Here are the headlines: a 205mph top speed, and a 0-62mph time of just 3.9sec. These are only topped by the £1.2million Aston Martin One-77, which was only ever produced in a limited 77-model production run.
Like the V12 Vantage before it, the new S is the most raw and visceral model in the Aston Martin range, but with a boost in power and some serious updates it promises even more performance, and is even available in Roadster form as well.
Replacing the 510bhp 5.9-litre V12 engine from the DBS is the revised AM28-spec 5.9 V12 that makes a staggering 565bhp at 6750rpm. Torque is up 27lb ft at its peak to 457lb ft and the curve is fattened up, especially at the bottom, where 376lb ft is available from just 1000rpm.
While at idle, the V12 sounds authoritative and commands your attention because there is a disparity between what your eyes see, your ears hear, and what your bones feel. At first glance, you immediately think that a Vantage shouldn’t sound like it has six litres of engine displacement - but this one certainly does.
Outside the car, you feel the low frequency pulses that can only come from a large displacement V12. At full song, it fulfils our wishes for how an unrestrained Aston Martin engine should sound, embodying pure, unbridled aggression.
Whether we like it or not, the manual, six-speed gearbox has been replaced by a decidedly improved Sportshift III seven-speed automated manual. Given that fewer enthusiast cars are available with true manual boxes (including the Porsche 911 GT3), it’s no surprise Aston Martin took this direction.
The Sportshift III is the latest development of the company’s automated manual that we’ve seen on the likes of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S, for example. On the positive side, downshifts are impeccable and audibly rewarding, with the right kick of the throttle and perfect timing for clutch release.
After a downshift, the pops and burbles from the exhaust on overrun are simply delightful. In addition, you’ll never be able to make the expensive, potentially tearful, fifth-to-second downshift. Furthermore, this Graziano-sourced box saves 25 kilogrammes over the old manual transmission.
Compared to Porsche’s PDK and Audi’s S tronic twin-clutch auto gearboxes, the Vantage’s gearbox feels antiquated, but as long as you treat it for what it is – an automated manual – it can be especially rewarding. Upshifts are accomplished faster than a human-operated shift, just not as quick as its dual-clutch auto stablemates.