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380kW baby Aston a DBS killer?

2009-02-05 06:00
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Aston Martin
Model V12 Vantage
Engine 6l, V12
Power 380kW @ 6 500r/min
Torque 570Nm @ 5 750r/min
Transmission Six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 4.2 sec
Top Speed 305km/h
Fuel Consumption 16.35l/100km
Weight 1 680kg
Boot Size 300l
ABS Yes, with EBA, EBD
Front Suspension Double wishbones, coil springs
Rear Suspension Double wishbones, coil springs
Aston Martin’s baby Vantage range will soon feature DBS humbling V12 pace.

Due for unveiling at the Geneva motor show in less than a month, the V12 Vantage will be limited to 1 000 production units over its lifecycle beginning in the third quarter this year.

Blending the chassis agility of Aston’s smallest car with traditional 12-cylinder power, this latest Aston creation is sure to usurp its DB9 and DBS siblings in performance terms – something which might irk owners of the larger Astons.

DBS killer?

Casually referred to as the world’s only producer of aesthetically nearly-faultless cars, Aston Martin’s latest toy is given some edge. V12 Vantage has been styled with an uncanny sense of detailed aggression.

Amongst the most distinct styling details are the louvred hood (proving extra cooling for the V12), larger rear spoiler and carbon fibre rear diffuser, new side skirts and a remoulded front bumper with larger air intakes.

The carbon-fibre detailing is superb front and rear, embellishing the V12 Vantage with the requisite surface texturing to distinguish it as the top-end performance derivative in the range.

Those split-spoke five-blade alloys are retro without being kitsch, yet the four bonnet mounted louvre rows (dual long and short sections totalling four cut-out rows) clash harshly with the overall aesthetics.

Beyond the hard-edged styling the V12 Vantage is fully performance certified. Assembled in Cologne, Germany, the all-alloy 6l V12 produces 380kW at 6 500r/min and 570Nm at 5 750r/min.

Featuring Aston’s acoustics enhancing (and purists maddening) bypass valves (actuated at 5 500r/min) the V12 Vantage should be able to wake your entire postal code (never mind street) when properly throttled in the morning.

Although the new V12 incurs a 100kg weight penalty over the standard Vantage V8, the V12 Vantage only tips the scales 50kg heavier thanks to plenty of exotic materials used in the construction. Bodywork is a blend of aluminium, magnesium alloy, steel and carbon fibre and those carbon ceramic brake discs are 12.5kg lighter per corner than a conventional set-up.

Lighter and faster - obviously

Considering the V12 Vantage has a mass of only 1 680kg and DBS power figures, its 4.2 sec 0-100km/h time and 305km/h top speed are hardly surprising.

Handling dynamics should easily best larger Aston’s thanks to a transaxle gearbox which has facilitated the 51:49 weight distribution.

Damping is 45% firmer than a standard Vantage, with front and rear anti-roll bars 15- and 75% stiffer respectively, ensuring lateral and vertical movement is kept well in check. It rides 15mm lower too. 

Rolling on a set of bespoke Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres (255/35 front, 295/30 rear), Aston claims the Vantage will generate up to 1.3g of lateral cornering grip on a high quality surface.

Interior embellishments include the option of exotic Kevlar seats and a booming 700W premium sound system. Narcissists can order personalised sill-plates. Amazingly, front parking sensors aren’t standard.

Though the V12 Vantage appears to make little business sense – you can now have DBS power in a smaller, cheaper package – the car’s N24 racing spec details and 300l luggage capacity make it an alluring GT with edge.


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