Ever since the current Aston Martin Vantage debuted in late 2017 we've been waiting with bated breath for Aston to stuff a V12 in it. There's a lot of precedent for that, and it seemed inevitable. Turns out we were right, as Aston has now stuffed a V12 into the Vantage, but not exactly in the way we expected: Meet the V12 Speedster.
That name says it all, really. Aston took a Vantage coupe, sliced the roof and windshield off, and fitted it with a twin-turbo 5.2-liter V12 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 700 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque, more than the DB11 AMR's 630 hp and 516 lb-ft but less than the DBS Superleggera's 715 hp and 663 lb-ft. Aston says the Speedster will hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and top out at 186 mph.
Aston says the Speedster was first thought up by the Q by Aston Martin division just over a year ago, going from design sketch to fully formed production car within that time frame. The brand is aiming the Speedster at its "most demanding and enthusiastic customers," with Director of Design Miles Nurnberger saying it delivers "an incredibly visceral experience."
The Speedster's body is made from carbon fiber, taking inspiration from past Astons like the DBS 59 and the CC100 concept as well as fighter jets like the F/A-18 Hornet. The front and rear ends are pretty similar to the standard Vantage's, but the front grille and intakes are larger, the hood has more vents and there's a new rear diffuser with center-exit exhaust. One cool design feature is a spoiler at the rear created by carving out the space under the center section of the taillight where bodywork would be on the regular Vantage.
It's the side and top-down views that are the most striking. The cockpit has been bisected by a spine running between the seats, while each seat has a wonderful fairing behind it. Each fairing has a glass panel that exposes racing helmets that match the spec of the car and are housed in their own compartments. The Speedster also has 21-inch center-lock wheels, which aren't found on any other Aston, and the stainless-steel exhaust system is bespoke.
That fighter jet inspiration is even more apparent on the inside -- if you can call the cockpit the "inside," at least. There are leather straps and angular design elements everywhere, and pretty much everything is made from carbon fiber. The seats, door panels and other elements are finished in a wide mix of materials ranging from leather to fabric textiles and even 3D-printed rubber. The dashboard and center console are a lot simpler than the Vantage's, but there's still an infotainment screen hidden under the central bar. A removable leather bag takes the place of a glove box, and there's more storage behind the seats.
Taking the F/A-18 theme even further, this specific Speedster has a "conceptual specification" developed by the Q division in conjunction with Boeing. The car is painted in Skyfall Silver with lots of contrasting black elements, while the interior has contrasting red straps and door pulls and a number of F/A-18 silhouette decals. Despite the conceptual moniker, customers will be able to order their Speedsters to match.
Only 88 Speedsters will be built at a starting price of $950,000, with deliveries set to begin in the first quarter of 2021. Given the level of customization that Q by Aston Martin offers, we can't imagine any will actually be that cheap, though.