8

10

Model

V12 S

Price

$389,300

The Numbers

Vantage V12 S, 5935cc, V12 petrol, RWD, 421kW, 620Nm L/100km n/a, g/km CO2 n/a 330km/h 1665kg (est) n/a

The Topgear Verdict

Angry Aston has excellent speed, power and handling. But it would be exhausting to use as a regular car.

2013 Aston Martin Vantage V12 S

Extreme isn’t a word you’d normally associate with Aston, unless you are talking about your chances of owning one. But you’re going to hear it a lot when anyone speaks of the revised AM Vantage V12 S. Now the fastest Aston Martin you can buy – with a top speed of 330km/h – it’s not super-light or super-clever... think of it as a carbon-fibre-reinforced boxing glove. And Queensberry Rules definitely do not apply.

Featuring an upgraded version of the AM28 6.0-litre V12 engine, power has been hoicked to 421kW and torque to 620Nm.

The Sportshift III gearbox is still an automated manual, but it now has seven speeds instead of six, weighs 25 kilos less than the last one and has the ability to shift faster
than ever before.

The chassis now features three-stage adaptive damping – Normal, Sport and Track – that works with the quicker electric power steering to vary the amount of steering effort. On top of that, there’s now a Sport mode, selectable through a dash-mounted button, which makes things instantly more interesting. It sharpens throttle and gearshift points and opens the exhaust valves.

Cosmetically, the Vantage S now has a carbon-fibre grille that was inspired by the CC100 Speedster Concept, new 10-spoke wheels and a subtle graphics package that covers the roof and part of the boot. But that’s it, really. And it’s enough.

The last time I drove a Vantage a couple of years ago, I got out of it wondering what all the fuss was about. It went fine but was totally outclassed by the Porsche, Lambo and Ferrari we were running it with. Now, rather than try to pursue those cars, the Vantage S has apparently taken its own route forward: into something that should be called "British Gentleman Performance". It’s a parallel universe where you just imagine that none of the other cars exist and that yours is the best there is. And because there aren’t any others, it is.

The funny thing is, it works in the Vantage S. The gearshifts are neck-snappingly sharp and aggressive, the power is endless and the handling is remarkably linear. Plus, it makes a great noise, looks fabulous and still has the coolest name in the industry

Reviewed by: Paul Horrell