Make way for the fastest production Aston yet: the Vantage V12. It’s due for launch at Geneva in March and can be parked in your garage – in exchange for around £140,000 – by early summer.

Last year the Gaydon company gave notice of its intention to produce a top-level performance car that combined the 6.0-litre V12 from the DB9 and DBS with the 250kg lighter structure of its smaller Vantage V8, in a concept dubbed Vantage RS.

More to the point, it allowed Autocar an exclusive drive of this 600bhp beast at Silverstone, one that thoroughly proved its 200mph potential, along with acceleration times of 4.0sec (0-62mph) and 8.5sec (0-100mph).

Our test also made it clear that Aston has produced a stable, agile car whose initial understeer can be smartly balanced by power oversteer, especially since the prototype had no traction or stability controls and on Silverstone’s tighter corners its rear tyres were no wider than they needed to be.

The production car, officially called V12 Vantage, will be a little less powerful (510bhp) and a little better equipped than the prototype (air conditioning, for instance), but the company’s clear intention is to maintain the baby V12’s slightly scary performance profile, and keep it right at the top of Aston’s performance pinnacle.