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Aston Martin V12 Zagato

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7/10

Overall
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Exclusive Aston Zagato lives up to a tradition of idiosyncratic divisiveness in fine fashion.

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What is it?

When the One-77 stopped production last year, Aston Martin found itself left with a standalone production line that was highly bespoke and very empty. What to do? Give it something else indulgently luxurious and rich to build instead: enter the V12 Zagato, a £400,000 halo car to the standard Vantage range that’s limited to 150 units and is sure to divide opinion like no other current Aston.

Why? Just look at it. You either think it’s brilliant, or awful. There’s no in between. This is not a naturally pretty or elegant car, but a challenging nod to tradition that continues an association with the famous Italian coachbuilder that dates back to the 1960s. Flirting with inelegance, this brutally beautiful car isn’t for everyone but at that price it doesn’t want or need to be. As it stands, even at £400k, it’s already nearly sold out…

Driving

Even Aston admits this is not a thorough mechanical reengineering of the regular V12 Vantage (which Jeremy famously described as “wonderful, wonderful, wonderful” back in 2009) but a new body on the mechanicals we’re all quite familiar with. The same howling V12 is there, the same Sport button that opens a bypass valve and makes the exhausts wail is present on the dash.

The steering is heavy, the rear wheels will happily lose traction even in fourth gear if you so wish and the general demeanour of the car threatens to bite rather than flatter you if you’re silly. A real muscle car in other words, and all the more refreshing because of it. When you do step over the edge, you’ll discover it’s also progressive and balanced too, luckily, but generally the Zagato drives in a similar fashion to how it looks. Quite right.

On the inside

The core is V12 Vantage but the bespoke trimming is all Zagato. See the wavy weave that’s stitched into the seats and rooflining? This continues into the pattern for the heated rear window. That’s the level of detailing you’re talking at here: when all the materials are from the very top draw in the cabinet marked ‘luxurious decadence’, it’s instantly clear where the money has gone. Enough to overlook the now-ageing dashboard, awkward fly-off handbrake, compact feel and spidery dials? Absolutely. Once they check out the level of hand-finished detail within, nobody will care.

Owning

The usual ownership concerns of fuel economy (low), running costs (high) and depreciation (jury’s out) don’t apply here. This is already a collector’s item, one that all serious Aston Martin fanatics will be adding to their heated garages. The rest of us can save £265,000 and buy the regular V12 Vantage: this is car as possession, not as driving machine. But what a thing to collect.

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