The changes to the GT12 run pretty deep to justify that cost, though, and they’re inspired by Aston’s own GT3 race cars. Hence the wings, the splitters and the (optional) paint finish. This is the lowest, widest Vantage ever, then, some 50mm wider than standard and fitted with lightweight carbonfibre bumpers, front wings, bonnet and, optionally, roof. Get really serious about saving weight and you can specify plastic rear and rear quarter windows, too.
Do so and you’re looking at a car that is an impressive 100kg lighter than standard, at 1565kg at the kerb. The body alone is 20kg lighter, which isn’t bad going given that it now includes a wing the size of a picnic table on the bootlid.
It, along with a new splitter and rear diffuser, makes sufficient downforce that the top speed drops from the 205mph of the V12 Vantage S to 185mph. No complaints from us; there’s barely a circuit in the world where you’d hit more than that in a road car anyway.
Inside, the weight saving is, typically, even easier to find than it is on the outside. Substitute leather and foam, and whatever they cover, with a single layer of carbonfibre and you have the makings of a cabin that feels the part – especially when it’s finished this impeccably.
What isn’t carbonfibre is Alcantara, and even though it might seem a bit incongruous to retain the stereo and satellite navigation, we must remember that this is a track car, not a racing car.
To go with the weight decrease comes a significant power increase. The standard V12 Vantage S makes 565bhp, which is plenty for its chassis. The GT12’s 5.9-litre V12 receives magnesium inlet manifolds with revised geometry and a titanium exhaust system (saving 19kg alone) and it now produces a walloping 592bhp.
The 0-60mph time falls by 0.2sec to 3.5sec, which may not sound like a great deal, but remember this is a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive car and traction, whether you have 550bhp or 600bhp, is the limiting factor.
So too, likely as not, is the single-clutch, seven-speed robotised manual gearbox, which, although having a new torque tube and being recalibrated for faster shifts, could prove to be less sophisticated than the best dual-clutch automatics.
There’s certainly a lot of old-school charm about the way the GT12 fires up. It’s the sort of car best started away from neighbouring bedrooms very early in the morning; the noise, unadulterated by turbochargers, is pure and aggressive.
But overall the GT12 is only similarly aggressive should you want it to be. There are three-stage adjustable dampers, which go from Normal, through Sport and to Track. Separately, there’s a Sport mode for the powertrain that sharpens the throttle and gearshifts and makes more noise, more often.
Leave both settings in their easy modes and the GT12 retains much of the charm that makes the V12 S so special. By no means is it a cosseting GT car like a DB9 – there’s too much road noise for that – but the underlying firmness never degrades into discomfort, while the steering is smooth, positive and, for the most part, uncorrupted by cambers or surface imperfections. Like a Porsche 911 GT3 or a McLaren 675LT, the GT12 would be agreeable company between a UK home and Spa Francorchamps.
What it’s like when it gets to a blistering race track is a verdict you will have to find out, but on good UK roads – by which I mean, generally, quite bad roads – it’s an extremely well-sorted car.