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Aston Martin adds ‘S’ appeal to V12 Vantage

Vantage point: The 422kW Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is 11 per cent more powerful than the model it replaces.

Faster and more powerful, but no manual gearbox for Aston Martin V12 Vantage S


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29 May 2013

BRITISH brand Aston Martin has ripped the covers off the new V12 Vantage S – its second fastest production car ever.

The V12 Vantage S, which replaces the standard V12 Vantage globally, has a tweaked version of the 6.0-litre V12 engine, with power boosted by 11 per cent to 422kW and torque up nine per cent to 620Nm.

Aston Martin has surprised some by ditching the six-speed manual gearbox in favour of an updated version of the automated manual transmission found in the V8 Vantage S.

The new transmission is 25kg lighter than the outgoing gearbox and includes paddle shifters that Aston says are “designed and engineered to exploit the full sporting potential of the V12 engine.”

Interestingly, the British car-maker has not revealed a 0-100km/h sprint time, but it is expected to better the outgoing model’s 4.2 seconds and could even slip below the four second mark. Top speed grows to 330km/h, up from 305km/h.

Only the super-exclusive One-77 hypercar, that pumps out 559kW from its massive 7.3-litre naturally-aspirated V12 and sprints to 100km/h in 3.7s, can better it.

The V12 Vantage S apparently gets an even sexier aural note than the outgoing model, with Aston replacing its exhaust system with a new one derived from the One-77.

A new three-stage adaptive damping system has been added to the Vantage, allowing the driver to tailor the dynamic performance of the car by choosing either ‘normal’, ‘sport’ or ‘track’ mode.

There is a second ‘Sport’ mode button in the centre console that alters the gearshift speed and timing, throttle response and exhaust note.

Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez said that the company’s racing heritage played a part in the development of the V12 Vantage S, adding that the new model is “pure Aston Martin.” “Learning from our successes on the track feeds the development of this type of car and I'm proud to launch such an exciting sports car in this, our centenary year.”

While the 12-pot Vantage S looks much the same as the model it replaces, some cosmetic tweaks have been made to refresh the design that has been around since 2005.

A new grille design inspired by the CC100 Speedster concept that was unveiled last week to celebrate the iconic British car-maker’s centenary, featuring black carbon-fibre mesh helping to maximize airflow to the engine, replaces the aluminium unit.

New 10-spoke light-weight alloy wheels and two-tone paint cap off the exterior updates.

The carbon-fibre theme continues in the cabin, with Aston offering an optional carbon-fibre interior pack that adds the material to the door inserts and fascia, while black foot pedals are also available.

Updates to the interior also include new sports seats, revised stitching, two leather grade options and the availability of Alacantra.

Australian pricing for the current V12 Vantage is $386,391, and while Aston Martin is yet to release local pricing for the S, it is likely to get a boost and could end up north of $400,000.

European deliveries are expected to start at the end of this year so expect an Australian debut in the first quarter of next year.

The reveal of the V12 Vantage S follows a teaser video that Aston Martin released last week featuring a disguised yellow sports-car traveling at high speed around a race track, hinting at a new model.

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