Two key Aston Martin stories will have graced Autocar.co.uk within the next few weeks.
The first, a drive of the Aston Martin DB11, has already gone live, and the other, a track-based feature and video-fest, including an Aston Martin V12 Vantage S manual, is due online soon. So that’s Aston’s future, then, and past, all in the space of a few weeks.
It’s the past that’s adding buoyancy to my particular ship today, because the combination of the V12 Vantage S manual and a dry Blyton Park, where the Aston was attempting to keep up with a 2017 Nissan GT-R, has reminded me how magnificent the Vantage S’s chassis is. And how magnificent its 563bhp 5.9-litre V12 engine is. And how brilliantly it steers. And how average the manual gearshift is if you try to trouble it, and that the interior is past its best these days.
But let’s not worry about those last bits, because what I want to do today, dear reader, is pay homage to the V12 Vantage S. Next year the current Vantage model, and any interest surrounding it, will be overwhelmed by the arrival of an all-new Vantage, powered by a Mercedes-AMG V8 at first, which will be better, no doubt, than the current car in all major respects.
But the current Vantage in general, and this V12 Vantage S manual in particular, will forever nestle in the softest of places in my heart, filed in a place called ‘things I like but rarely sample’, right between the best of Del Amitri and a three-piece KFC meal (with extra piece). Because the Vantage has what I think is as close as you can get to the perfect brawny car chassis on a circuit. The big engine in the nose wants looking after as you turn in, so you have to judge your entry speed well, but from that point onwards, every corner is a blank page. The car’s attitude is utterly flexible and the angle of attack is all down to you.