The Vantage’s V8 is a legacy of Aston Martin's ownership by Ford’s Premier Automotive Group - because it’s loosely based on the Jaguar unit first seen in the mid-1990s and used in the S-Type, XJ and XK.
However, Aston gave the unit a radical overhaul and has tweaked it further since, taking its capacity from the original spec, 4.3 litres, up to the 4.7 litres that features in models today. It features dry sump lubrication to better withstand cornering forces and allow it to be fitted lower in the chassis.
There’s variable timing on the inlet camshaft, and a resonance induction system, and the spent gases are expelled through a 4-2-1 manifold on each bank of cylinders and out of an exhaust system that features a bypass valve to boost the sound above 4500rpm.
The results look compelling on paper: 430bhp at 7300rpm and 361lb ft at 5000rpm, with a fair chunk of that available from as little as 1500rpm. Slowing this British bruiser down are 355mm brake discs at the front and 330mm on the rear axle. The V12 S punches out 565bhp at 6750rpm and 457lb ft of peak twist at 5750rpm.
Aston claims a 4.3sec sprint to 60mph for the six-speed manual model, and this can be matched by the Sportshift III automatic – in reality a clutchless manual transmission that’s operated by steering wheel paddles or via an auto mode. While the V12 S is only available with the automated manual 'box and its able to blast to 60mph in 3.7sec.
Regardless of edition, though, the bottom line is this: the Vantage requires extending through its rev range if it’s to feel top-drawer quick, and the throttle response and pick-up low down aren't as crisp and urgent as they are in a Porsche 911, acentuated further when you consider the added flexibility that turbocharging has brought the latest generation 911s.