V12 Vantage RS concept gets 600bhp race engine, could make production
12 December 2007

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is about to get a performance makeover serious enough to worry Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini. At the opening of Aston’s new design studio at Gaydon, Warwickshire, the firm announced the V12 Vantage RS concept, a lightweight coupe with 375bhp-per-tonne, a twelve-cylinder racing engine, and a real production future. These are the first official pictures of it.The V12 Vantage RS is based closely on the V8 Vantage coupe. If reaction to it at the upcoming Detroit and Geneva motor shows is positive enough, it could go into limited-run production late next year. If it does, the V12 Vantage RS will be faster, more powerful and probably more expensive than the firm’s new flagship, the DBS. However, with 600bhp on tap it would also be the fastest Aston Martin road car in the history of the company. Would that be worth paying more than £160,000 for? Aston Martin is about to find out.

Race engine, carbon bonnet, carbon brakes

The V12 Vantage RS is powered by a lightly overhauled version of the Aston DBRS9’s 6.0-litre V12 racing engine. Producing 600bhp at 6250rpm and 509lb ft at 5000rpm, it’s been squeezed under the bonnet of the V8 Vantage, says Aston, “thanks to the design flexibility of the VH platform,” and features dry sump lubrication, revised camshafts and modified cylinder heads.In attempt to pare down the weight added to the Vantage coupe, Gaydon has fitted a moulded carbonfibre bonnet and bootlid and carbon ceramic brakes to the car. The V12 Vantage RS therefore weighs less than 1600kg, says Aston – only 30kg more than V8 we weighed back in 2005 – and has a power-to-weight ratio of 375bhp-per-tonne. That's better than a Porsche 911 GT2 and Ferrari 430 Scuderia, and only marginally worse than a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera.The visual changes to the exterior of the car are all functional, Aston insists. Those dramatic bonnet louvres extract air from the radiators, while the bootlid features a deployable spoiler that rises automatically at high speeds to increase rear downforce. Meanwhile the front bumper features cooling ducts for the carbon ceramic brakes, as well as a carbonfibre splitter to balance downforce at the front.

Bez: “this isn’t pie in the sky”

In a speech at the launch of the V12 Vantage RS last night, CEO of Aston Martin Ulrich Bez said: “Over the last five years we have established a reputation for presenting fully functional, feasible concept cars, and the V12 Vantage RS is no exception.” “We will listen with interest to feedback on this concept and, as ever, if there is sufficient demand then we will seriously consider a low volume production run in the near future with a price that will reflect the exclusivity of the car.”“With our dedicated production facilities, our own engine plant, our own unique vehicle architecture and now a dedicated design studio, we have the ideal framework to bring new models such as this to market and to further establish Aston Martin as the ultimate independent luxury sports car company.”

Our Verdict

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

The Aston Martin Vantage has an abundance of soul, and decent ability with it

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Comments
6

12 December 2007

Specific output of 100 bhp/litre at only 6250 rpm for a NA engine?

Who's bin smokin something?!

12 December 2007

That looks amazing! Even with the same paint and wheels (basically) as the XK concept, this looks like a fantastically advanced car. It wasn't that long ago that the N400 version of the Vantage was announced, and now another variant that is "production feasible". I can imagine this making a very limited production run, but big numbers would seriously harm DB9 sales (the reason the V8 was slightly detuned). I am really excited about what Aston has in the pipeline for when I'm old and rich enough to become a customer!

14 December 2007

Does anyone else worry slightly about the Alcantara fest inside? It's nice stuff, but on every surface? Reminds me of a Lancia Thema circa 1989

15 December 2007

[quote Straight six]Does anyone else worry slightly about the Alcantara fest inside? It's nice stuff, but on every surface? Reminds me of a Lancia Thema circa 1989[/quote]

I have to agree with that. This car is a huge step forward with goodies like its incredible engine and carbon ceramic brakes.

However, Aston HAS to realise that many of their potential buyers are not racing drivers. I do want a 600hp engine in a Vantage body, but I want comfortable leather seats like the original, an aluminium or wooden dash. I don't want a front lip-spoiler that will hit every single speed bump I go over, I don't want racer-style bonnet louvres, I don't want hard seats and 4-point harnesses, I don't want laminated carbon fibre everywhere, and I want smooth leather instead of alcantara.

I know the weight will go up, but by what? 25kg? Thats fine with me. I realise some people will want all that weight gone, so option packs would be an ideal way to go.

16 December 2007

The Vantage quite made it against its rivals such as the Gallardo, F430 and more importantly the 911. Other rivals have since appeared in the form of the Audi R8 and Nissan GTR and for whatever reason the Vantage has fallen into the background. What Aston needs is a reposte to the more powerful versions of rivals such as the 911 Turbo, Gallardo, F430, GTR and forthcoming V10 R8. A 500Bhp Vantage 'S' would be perfect to bring the Aston back into the limelight. And reaching the magic 400 Bhp wouldn't do the regular model any harm too.

29 December 2007

I'm with you, more-or-less, on the general looks. What's most amusing, however, is the extra-ordinary likeness to the still-born F-type.

As for the colour, though, check the website, mate. Maybe the designers prefer the grey paint for checking curves and so forth.

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