Performance Cars

The Aston Martin V12 Vantage V600 is the last of a dying breed

With hydraulic steering, a naturally aspirated V12 and a manual transmission, there aren't many cars left like the Aston Martin V12 Vantage V600.

CNET/Carfection

The era of the truly analog driver's car is in the autumn of its life. Be it due to stricter safety regulations, a relentless pursuit of ever-growing levels of performance or simply consumers' demands for driving to be easier, cars are putting more and more computers between your body and the road. 

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This isn't all bad, of course. Few of us could handle a 500-plus-horsepower supercar without a large degree of nannying. I'm sure the life expectancy of millionaires with a penchant for fast cars has gone up considerably now that traction control is obligatory.

However, there are still a few cars that hold on to the last few trademarks of analog driver enjoyment. Features like hydraulic steering, a large, naturally aspirated engine and a proper manual gearbox are each individually clues that a car is trying to retain real driving character. Each of those individually is becoming more and more rare, so to have all three in the same car is almost unheard of in 2018.

The Aston Martin V12 Vantage V600 however, is just such a car.  

Based on the track-focussed Vantage GT12, the V600 strips away some of its gaudy bodywork in favor of something truly elegant while retaining the lion's share of the performance. It throws down 592 horsepower from a naturally aspirated, 5.9-liter V12, all of which is routed through a seven-speed "dog leg" manual transmission.

The V600 was originally built as a one-off custom project for a customer, but the end result was so compelling Aston Martin decided to put 14 into production: seven coupes and seven roadsters.

As a last hurrah for the previous-generation Vantage, the V600 feels like a greatest hits of the various versions' attributes over the years. The Carfection team managed to borrow one for a day to experience it for themselves, and as you can see in the video, it made an impression.