2014 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Shakes the Ground and Stirs the Soul
For those of you who haven’t been regular visitors to this site for the last four years or so, let the record show that we have been big, big fans of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage since the beginning. But really, how could we not be? It uses the classic muscle car formula: Take a big engine from a manufacturer’s large car range (i.e. Aston’s 6.0L V12) and cram it into one of that same manufacturer’s smaller platforms (i.e. the V8 Vantage). Beef up the ancillary systems like cooling, brakes and suspension to cope with the extra stress and, hey presto, you’ve got a rather cost effective performance model.
So you can imagine how appalled we were when we heard that Aston Martin was ending production of the V12 Vantage. We immediately assumed that it was soon to be replaced by a hybrid version of the Vantage, with hemp upholstery and petrified tofu dashboard trim. Or maybe a minivan. Either way, we were frothing mad…until we found out that the V12 Vantage was, in fact, being replaced by the V12 Vantage S. Then we were significantly less mad.
Aston aficionados will notice a different grille insert on the V12 Vantage S, as well as a quartet of new 10-spoke 19” alloy wheels, black taillight surrounds and roof panel. In other words, not much has changed on the outside relative to the V12 Vantage, but we’re quite all right with that. The interior is also much the same as the original V12 Vantage, with one notable (and if you ask most enthusiasts, unfortunate) exception: The 6-speed manual transmission has been replaced by the newest revision of Aston Martin’s 7-speed paddle-shift transmission, dubbed Sportshift III. We know, we know, it changes gears faster than any human can, and it’s claimed to be 55 lbs. lighter than the old row-your-own box, but we reckon it makes the V12 Vantage S less raw and primal than its predecessor.
However, what’s under the hood claws back some of that edginess. It’s still a 6.0L (or if you’re a stickler for rounding, 5.9L) naturally-aspirated V12, but many of the design and manufacturing processes have been tweaked. The new engine – codenamed AM28 – features hollow camshafts and CNC ported cylinder heads, along with other hot-rodding tricks that allow the engine to produce 565 horsepower and 457 lb.-ft of torque. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 55 horsepower and 37 lb.-ft more than the V12 Vantage’s powerplant.
Naturally, that extra muscle translates to improved numbers at the track. Aston Martin hasn’t come up with a 0-60 mph time just yet, but we’re guessing it should be right at (or maybe a little below) 4 seconds flat, considering the old V12 Vantage did the deed in a claimed 4.2 seconds. The company is willing to discuss a top speed figure, though: The V12 Vantage S will hit 205 mph, as opposed to 190 mph for the old model. The only production Aston Martin in history that’s faster than the V12 Vantage S? That would be the One-77, darlin’. Extra power and an extra gear for the win!
No word on pricing for the V12 Vantage S, but we’re guessing it won’t be a massive increase (relatively speaking) over the V12 Vantage’s MSRP. Sure, if you check enough boxes on the options sheet you’ll probably be spending at least as much as you would for a DB9 (though maybe not a Vanquish), but that car skews much farther toward the grand tourer end of the spectrum. The V12 Vantage S, on the other hand, seems more like a British Corvette: A big, barking engine propelling a small-ish two-seat body. Sounds like a winner to us.
Source: Aston Martin