Aston Martin used to have a strategic need for the Aston Martin V12 Vantage sports car. Funnily enough, though, that need can no longer figure quite so keenly as it once did; and that may at least partly explain why the company’s management has just called time on the car’s extra-special bloodline.
The first-generation V8 Vantage was sensational-looking, enticingly sweet-handling and alluringly attainable back in 2005. Even after its V8 engine had grown from 4.3 to 4.7 litres, though, it was never that fast. It was the all-important ‘baby Aston’: a feeder-series sports car always eager to please, with a chassis of powers so far in advance of those of its engine that it simply demanded more grunt.
And so, when the first V12 Vantage production car was unveiled in 2009, justice was done to the car in a way. It made a peak 510bhp. But these days, thanks to the turbocharged engines of Mercedes-AMG, you can get a V8 Vantage with more power. This new V12 Vantage, the last there will ever be, comes with much more potency than any of its predecessors, adopting the twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 from the DBS Superleggera; and yet it’ll do 0-62mph in 3.5sec, and a V8-powered Aston Martin V8 Vantage F1 Edition will do it in 3.6sec.
Aston got a kind of buy-one-get-one-free deal on the powertrain development work for this car, most of which was done for last year’s ultra-low-volume V12 Speedster; and so the V12 Vantage’s 690bhp engine and eight-speed transaxle gearbox were almost oven-ready for it. But the car’s price evidences no such saving in the project development budget, nor any sentimentality from Aston Martin’s side. The final V12 Vantage costs a cool £265,000 – £115,000 more than the priciest V8 Vantage currently on the books. And yet, with production capped at 333 units for the global market, all examples were sold to quick-fire deposit-lobbers before the order books even opened.