Road Test: Aston Martin Vantage S 2dr Sportshift III Reviews 2021 | Top Gear
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First Drive

Road Test: Aston Martin Vantage S 2dr Sportshift III

£ 149,495 when new
810
Published: 01 Dec 2014
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • BHP

    565bhp

  • 0-62

    3.9s

  • C02

    343g/km

  • Max Speed

    205Mph

  • Insurance
    group

    N

It has become fashionable to kick Astons for being behind the times, for failing to keep up with the pace of change. But as they slip further away from the advancing tech of Porsche and Ferrari, so they seem to cleave themselves a clearer, more defined role as a gentleman's feelgood sports car.

Because if there's one thing this new V12 Vantage S Roadster does well, it's making its driver feel good. This is a lovely, lovely car in so many ways and an irritating one in just one. Let's deal with that first. The 7spd sequential manual 'box isn't good enough. It's too slow, too jarring and ruins the smoothness the rest of the car strives so hard to attain. It's better in manual mode, provided you lift the throttle while pulling one of the carbon-fibre paddles (an iniquitous £1,995 option), but you still find yourself driving round the issues.

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But when an engine develops 375lb ft of torque at just 1,000rpm, you don't need to change gear too often. This uprated 6.0-litre V12 is something of a masterpiece. It doesn't quite have the trumpety blare of a Ferrari V12, but it's richer-toned and delivers colossal performance in a very appealing, measured way.

It's honeyed and sultry at the low end, sweeping effortlessly through the mid-range to a majestic finale. Followed by a pause while it takes a gear-breath ready for the next onslaught. It's shockingly fast in that it never appears to have to work that hard to heap speed upon speed, the 565bhp/457lb ft outputs being an easy match for the 1,745kg kerbweight.

It's not as sharp as a Porsche or a Ferrari, but that's not the Vantage S's personality. As ever, the engine dictates the character, and this Aston likes a fast sweeper, allowing the surfeit of power to tax the capable chassis. It's fun to drive, with clear lines of communication and little complication. Yes, the frame does hum with the occasional vibration, the roof mechanism is very slow and the Roadster is not as handsome and well proportioned as the V12 Vantage S coupe launched last year, but I had one of my most pleasant drives of the year in this car, simply heading home from work, roof down, cabin remarkably turbulence-free and B&O stereo (a £5,495 option) pumping out the tunes. Simple car, simple pleasures.

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