Aston Martin will present the most potent production sportscar in its 95-year history at the Geneva motor show on 3 March. Based on the hugely successful V8 Vantage, the V12 Vantage will feature a 6.0 liter V12 producing 510hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, with a top speed of 190mph and 0-62mph in 4.2sec.Designed for the focused driver, every component of the V12 Vantage has been honed with pure driving enjoyment in mind. It benefits from race-developed materials and components such as lightweight carbon fiber.
Visually, the V12 Vantage expresses its performance through its purposeful stance created by enhanced aerodynamic and cooling aids. Equally inviting, the interior permits the driver to extract maximum performance from the car while also enjoying customary levels of Aston Martin comfort.
The V12 powerplant has been intelligently packaged into the Vantage's compact form, preserving its perfect proportions. While the external dimensions of the V8 Vantage remain unchanged, the front internal structure has been extensively revised forward of the suspension towers to house the larger engine, brake cooling system, and twin air-intake system.
The engine was designed at Aston Martin's headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, and is hand-built at the company's dedicated engine facility in Cologne, Germany. To achieve the power output, the engine features a number of enhancements over the standard 6.0 V12 found in the DB9. These include a `by-pass' engine air intake port that opens up at 5500rpm, a revised induction system and re-profiled air inlet ports that further improve airflow into the combustion chamber to improve performance.
Unique to the V12 Vantage is a `Sport' button which allows the driver to choose between two powertrain modes. The default `normal' provides a more progressive throttle response, suited to driving in urban areas, heavy traffic or in challenging weather conditions. Selecting `Sport' mode delivers a sharper throttle response together with a sportier exhaust note.
The V12 Vantage benefits from Aston Martin's class leading all-alloy VH (Vertical Horizontal) architecture: a lightweight bonded platform that provides outstanding strength, rigidity and weight benefits.
Although the V12 engine weighs 100kg more than the standard car's V8 engine, use of lightweight materials and components including carbon/ceramic brakes, lighter forged aluminum wheels, lightweight inner rear quarter panels and optional lightweight seats have resulted in the overall curb weight being only 50kg heavier than its V8 sibling. The ensuing weight distribution provides for near perfect balance (51:49).
Exclusively available with a six-speed manual transmission, the gearbox uses a transaxle configuration to aid weight distribution. The V12 Vantage's final drive ratio has also been modified from 3.909:1 to 3.71:1. This allows the Vantage to exploit the torque delivered by the engine to provide flexibility at lower engine speeds as well as a top speed of 190mph.
Aston Martin is the only sports car manufacturer to offer a racecar for every GT category. The DBR9 has enjoyed year-on-year success all over the world in the GT1 category including class wins at Le Mans two consecutive years running. Customer teams are consistently achieving podium finishes with the DBRS9 in GT3 while 2008 was a test and development year for the new Vantage GT2. The Vantage N24 achieved GT4 class wins all over Europe since its launch in 2006. Common to both road and race cars is the VH platform upon which the V12 Vantage is based. Consisting of extruded, pressed and cast aluminum alloy, bonded with aerospace-grade adhesive, the backbone of the car works with the powertrain and suspension to create an exceptionally responsive driving experience.
Superb handling characteristics are at the heart of the V12 Vantage; the rear suspension has been modified, with a more compact dual-rate spring, in order to accommodate a wider wheel and tire combination, improving grip and traction. The ride height of the V12 Vantage has also been lowered by 15mm, while the spring rates have been stiffened by 45% and the anti-roll bars are 15% (front) and 75% (rear) stiffer than the V8 car.
V12 Vantage's diamond-turned 19" alloy wheels are manufactured using a forging process, saving a total of 5kg.The new ten-spoke wheels are clad with wider Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres which have been specifically designed for the V12 Vantage, enabling it to generate the highest cornering forces of any Aston Martin; up to a peak of 1.3g is possible.
The V12 Vantage comes as standard with Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes, providing immense stopping power.Air ducts positioned within the lower front grille feed air directly onto the discs to aid cooling and optimize braking performance.
The V12 Vantage's CCM discs are 398mm in diameter at the front and 360mm at the rear, while the calipers feature six pistons at the front, four at the rear and have a larger pad area compared to the V8 Vantage. The CCM brakes are 12.5kg lighter than conventional brakes, reducing not only the overall weight of the car but also the unsprung mass specifically.
In line with the character of the V12 Vantage, a revised Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system permits the driver, through three modes of operation, to manage how the system intervenes during more challenging driving situations.Avoiding purely cosmetic changes, each modified panel on the V12 Vantage has been altered to enhance the vehicle's dynamics. Knowledge gained from the N24 racecar programme has led to body revisions designed to improve downforce while not increasing the drag coefficient of the car.
A revised front splitter channels cooling air to the brakes and the radiator, while also producing increased downforce. Bonnet louvers remove heat from the engine bay and increase front-end downforce by limiting the air pressure under the hood. New side sills derived from the N24 racecar channel air towards the rear of the car, reducing rear-end lift. A more pronounced trunk `flip' and the new rear carbon fiber diffuser work in harmony with a redesigned rear underfloor to channel air through the new high-capacity oil cooler and maintain an area of low pressure under the rear of the car, producing increased downforce and aiding grip.
Complementing the taut exterior, the V12 Vantage's interior hints at the car's dynamic capabilities. The optional carbon/Kevlar composite seats cosset the driver, providing support during spirited driving while remaining comfortable on long journeys. Saving 17kg per car, the seats are hand-trimmed by craftsmen at Aston Martin's Gaydon production facility.
The instrument cluster has been revised with clearer dials to allow the driver to focus on the information being relayed. The door pulls are made from carbon fiber, where the weave has been meticulously aligned. Additional lightweight materials such as Alcantara are used to save valuable weight throughout the cabin. The unique ambience of the V12 Vantage interior beautifully marries the functional requirements of a driver-focused sportscar with the comfort of a practical daily car.