One more delightful bit of high-performance hardware meant to help celebrate the automaker's 100th anniversary, the new 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is an even more intense replacement for the existing Vantage V12 model. Designed to push the limits on every level, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ulrich Bez characterizes his firm's latest offering by noting, "the V12 Vantage S is extreme in its nature yet truly timeless in its design language." When it goes on sale here early next year as a 2015 model, the newest member of the family also will be the fastest road-going Aston Martin ever built, save for the firm's ultra-exotic One-77 hypercar that ended its very limited production run last year.
Visually, the 2015 V12 Vantage S adds new edge to the classic Vantage exterior design. Up front, a carbon fiber grille inspired by the one found on the stunning CC100 Spyder Concept replaces the traditional bright horizontal bars with a dark or titanium silver mesh insert. Other distinctive touches include larger carbon fiber side strakes, new 10-spoke forged 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, a redesigned rear bumper and an available graphics package highlighted by a black painted roof and partial blacked-out decklid.
Power for the new V12 Vantage S is supplied by a variation of the V12 found in Aston's mighty Vanquish model. Dubbed AM28, this 5.9-liter naturally aspirated monster makes 565 horses and 457 lb-ft of torque compared to the 510/420 stats of the AM11 engine in the current Vantage V12, exhaling through a custom exhaust system derived from the One-77 that sheds scale and mass while adding a more intense tone. A new Bosch Management system also helps punch up the engine's low- and mid-range responsiveness, making the V12 Vantage S even more engaging when being driven around town.
The 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S also drops the existing 6-speed manual gearbox in favor of the new 7-speed Sportshift III AMT (automated manual transmission), a derivative of the unit used in the current Vantage V8 model. Smaller and 55 pounds lighter than the manual, it also delivers even quicker gear changes thanks to steering wheel-mounted shifter paddles. The net result of this motivational makeover is a car that will streak from 0-62 mph in less than 4.0 seconds on its way to a terminal velocity of 205 mph, according to the automaker.
To put that power to best use, the 2015 V12 Vantage S also boasts a major chassis remake. While retaining Aston Martin's aluminum-intensive "VH" platform structure, this latest "S" type becomes the first Vantage model to feature an Adaptive Damping System that includes Normal/Sport/Track modes. It also gets a new quicker-ratio ZF Servotronic power steering unit with two levels of assist that's interfaced with the chassis damping package as well as a bespoke and fully switchable Dynamic Stability Control system. Rounding out the mix is an additional "Sport" mode engaged by a button on the center console that further intensifies throttle response, quickens shift speed/timing and tweaks the exhaust note, while Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes ensure plenty of fade-free stopping power.
Although the cabin of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S maintains a familiar look, new sport seats and two grades of custom leather or Alcantara trims add a more performance-focused character. Buyers can also opt for a descriptively named Carbon Fiber Interior Pack as well as black pedals. Pricing for the 2014 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S won't be released until closer to its arrival date, but the car is expected to start around $200,000 in U.S. spec.
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