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£140,495 when new
What is it? The Aston Martin Vantage V12 S, the most aggressive version yet of the junior range. With plenty of other, more softly tuned versions in the line up, AM has gone to town on the V12 S to make it the most rip-snorting, thuggish car they could build. And they haven’t done too bad a job. Compared with the regular V12 Vantage, power is up 11 per cent to 565bhp, torque progresses nine per cent to 620Nm, leading directly to a lower 0-60mph time of 3.7seconds (4.2secs for the standard V12) and pushing the top speed to 205mph from 190mph. This is now the fastest Aston Martin you can buy. The V12 S is around 20kg lighter than the Vantage coupe it replaces, almost all of which is thanks to the new, lighter Sportshift III gearbox. This seven-speed automated manual is the only gearbox available on the Coupe, the manual only sitting behind the engine in the V12 Roadster. Sportshift III boasts gear-swapping times of less than 70 milliseconds via the steering column-mounted paddles. Three levels of adaptive damping are selectable by the driver: Normal, Sport, and Track. The biggest difference is between Normal and Sport, with Track just marginally stiffer. And the dynamic stability control has been recalibrated to make the most of this better chassis control - and the greater output of the drivetrain.