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Aston Martin V8 Vantage N420 & V12 Vantage - Seat Time

Two New Ways To Vanquish Your Foes

Karl Funke
Dec 17, 2010

Another Indication That We Remain In A Golden Age Of Internal Combustion, In Spite Of A Two-Year Recession And Rising Ocean Waters, We Have Now Sampled The Two Newest Flavors Of Aston Martin's Vantage Platform.

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The N420 is a motorsport-inspired derivation of the standard V8, emulating the N24 racecars that competed in the Nurburgring 24-hours. Power comes from the 420-hp 4.7-liter V8 from the standard car, but the N420 is 60 pounds lighter overall. It also gets a taut sport suspension and a sport exhaust system in case you thought maybe the standard V8 engine note errs on the side of tame. The N420 is delivered in either Coupe or Roadster form, and the V8 may be hooked to either the standard six-speed manual transmission or six-speed Sportshift automated manual. The N420 also gets body styling cues like wider sills and a matching carbon splitter in front and diffuser in back, as well as unique wheels. And there's the special "Iridium" interior package with graphite instruments, lightweight carbon seats, and special stitching. If you'd like your V8 with a little harder, sharper edge, the N420 is your huckleberry.

Now, forget the DBS. According to Aston Martin, the V12 Vantage has supplanted it as Aston's most exhilarating (their word) sports car in the lineup. Take the product line's most powerful engine (One-77 notwithstanding) and drop it into the smaller car, and you've basically got the crux of the situation. The end result is simply awesome. Or terrifying. No-it's both.

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Its power unit is the 510-hp 6.0-liter V12 from the DBS, and the car is only available as a coupe and only with a stick shift. The V12 weighs some 220 pounds more than the V8, but as with the V8, the engine is crammed as far back in the chassis as possible thanks to extensive modification to the front of the vehicle, so the V12 Vantage still exhibits near-perfect weight distribution (51/49 front to rear). Curb weight has been kept down through the use of lightweight body components and carbon fiber, and unsprung weight is reduced with composite brake rotors and unique aluminum wheels, enhancing the V12's precision and overall incisiveness.

You could expect the V12 Vantage to be a nose-heavy oversteer monster, but in fact its poise and neutrality seem nothing less than supernatural. It can feel light in the rear at times-likely due to all that power going to the rear of an abbreviated wheelbase-but never nervous or out of control, even at racetrack speeds.

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Now we can't decide if Aston CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez is a mad scientist, or a true evil genius. He might be both. Only 1,000 examples of the V12 Vantage will be built, so if you can afford your own little piece of cultured insanity, the time to bite is now (you lucky so and so).

-Karl Funke

Aston Martin V12 Vantage

Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive

6.0-liter V12, dohc, 48-valve

Six-speed manual

MSRP: $179,995

Peak Power: 510 hp @ 6500 rpm
Peak Torque: 420 lb-ft @ 5750 rpm
0-62 mph: 4.1 sec.
Top Speed: 190 mph
Economy: 12/24 city/hwy

Aston Martin V8 Vantage N420

Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive

4.7-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve

Six-speed manual

MSRP: $132,000

Peak Power: 420 hp @ 7000 rpm
Peak Torque: 346 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
0-62 mph: 4.6 sec.
Top Speed: 180 mph
Economy: 14/27 city/hwyv

By Karl Funke
177 Articles



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