Although the V12 Vantage S is perhaps best described as an evolution of the late V12 Vantage, that’s hardly anything to scoff at. After all, the last car blended drop-dead looks; a sonorous 510-hp 6.0-liter V-12; a nimble, lithe chassis; and sumptuous cabin appointments. Exactly how do you improve upon that?
By adding even more power, of course. Aston did just that with the V12 Vantage S — thanks to a few small revisions, including a new Bosch-sourced engine control system, the 6.0-liter V-12 now spits out 565 hp at 6750 rpm, and 457 lb-ft at 5750 rpm. Keen eyes will note those figures are not only 55 hp and 37 lb-ft better than the prior V12 Vantage, but nearly identical to the larger (and heavier) Vanquish model. Aston says that sort of power is enough to rocket the V12 Vantage S from 0-60 in less than four seconds, and to a top-speed of 205 mph. That’s 15 mph faster the old V12 Vantage, and enough to crown the V12 Vantage S the fastest road-going Aston ever built – barring, of course, the wild One-77 super car.
Although the V12 Vantage previously channeled its power through a six-speed manual gearbox – one of the last remaining in Aston Martin’s portfolio – the new V12 Vantage S ditches the stick. In its place lies the Sportshift III, a six-speed automated manual gearbox derived from the automated manual used in the V8 Vantage S. Interestingly, this gearbox is nearly 55 pounds lighter than the outgoing manual, but also delivers gear changes in mere milliseconds.
If that’s not enough new hardware to whet your whistle, Aston also gave the V12 Vantage S a quicker steering ratio, along with new three-mode adaptive dampers. Drivers can select between normal, sport, and track settings independently of the familiar Sport Mode button, which alters the Vantage’s throttle response, power steering assist, shift points, and exhaust note.
Cosmetically, the V12 Vantage S is much the splitting image of its predecessor, albeit with a few tweaks tossed in for good measure. Carbon fiber louvers dominate the sculpted hood, while both front and rear diffusers dramatically flare from the fascia panels. A new front grille insert – which does away with Aston’s traditional silver strakes – is made from black carbon fiber, while the roof and rear valance panels are painted to match. Black ten-spoke, 19-inch aluminum wheels are standard, and wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rubber. Inside, the V12 Vantage S boasts sports seats and a full leather interior, although the biggest departure from the previous model is the absence of a stick shift and the addition of wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Although Aston Martin hemmed and hawed before finally porting the previous V12 Vantage to North America, the 2015 V12 Vantage S will be offered in the U.S. from square one. Pricing – estimated to be in the realm of $200,000 – has not yet been finalized, but dealers are now taking orders, with deliveries beginning in early 2014.
Source: Aston Martin