Gaydon plays to it wealthiest traditionalists with a throwback, front-engined-V12-manual bruiser collector's special

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This point, I feel, needs making from the outset. There is only one car in the history of the, er, car to mate a turbo V12 engine to a manual gearbox. And you’re looking at it. Or one of them, for there will be just 110, making the Aston Martin Valour so rare that you’re more likely to see a rocking horse manuring an adjacent field than chance across one on the road.

So don’t spend too long looking at that seven-figure price and wondering how on earth that can be justified when even the most recent DBS was faster and more powerful. It’s not the unique carbonfibre body or anything contained therein for which you’re really paying all that additional moolah, but the right to possess the one thing really rich people crave above all others: stuff other rich people don’t have.



aston martin valour review 2024 02 front tracking

It has been said many times before that the Valour has been designed as a homage to The Muncher, an Aston that started life as a DBS V8 in 1970 and developed into a racer that took part at Le Mans in 1977 (finished 17th) and 1979 (didn’t finish), its name coming from its appetite for consumables such as tyres, brakes and, I believe, gearboxes.

Structurally, the car is essentially a Vantage from the A-pillar rearward, but with the six-speed manual gearbox from the original V12 Vantage between its rear wheels and a manually locking differential in place of the e-diff. At the other end is the engine from the DBS 770, but detuned to 705bhp and 555lb ft of torque because the transmission can’t cope with any more. Chief engineer Simon Newton told me it could have been beefed up, but only at the expense of shift quality. And after the wretched gearchange of Aston’s last manual car, the seven-speed Vantage V12 S, I understand why he was keen to avoid repeating the same mistake.

The wheels look like those developed for the Valkyrie but the sharp-eyed will note that they fix to a conventional five-stud hub, rather than centre-lock like its hypercar sibling.


aston martin valour review 2024 19 interior

Ergonomically, the interior is pure old-school Aston and all the worse for it, with its Mercedes switchgear and screen.

The near-limitless range of tailoring choices mean it can at least look fabulous though, as the test car certainly did with its blend of state-of-the-art facings and tweed upholstery.


aston martin valour review 2024 30 v12 engine

The engine starts with a familiar V12 whumpf, but it’s not as loud as I’d like. This is a big occasion and the car should sound as well as look the part. What noise it does make, however, is gorgeous. Part of me expected the clutch to require a hefty shove but, slightly to my masochistic disappointment, it’s quite light, and perfectly weight-matched to the brake, throttle and steering.

The car has been defiantly set up for the road (if you want to duff up your mates at track days, you’ll have to hope you get offered one of its 38-off Valiant circuit-tuned siblings), and the Valour delivers a compliant ride and a smooth shift. Indeed, the chassis has been brilliantly judged: the ride is superb with the dampers set to soft, but the moment you feel a touch too much vertical movement, switch them to Sport and the body settles at once.

You can feel the mass in the nose and, with that tight diff out the back, you fear it might just want to understeer. Not so: the steering is so accurate you can always place the car where you want, and then rely on uncommon traction for a front-engined, rear-driven car to spear you out of the corner. Thank the transaxle, diff and soft springs for all that.

Better still, the gearbox is superb. The shift is silky, with just enough mechanical feel, and beautifully precise, save for when you’re hurrying across the gate from second to third. In most respects, it is precisely what I’d hoped for from this car, and when you combine its slick action with the gentle howls of the V12 on a road good enough to do justice to the chassis, then one form of automotive nirvana awaits.


aston martin valour review 2024 38 front static

This is a fabulous and rare kind of modern front-engined supercar; but it is my job to be picky, and were I on its engineering team, I’d have been arguing for the Aston Martin Valour to go further still.

I’d leave the big, expensive stuff like the power of the engine and set up of the chassis alone; but I’d reduce assistance to the steering and brakes, and tune the throttle and clutch to have equally meaty responses. I’d shorten the final drive – right now the car will do 110mph with half its gears still in the pavilion – and I’d rewrite the powertrain maps to produce a bigger change in response between Normal, Sport and Track modes.

I’d make it louder too. I want this car straight between the eyes. Philistine that I am, I’d also incorporate a rev-matching programme, because the response of the turbo V12 is harder to guess than a naturally aspirated engine, so you can sound a bit of a twit when heel-and-toe downshifts go wrong.

But that’s about it. I love that this is one Aston ‘special’ that’s more concerned with driving pleasure than going fast. And a pleasure it truly is.

I hope they do more like it, at more accessible price points. And with three pedals, please.