2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S
By Laura Burstein
On Sale: Early 2014
Expected Pricing: Starting at $184,995
Aston Martin's fastest Vantage was unveiled in Monterey, California, during the week of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
The 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is outfitted with a revised 6.0-liter AM28 V12 engine that makes 565 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque (versus 515 hp and 438 lb.-ft. on the previous model). Aside from the British marque's limited-production One-77 supercar, the V12 Vantage S is the fastest Aston Martin to date, with the company claiming a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds.
From the outside, changes to the new V12 Vantage are subtle. The body is slightly refreshed, most notably around the front fascia. A black, honeycomb-shaped mesh grille insert replaces the chrome horizontal bars found on the outgoing model, swapping elegance for a racier look. Aston reps say the new design was inspired by the CC100 Speedster concept car that debuted at this year's 24 Hours of Nurburgring endurance race. New graphics and wheels also appear on the new V12 Vantage S.
The 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is fitted with a new gearbox, a 7-speed automated manual that replaces the old 6-speed transmission and weighs 55 pounds less. It's the same one used in the V8 Vantage S, and a close variant of those used on Aston Martin's FIA GT racecars. Gears can be shifted via steering wheel-mounted paddles that are wrapped in leather or carbon fiber. A limited-slip differential is standard.
A new suspension features adaptive damping. The front suspension gets coil springs, antiroll bar and monotube dampers, while the rear uses dual-rate coil springs.
For the first time, the V12 Vantage will offer a choice of three driving modes: Normal, Sport and Track. The settings change the firmness of the suspension and adjust the new ZF-Servtronic power-assisted steering system. Of note, Aston Martin still uses hydraulic steering, unlike many manufacturers that have switched to electric. Many drivers prefer the feel of traditional power-assisted hydraulic steering over the new electric steering systems.
The chassis of the V12 Vantage S is lighter than its predecessor, and aerodynamics and airflow have been tweaked to improve cooling and engine performance, aided in part by redesigned air ducts and a new carbon fiber front grill.
Aston Martin claims a 30 percent reduction in noise, vibration and harshness due to new insulation material that's made from 80 percent recycled materials.
Brakes come with huge, cross-drilled carbon ceramic rotors. Forged alloy wheels come fitted with standard Pirelli P Zero Corsa all-season tires; Pirelli P Zero summer times can be ordered instead for the same price.
Pricing for the 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S will start at $184,995. Cars are expected to arrive in dealerships in early 2014.