Aston Martin V12 Speedster Review 2023 | Top Gear
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Aston Martin V12 Speedster review

Published: 23 May 2021
Of course Aston’s £765,000 open-air chariot makes no sense. Didn’t stop us wanting a go…

Good stuff

Not exactly lacking sense of occasion. Bottomless torque. You’re kept surprisingly comfy (from the neck down)

Bad stuff

Ever-so-slightly impractical. Gearbox and steering lack bite. If you’re driving it, you can’t hear the engine


What is it?

Rather depends where you’re perched on the cynicism scale, really. If you’re Aston Martin, this is the most viscerally exciting, uncompromising, downright batsh*t car the company has ever produced – until the Valkyrie finally lands.

If you’re a serial hypercar collector, this is your next al fresco wealth-carriage, ready to fill that gap in your collection alongside your Ferrari Monza, McLaren Elva, Bentley Bacalar, and McLaren-Mercedes SLR Stirling Moss.

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And if you’re not either of those things, you’re scoffing hard at the preposterous idea of a 700 horsepower (okay, 691bhp) V12-powered two-seater with less weather protection than a Himalayan goat-herder. Tricky to make a rational case for this car, y’see.

The V12 Speedster has no roof, no option of a roof, and no mounting points for a roof. It has no windows. And instead of a windscreen, each of the twin cockpit segments are protected from the onrushing hurricane by nothing more than a glass aero ramp that looks like it was pinched from a First World War biplane.

Sensibly, Aston Martin has limited the car’s top speed…. to 186mph. On the way, it passes 62mph in 3.5 seconds. Which means it could be lunched at the lights by a BMW M3.

This is by no means the fastest car in the world, or even in Aston’s stable. It doesn’t need to be, because as you found out the first time you ever rode your bicycle down a really big hill, going 25-30 miles an hour without face protection is more than enough to dry your eyes into bloodshot ping-pong balls and shove a bluebottle up each nostril.

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Given you no longer get trifling luxuries like wipers, sun-visors, window motors or a rear-view mirror you’d expect Aston to have reflected these savings in the price. And they have. The V12 Speedster starts at £765,000, including tax. If you want it in this special Fifties DBR1 racer-homage livery – or the military aerospace F-18 paint job also on the menu – then you’re unlikely to be getting much change from eight hundred grand.

Indeed, the V12 Speedster is a conspicuous bargain. Despite costing around three times as much as an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante – which is actually more powerful – the V12 retails for half as much as the Ferrari Monza, McLaren Elva, or Bentley’s Bacalar. Welcome to the Reasonably Priced Speedster.

What’s more, the Aston is a rare machine: only 88 will be produced, versus 500 Monzas, 149 Elvas and many thousands of DBS or Vantage soft-tops. You’re almost certainly going to the be only person in your tax haven to get one. And as of spring 2021, they weren’t all sold…

So, if you’re twiddling your debit card between your fingers and wondering whether to click ‘Add To Basket’, allow us to talk you through exactly what to expect from Aston’s V12 hairdryer.

What's the verdict?

The most gentlemanly of the hyperspeedsters. Mad fast, but where has the V12 bellow gone?

Here’s an Aston Martin we’ll never, ever see James Bond anywhere near. You can’t look suave in a Speedster. Drive one through town and everyone will judge you as an enormous poser. Take to the open roads and no-one will know who you are. Because you’ll be hidden behind a visor. Hear that? It’s the sound of The Stig emptying his Peppa Piggy bank.

Aston Martin has carved itself a fine reputation in building improbable specials, from the hyper-tracky Vulcan and stunning One-77 to the crazy Cygnet V8. The Speedster sits in the mix as a bit of an oddball, all at once very focused and hardcore and also strangely gentle and easy-going to drive.

It’s a crying shame that you don’t get much of the engine noise on board, but frankly this thing’s enough of an assault on the senses you’ll probably have quite enough to think about as you howl along. Chocks away.

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