do on a manual gearbox and the upshifts will be very smooth. The Sportshift III is actually lot better than the previous Sportshift II.
There is still the assisted steering here which is a bit quicker and responsive without being affected by the weight of the addition of four cylinders over the front axle. The improved steering system is further enhanced by two levels of power assist which is linnked into the new electronically controlled dampers.
As with the new Aston Martin Vanquish and Aston Martin Rapide S models, the V12 Vantage S is also fitted standard with a three-mode Adaptive Damping System from Bilstein. The driver can choose from Normal, Sport and Track modes, but note that Sport mode isn’t simply limited to damping. It also quickens throttle response and speed of gearchanges, and opens further the already sonorous exhaust.
Sport is the perfect all around setting, for the damping, throttle, steering assist, and gear change optimisations serve to enhance the driving experience. These subtle changes make it possible to attack the road with a slightly higher level of confidence than before. That’s what we want from our sports cars, isn’t it?
The excellent carbon ceramic braking system is retained and confirms that Aston Martin still delivers some of the best carbon brakes available today. Lighter weight, ten-spoke alloys, still fitted with Pirelli’s P Zero Corsa tyres, help unsprung weight and, when painted black, look entirely the business.
Some could argue that with 565bhp on tap, the front 255- and rear 295-section tyres aren’t wide enough, but we’d suggest that this Vantage still retains its exemplary balance. While understeer is rarely present, the degree of oversteer can be dictated by the amount of throttle you wish to use. With the confidence you feel behind the wheel and the chassis’ superb balance, you don’t need to be a GT racer to exploit its full range of performance.
Changes to the beautiful exterior lines are reserved for a new carbonfibre grille opening and when paired with the signature yellow paint, the effect is striking. Visually, it’s more like art than it is automotive styling.
A Sport seat is standard, but the more hardcore character of this Vantage demands the available lightweight buckets. The perfectly positioned, correctly sized, and Alcantara-covered steering wheel carries over.
The interior is unchanged from its refresh in 2009 and while the instrument panel still accomplishes everything that’s expected of a modern car, its styling hasn’t kept pace with the competition. An interior refresh akin to that of the Vanquish would be a welcome update.
In a digital world, this mega Vantage is refreshingly analogue and its raw, aggressive nature is boldly apparent, just as Aston Martin intended.
If the deeply integrated electronic systems of other sports cars don’t appeal to you – like those found in the new, tech-laden Porsche 911 GT3 – the V12 Vantage S might just have the right blend of speed, style and character you’re looking for.
V12 Vantage S now available with manual transmission
7-speed manual transmission features a ‘dog-leg’ first gear
17MY highlights include new AMi III infotainment and satellite navigation system across all Aston Martin model lines
6 April 2016, Gaydon: Underlining its commitment to building exceptional sports cars that appeal to the most discerning enthusiasts, Aston Martin has ushered in its 17MY range by offering the sensational V12 Vantage S with a manual transmission.
True icons of pure performance blessed with exceptional agility, each V12 Vantage S transmission option delivers its own unique character and dynamic emphasis; the manual unashamedly championing classic tradition and total driver engagement, while the Sportshift™ III transmission offers a more contemporary driving experience. Both exude the unrivaled sporting qualities for which the V12 Vantage S is renowned.
Director of Product Development, Ian Minards said: “We’re all enthusiasts here at Aston Martin. Building cars that offer something exceptional is what we do. Technology drives us forward, but we understand the importance of tradition. The true purist will always hanker for the tactility and connection offered by a manual transmission, so it has been a real pleasure to offer just that in our fastest and most focused model. At a time when manual transmissions have almost entirely disappeared in high performance cars, this makes the manual V12 Vantage S a very special car indeed”.
The seven-speed manual transmission features a classic dog-leg first gear position; an echo from the past that will be welcomed by driving enthusiasts. This dog-leg configuration also ensures the gears used most frequently are located in a double ‘H‘ pattern like that of a conventional 6-speed manual.
The new manual transmission also features AMSHIFT. The system, which is driver selectable uses clutch, gear position and propshaft sensors, together with finely-tuned programming of the engine management, to mimic the technique of heel-and-toe downshifts; the act of blipping the throttle while braking and changing gear. AMSHIFT also offers the capability of full-throttle upshifts for maximum smoothness and minimal interruption in acceleration.
AMSHIFT can be used in all driving modes, but is especially effective in Sport, with the sharper throttle response and louder exhaust note really emphasising the downshift throttle blip for maximum excitement.
Offered as a no-cost option*, the manual V12 Vantage S is a series production model. Customers simply have to make the choice between manual and Sportshift™ III transmission when ordering their car. Both versions are otherwise mechanically identical, sharing the same chassis and brake packages and powered by the same 6.0-litre V12 engine.
Though their style of delivery are different, whether manual or Sportshift™ III, potent performance is guaranteed with the V12 Vantage S accelerating from a standstill to 62mph in 3.9sec and both can reach 205mph.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer said: “Broadening the scope of the V12 Vantage S with a manual transmission option is an indication of our desire to offer the keenest drivers a more analogue and immersive machine to enjoy. I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the manual gearbox remains an integral part of our product plans and will do for many years to come.”
A new Sport-Plus Pack option includes a raft of exterior and interior changes. Foremost amongst these is a choice of five body colours, which can be combined with no-cost optional accent colours applied to the front grille lipstick, side sills, mirror caps and rear diffuser blades. Ten-spoke graphite finish lightweight alloy wheels complete the Sport-Plus Pack’s exterior changes, while a choice of black or grey upholstery with stripes and contrast stitching offered in a range of accent colours create a suitably dramatic interior theme.
17MY also marks other important changes to the Vantage range, with the V8 models now consolidated into Coupe and Roadster versions of the V8 Vantage S. Mechanically unchanged, the timelessly stylish V8 Vantage S receives a range of small detail changes to the exterior and interior. Together with five new option packs offering broad scope for personalisation and even greater value the V8 Vantage S is a compelling and competitive entry point to the Aston Martin range.
In addition to the new AMi III Infotainment and Satellite Navigation System upgrade, both 17MY Rapide S and Vanquish model lines are offered with a range of new option packs. Carefully created to simplify the specification process, these option packs continue to offer added value and a huge range of exterior and interior colour, trim and detailing combinations.
First deliveries of the manual V12 Vantage S are scheduled to begin during the third quarter of 2016.