PALM SPRINGS, CALIF.—Aston Martin promised some very special offerings in celebration of the centennial anniversary of its inception. True to form, the British luxury car manufacturer has delivered.
The V12 Vantage S arrives as the fastest road-going Aston Martin ever offered (save for the One-77). With its 565 hp and 457 lb.-ft. of torque (up from 420 lb-.ft. in the previous iteration), this beauty boasts a top speed of nearly 330 km/h.
It also features the seven-speed Sportshift III automated manual transmission, which drivers who love the complete control of a stickshift may see as a detriment.
Truly, though, this feature unlocks and makes more accessible a level of performance that few could otherwise attain — and lightens the car somewhat, as well.
Perhaps to make up for the lack of manual transmission, there are several features designed to let the driver interact with the car and customize the driving experience at the touch of a button.
There’s a sport powertrain setting that changes the transmission calibration and delivers quicker shifts, higher top-end revs, and more responsive throttle progression.
And, for the first time in the Vantage range, the V12 offers three-stage adaptive damping — normal mode for everyday cruising, sport mode to firm up the dampers slightly for a bit of fun, and track mode for when you’re ready to get serious.
The steering adjusts at the same time to give the car the optimal responsiveness for each setting.
Put that together with a great set of Pirellis and you get a car that can transform from daily cruiser to a track-ready beast with a satisfying throaty roar, adhesion to the road that doesn’t quit, and a palms-sweating, heart-racing ride that will leave you reminding yourself to breathe.
The beauty is in the details, and interacting with this car delights the senses on all levels.
The curves and stance are meticulously plotted. The suede seats and steering wheel connect the driver to the car nearly as well as the tires connect with the pavement.
The interface is user-friendly, both at a stop and in motion. And there’s an optional 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system available for when you want to tickle your eardrums.
Downsides are minor.
For example, as with most sports cars, you’ll need to pull over to enjoy a coffee. There are two cup holders, but if you’re using this car in even remotely the intended fashion, you’re very likely to wind up wearing any drink stored in them.
And between a small glove box, thin door pockets, and a trunk that fits a mid-sized suitcase at best, storage space is at a premium.
Perhaps the worst news is you’ll have to wait. Because the model year on this car is 2015, deliveries can’t start until early 2014.
But if you want to place a pre-order under the tree for the car enthusiast on your gift list, don’t hesitate. This one will be worth the wait.
Transportation for freelance writer Stephanie Wallcraft was provided by the manufacturer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASTON MARTIN 2015 V12 VANTAGE S
Price: $195,941 base, $217,613 as tested
Engine: 6.0 L V12
Fuel consumption L/100 km: 18 city, 12.4 hwy. (estimated, super premium fuel)
Power/torque: 565 hp/457 lb.-ft.
Competition: Ferrari F12berlinetta
What’s best: Agility and grip that just won’t quit.
What’s worst: A caffeine fix will require a rest stop, since venti lattes are likely to end up in your lap.
What’s interesting: First in the Vantage range to offer three-stage adaptive damping.
- The V12 Vantage S is the fastest road-going Aston Martin ever offered. With its 565 hp and 457 lb.-ft. of torque, this beauty boasts a top speed of nearly 330 km/h.