Aston Martin V12 VantageAston Martin's largest engine in its smallest car. Enough said.
When is an Aston Martin V8 Vantage not an Aston Martin V8 Vantage? When you rip out the V8 and ram in a 6-liter V12. I think this is gonna be a good one. I remember when the V8 Vantage was first conceptualized in 2003. It sat there on its Geneva Motor Show plinth bathing everyone in its glory and it was absolutely stunning to look at. It came with a 4.3-liter 390 brake horsepower V8. It was supposed to take on the 911 and win. It didn't though. You see the majority of the complaints well it wasn't exciting enough, it wasn't mad enough. So in 2008 Aston decided to put in a bigger 4.7-liter V and that one had 420 brake horsepower. We've driven it. We absolutely love it. It finally has a power plant to match the noise and the drama of the exterior. In 2009 though, I think someone in the Aston Martin development's office was on some kind of really potent drug because I imagine it as though where well a little voice popped up and went oh, lad, how about we put the DBS' V12 in a Vantage. I have one message for whoever that was. Keep taking your drug, son, because this thing is brilliant. While the V8 has 420 brake horsepower, enough for the saying, the V12 has 510. That's 510 brake horsepower in a car the size of an oven, a very pretty oven but still it will hit 62 miles an hour from rest in just 4.8 seconds and 190 miles an hour. It's the epitome of excess almost needless excess really. I mean who thinks the V8 will do the naught to 62 dash in 4.8 seconds, but that's just too much for me. I drive everywhere with a traction control off and my hair on fire. Okay. That may be taking it a little bit far, but you see what I mean and then you look at the price of the thing. The V12 Vantage before you put toys on it is 135,000 pounds and that's nearly 40 grand more than the V8. Well, if you've looked past the extra money, the fuel consumption, all of that stuff, and the fact it's not that much bigger than the V8 what you do is you sit in it and you turn it on and you listen. It's so loud even a tick over that it fired up and the winter bears would wake from their hibernation and come over for a look and a sniff and a paw. People give it second or third glances. I mean it's absolutely amazing and then well, when you get it on the country road, well yes. That. So it's got the noise, it's got the power, but what about looks? Well, I'm pretty sure you'll agree it is absolutely beautiful, but there are a few things to look out for to make sure you spotted a genuine V12. Now first and foremost you got these very, very distinctive carbon fiber bonnet grill. If you were cynic you may think that they were there just to differentiate it from the standard V8 Vantage, if you can ever call one of those standard, but if you ever sat behind the wheel of one of these things after a particularly vigorous run, yes, we'll put it like that, and seen the heat haze just pouring out of them, well you realize that if they weren't there you may just be sitting behind a 6-liter V12 fire. You've also got this rather lovely carbon fiber splitter, some very, very pretty wheels, giant carbon brakes borrowed from the DBS and on the back there's a little badge that says V12 Vantage. It's not hard when you know what you're looking for. The red leather in here is a bit lady whiplash but rather lovely. The sport seats are proper carbon fiber Kevlar buckets which fit you perfectly I approve. The V12 Vantage is a strange beast. I mean it's exactly as good as you'd expect a small V12 Aston Martin to be. It looks stunning. It sounds like Aslan's purrs on takeover and like you've elbow-dropped him at that speed. I mean it's mad. It's ridiculous. It's noisy. It's powerful. It's fast. And for some that might seem a little bit pointless, but to truly get this car you've got to lose all preconceptions of sensibility. You've got to realize that Aston Martin built it in a time where emissions and economy are king. Aston built it simply because it could. I mean the same world, this really, really wouldn't be here, but Aston made it. It's madder than a mad thing and that's why I love it.